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7 Key Differences Between Charter & Public Schools

July 29, 2020

differences between charter and public schoolWhen it comes to your child’s education, it can be difficult to know what route to take. These days, there is a variety of choices, from traditional to online schools. Some, like private schools, are expensive and selective. Because they are both free for students to attend, charter schools and traditional public schools are popular choices, but many parents do not understand the difference between the two.

When it comes to the two types of schools, they can vary greatly depending on the location. However, there are some basic differences. Understanding how the schools differ is important so parents can choose what is best for their child’s needs.


The funding for public schools comes from the state, and funds are distributed to the schools based on the number of students enrolled. Sometimes this funding is supplemented by local or county districts. Charter schools are funded by the state, but usually not local districts. Many charter schools rely on grants, awards, and fundraising to meet expenses.


One of the benefits of charter schools is they allow for more independence. The curriculum at traditional public schools typically has a one-size-fits-all style. Charter schools are often started by parents or groups looking for a different method or want to focus on a particular area, such as math or science.

Although charter schools are public and, therefore, must follow the same laws and regulations as public schools, there is more flexibility and freedom to choose the curriculum. This independence allows the schools to focus more on academic excellence than rule-following.

Community Feel 

Traditional schools accept children from all over the district. Parents often send their kids to charter schools because they believe in the specific approach the schools were started for in the first place. Charter schools are also usually smaller than public schools. Some charters require parental involvement, and many strongly encourage it. All these factors result in a strong sense of community.


With traditional public schools, students do not need to apply unless they want to attend a school in a different district. In contrast, students do need to apply to attend charter schools. Many schools do not have the space for the demand, so many conduct a lottery to determine which students are accepted.

Education Requirements of Teachers

Most traditional schools require their teachers to hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and state certification. The teachers at charter schools often have more flexible certification requirements. However, if a charter school is successful, it may be able to hire more qualified teachers.

Class Size

In general, traditional public schools have larger class sizes than charter schools, but this varies greatly based on the city and state. Because charters are usually smaller schools, class sizes are smaller as well.

Academic Standards

Both public and charter schools have academic standards that must be met. Students of both must participate in the standardized testing required by the state or district. There tends to be more of a focus on achieving academic excellence in charter schools because if certain standards are not met, a charter can be shut down. Charters are also accountable to the families and communities, as parents may choose to take their children out of the school or not send them at all if the schools are not meeting goals.

Visit Beacon Academy to Learn More About Minnesota Charter School Benefits Today!

If you are looking for a charter school in the Twin Cities area, you should visit Beacon Academy. It is focused on achieving results in a family-friendly community environment. The curriculum includes basic subjects as well as arts, music, and Spanish.

Beacon Academy is located in Crystal, at the intersection of 35th Ave N and Nevada Ave N. Unlike many other charter schools that do not offer transportation for students, Beach Academy offers busing at no cost to families. Schedule a tour to see what we have to offer and why your child should enroll.


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