Dear Coastal families,
We are beginning our re-enrollment process this month for next year and I figured it was time to revisit the issue of Charter Schools. It is a topic I discuss with current and prospective families quite a bit. I want you to be well informed on the issue.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, Charter Schools are public schools which allow for deviation from the traditional classroom setting. Sometimes they are hybrid models where there is some group teaching as well as parent supervised homework at home and others support full homeschooling programs where parents provide all the instruction and submit work samples to a credentialed teacher periodically for approval. As you know, public school districts receive Local and State funding for each student enrolled in their schools, so any child enrolled in a charter school also brings the public school district additional funds.
The attraction of the charter school model to many families is that additional funds are provided to the family for curriculum and extra-curricular activities.
Concerns about Charter Schools
1. By definition, any instruction by a public school (including a Charter School) must remain non-sectarian, so Christian curriculum cannot be taught during the school day. Funds cannot be used for Christian curriculum and Work Samples cannot be based on Christian curriculum. Occasionally some families choose to not talk about God or Scriptural values during their school day and then do duplicate work after hours from a Christian worldview. One needs to think carefully about the message that sends one’s child.
2. As you know, public school districts receive Local and State funding for each student enrolled in their schools, so any child enrolled in a charter school brings the public school district additional funds to use for their purposes and agenda. For the 2016-2017 school year, the average revenue for a student in California public schools was $13,452. Therefore, by enrolling in a charter school, a family provides the district with approximately an additional $11,000/year per student (after the funds they set aside to provide to the family) for them to use for their curriculum development and programs, which as we know are usually in opposition to Christian values (literature selections, history lessons, science philosophies etc.)
3. Instruction must match California standards thereby requiring instruction in Common Core Standards.
4. Charter school students may or may not be subject to the California State Immunization requirements. It varies widely between the different charter schools.
I have definitely seen a trend in the charter school homeschool movement that resembles a “management of the child’s tutors” more than the child actually receiving instruction from the parents. I would caution you against falling into that mentality. While an occasional group class can be very beneficial to supplement what you are teaching at home, it is a slippery slope to letting a long list of outside classes define your child’s curriculum. You, as the parent end up missing the benefit of customizing the teaching to your child’s learning style etc. In addition, your child’s spiritual development will be strongly influenced by your tutor’s world view. By law, a tutor from a charter school vendor will not be encouraging your child’s Christian development.
I would strongly encourage you to read the following articles from CHEA and HSLDA regarding their opinions and cautions about choosing to enroll your students in a public charter school.
We very much respect each family’s choice to educate their children however they see fit. At Coastal, we are here to support Christian homeschooling and felt it was important for you to be informed about all sides of this topic. If you have any questions, please contact me. I'm happy to discuss this with you further.
This is a collection of the reflections our principal, Susan Truman submits to our monthly newsletters. She is married to her college sweetheart and is a mother of three. She graduated two of her children from Coastal with her third child attending a special needs school.