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Psychology and Education

There has always been a raging debate about which is better between charter schools and private schools within the education sector. While better can be a relative term, there are standards such as academic performance, discipline, and parental support that one should consider when making this decision. It is on this premise that I sought to find out exactly what difference there is between charter schools and public schools. I set out to conduct interviews in different charter and public schools and document my findings in this paper.

Charter Schools

Charter schools are public schools that are funded with local tax dollars and operated by non-public school boards. Ideally, they are schools that have been established by the teachers, parents, and communities (Cohodes, 2018). In essence, they are public schools that are run similar to private schools. In these schools, teachers are more strict with their teaching styles and follow a curriculum that benefits the students’ achievement. They are also much more involved with parents and the community. Overall, charter schools are schools established as a result of community members coming together in agreement under the terms of a charter.

The charter school that I visited for this interview was Mott Hall III. While here, I got the opportunity to interview Ms. Brown, who was the school’s principal. Ms. Brown stated that the purpose of this school is to educate children who have learning disabilities and provide them with a high-level education because they do not have the resources to do so otherwise. She also informed me that this school has been operating for 25 years and has over 100 students. Here, she shared many insights as to how her school came to be and why it operates in the way it does. She informed me that many parents in the area we’re interested in establishing a public school due to the lack of funding at their local public schools, which prevented their children from obtaining other career opportunities than working as a janitor or bus driver. In general, the school was established in response to the lack of funding in the public school and the need to have better quality education.

During the course of our interaction, she shared five skills that the schools were anchored on. These skills are Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy, and Self-control. She argued that these skills are important to create a successful relationship with the community and create an academic environment with discipline. The school prides itself in developing well-rounded students who are leaders in mathematics, science, and technology. While they encourage competition among the students, they focus on collaboration and creating a community of learners who love to learn and have the knowledge base to do so. Thus, for this to be possible, the teachers, parents, and management strive to create a conducive environment that will make the students want to learn.

To create this conducive learning environment, they have adopted various management strategies to create the right environment to promote learning. The school has instituted conferences with the parents and community where they share successes and failures with them. This is done to keep parents informed of what is going on in the school and also to let them know how they can help their children’s success in learning. They also host open houses where they invite all families in the community, raise awareness, and create a relationship with the families that are attending. Charter schools work hard to establish relations with key people in their communities so that they can effectively help guide their students through their educational careers. They have adopted mentorship programs that have successfully improved student engagement in school and kept them focused on achieving their dreams and goals. In general, according to Ms. Brown, these strategies have significantly helped the students maintain discipline and achieve positive outcomes in their academic pursuits.

Ms. Brown also confirms that a focus on curriculum development has been vital in ensuring this school’s success. The curriculum is developed by professionals whose purpose is to help the students achieve their needs. The curriculum provides a wide range of objectives necessary to secure academic excellence. Each student receives personalized care and attention that further improves their chances of success. Overall, the curriculum is developed in a manner that not only concentrates on academic performance but also emphasizes co-curriculum activities that encourage students to explore their talents outside the classroom.

Public Schools

Public schools are owned and operated by the governments in their jurisdiction. This is the type of school that is most familiar to us. Here, we have all attended a public school at some point in our lives, so we know many aspects of how they function. Over the years, public schools have changed with the times and have adapted to the needs of the community they serve.

The public school I visited for this interview was Ridgeway Elementary School. This school has nurtured the individual’s artistic skills, cognitive capabilities, and moral and ethical standing. Further, as noted in the interview, the school encourages self-learning and fosters a hands-on approach to learning. In the end, because of the measures they have adopted in student development, students grow as unique individuals as they synthesize abstract ideas into original visual art creations.

Unlike in charter schools, the curriculum here is not rigid; rather, it is tailor-made to suit the needs of specific students. The school staff is indeed a great asset because they are the ones who put in most of their time even after regular work hours to help students with their individual needs. According to the school administration, the key focus of this school is on student development and improving academic performance in all aspects. To live up to this goal, teachers spend considerable time tutoring students that are struggling with academic subjects by giving them one-on-one attention. Teachers also try to support their students through mentorship programs that provide opportunities for their students to learn about what it takes for them to succeed, as well as provide helpful suggestions on how they can improve in future studies.

The school is based on specific teaching techniques and methodology called Proactive Learning System. A major focus of the system is on students’ independence, and their learning styles are also well-considered. Students are free to choose their activities; they have complete control over what they study inside the classroom. Students are encouraged to take time between lessons to do useful discussions and, if they wish, have private tutorials with the teachers. The school staff also provides students with opportunities for field trips to interact with various people from different backgrounds that will help them reflect on their understanding of what has been taught in class and broaden their cultural awareness.

This public school appeared to embrace diversity compared to the charter school, which serves only a particular community. In today’s globalized world, appreciation of diversity is key to successful human interactions, which is a significant focus of this school. Most teachers and administrators in the school were interviewed. With respect to staff development and support, they are provided with training programs to ensure that their performance is well monitored. They also have an effective mechanism for handling their grievances. The advantage of this public school compared to the charter schools is that it caters to students from all walks of life, socioeconomic backgrounds, and academic levels. Moreover, it provides equal opportunities for students of all races as well as gender within each classroom. Generally, while public schools might have their challenges, they can accrue significant advantages to the students.

Students attending charter schools and students attending public schools have been impacted in different ways by different educational approaches. The strong bond between teachers and students in charter schools has led to a stronger connection between parents and teachers, leading to more robust communication with their children. Students attending public school are more active in group learning activities because their teachers encourage such activities. Students get involved during problem-solving methods, making them more adaptive than those who attend charter schools where information is provided for them rather than allowing them to discover things for themselves. Based on my findings from this interview, I would conclude that public schools offer more exposure to the students as they allow the children to be free and be who they truly are.


Cohodes, S. (2018). Policy issue: Charter schools and the achievement gap. The Future of Children, 1-16.


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