The Differences Between Charter Schools and Public Schools

If you’re a parent, there’s little more important to you than your children’s education. But choosing a school for your child can be daunting. If you are not interested in private education, how do you choose between charter schools and public schools? Both public and charter school education in Phoenix, AZ are taxpayer funded, but charter schools are increasingly popular because of the flexibility and unique opportunities they offer their students. Here are some of the differences between charter schools and public schools to consider before deciding where to send your child.


Whereas public schools have strict curriculum requirements that are meant to be adhered to across every individual school and classroom in a district, charter schools operate more independently. Charter school education will differ from school to school much more than state-regulated public schools, because charter schools are run by unique private boards rather than the state board of education. Being less strictly regulated doesn’t mean charter schools have no oversight at all, however. Each charter school has to adhere to its individual charter or it risks losing its funding from the state or even getting shut down.

Students and class size

Public education students are assigned to schools based on where they live, but charter school education students can live anywhere. Admission to charter schools can be determined through lottery systems or grade and attendance requirements, rather than by district. Public schools are more prone to overcrowding than charter schools, as they cannot turn eligible students away even if they surpass capacity. Charter schools, in contrast, admit students based on a threshold. Fewer students are generally accepted into charter schools, making for more intimate classrooms.


Whereas private schools tend to offer more electives and sports, charter schools can function more like electives in themselves. There are charter schools geared specifically towards students with interest in particular electives, offering a more specialized experience on the whole. An example would be performing arts charter schools, where students may not have as wide a variety of elective opportunities as they would at a public school, but will have many opportunities to participate in arts and theater programs.
The smaller class size of charter schools also helps to create opportunities for community amongst the students in the same way extracurriculars and electives do in larger public and private schools. Most charter schools don’t have as many sports facilities as public schools, but some do share facilities with nearby public schools.


Because charter schools have more specialized goals than public schools, they are more likely to hire teachers with more specialized skills and backgrounds. Public schools require all teachers to be certified by the state. Some charter schools do as well, but some will hire teachers who have specific qualifications and strengths without being certified.

Choose the school that’s right for your child

Pointe Schools is committed to quality charter school education with small class sizes and excellent teachers. If you’re interested in learning more about our charter schools in Phoenix, AZ, contact us today.

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