Are Charter Schools Better?

Charter schools have been seeing a steady and significant increase in enrollment, but some question whether charters are much better than public schools.

Lynda Plummer is the principal for Bright Ideas Charter School in Wichita Falls and she says each year the number of students that come to her school increases.  Plummer says she believes the increase is due to the growing dissatisfaction some parents have with the public school system.

"We have about 10% more this year than we had last year and the same thing happened last year and the year before," Plummer says.

At Bright Ideas Charter School, the 200 plus student count is on a steady incline, a common trend for charter schools across the country according to a recent study.

"Some of the charter schools are adding campus after campus to their charter," says Plummer.

She says there are several reasons for the increase, but one she hears most often from parents is their concern with the public school system.

"The main reason is that the schools not meeting their child's needs or the families needs," she says.

Budget cuts are also referenced in a recent study as a big reason why parents are considering other options outside of public schooling.

Plummer says, "The situation for students all over the country is really dire."

But not everyone is convinced charter schools are the best option.  A study done by Stanford in 2009 shows test scores may not be that much different between charter and public schools.   But Plummer says it maybe unfair to base a charter schools success on test results.  She says charters allow kids to accelerate, if a child thinks they can handle work a grade level higher, they will be moved up and then given the state test for that grade, sometimes reflecting lower test scores.

"In other places its an emphasis on the system rather than an emphasis on the individual students needs," she says.

Texas is one of the states with one of the largest growths in charter schools in the country with about 22,000 more students attending this year.  Nationally, more than 2 million students attend charter schools and numbers continue to grow.

Taelor Rian, Newschannel 6.