Charter v. Public: Who’s Winning The Fight?

From the confined charter school experience to the free flowing environment of public schools, without having attended one or the other, students become very opinionated about which one they’d prefer. 


While researching experiences of some students to the lives of others, there was a series of dilemmas that students felt within charter schools. Comparing charter to public shows the differences in things like kids academic motivation, social lives, and availability to life’s opportunities.


Students transitioning from junior high to high school is a major change and has an affect on the student whether good or bad. Things like having to get used to more classes, work, and stress can be hard to balance. 


Charter Schools

In a lot of charter schools, there are some school activities and extracurriculars available but not all are of interest to students. “57% of high school students participate in at least one extracurricular activity,” said U.S. Census Bureau. Only 57% of kids are doing one extracurricular activity. That is not a lot for the amount of kids in school and the number of activities that take place at school. 


Caleb Ortiz, a freshman student at Da Vinci Communications shares his insight on how he’s handling his new experiences here. 


“It’s pretty fun here, it’s like a new thing for me,” said Ortiz. Going further he explained that he actually had the option to go to a public school but he chose Da Vinci because he went to Dana Middle School and really enjoyed his time there so he figured it would be the same in high school and from his standpoint it is. “Honestly, I don’t really know because for me, coming from my perspective, I think probably just the meals if I had to be honest. Like the lunch is kind of bad here. That’s really it though because the school here is really cool in general.” 


Caleb Ortiz has just now received the charter school experience when attending Da Vinci Communications unlike many upperclassmen who were able to experience at least 1-2 years of on campus instruction before the pandemic.


Jahari Crawford, a senior, who’s experienced majority of all that Da Vinci has to offer including basketball, track and field, various campus clubs like Black Student Union, Fantasy Football, and he is also apart of Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) which is a marketing honors group where students go and compete against other schools to show their skills. 


“Overall, I would say that DaVinci is a good school, and I like it at times, for various reasons, but for the most part, I think when teachers come up with really cool projects that I get to work on. It makes me like the school more. But sometimes we do boring assignments where things seem very tedious, and it can be hard for me to enjoy it,” said Crawford. 


Although there are many things students enjoy about their school, some students feel more actions need to be taken to refine it.


“One thing I would like to change about Da Vinci Communications is maybe, I don’t know, I feel like sometimes our culture is so different, when I think about the average or normal high school culture, it makes me kind of wish I had that,” said Crawford. “So, one thing I might want to change is, I don’t know if we are having it this year, but, we don’t have Homecoming and it’s at every other highschool in the world. We don’t have a football team, and basically every school around here has a football team. Little things like that sometimes make me feel like I’m not fully getting a high school experience.” 


When a survey was sent out, on average, 83% of students said they wished Da Vinci offered football. Some expressed that if Da Vinci did, they may get more offers from colleges because they have the talent for football but nowhere to play. Others said they would participate, and feel more intune with the Da Vinci community if there was a football team because they would without a doubt join. 


Comparing the differences that each school offers allows for other students to make a better educated decision on which they’d rather spend their highschool years. The main difference between a charter and public school according to Rhodes Schools is the amount of flexibility within staff, students, extracurriculars, classes, and more. Public schools are run by the state board of education meaning their funds come from the majority of taxes while charters are run by a private individual board and their funds come more from each student, when there are fundraisers, dances, or other events where money is provided to the school. 


Public Schools


Cameron Bryant, a junior who attends Redondo Union High School understood first hand the perspectives of public school and the environment created at his school. 


“I like my school a lot, I feel like it’s a great community to be around especially since everyone has connections and goals, it’s easy to just feed off of that energy,” said Bryant. 


Unlike Jahari Crawford, Bryant has more of an opportunity to attend school sporting events and see school spirit. “100%! Attending sports games adds to the high school experience because not only is it a break from school so that you can go have fun and support your friends that might be playing, but it’s also a chance to see history or build traditions throughout your school that will last for years to come,” said Bryant. 


Leilani Willard, a junior who also attends Redondo Union, explains her enjoyment of the school. 


“I like my school a lot. There are a lot of extracurricular activities to do inside and outside of school that I really enjoy doing. I also feel like my school provides great opportunities for me to challenge myself as a student.”


For Willard she’s able to see the different opportunities of community life within schools when attending public school. 


“There are so many clubs and volunteering opportunities available at my school. It is really easy to make friends that have similar interests with you. Personally, I am in the Red Cross club and I plan on joining the biomedical club on club rush day,” said Willard. 




Ultimately, charter and public schools have many attributes that compliment themselves, but that can also deride within each school. Students may prosper in either one but it all depends on which would be a better fit. 


Claudette Christison wrote a paper on the ¨Benefits of Participating in Extracurricular Activities¨ and gathered information on the gain of school activities.


“Students who participate in extracurricular activities experience higher levels of academic achievement.– Students who participate frequently in extracurricular activities tend to have higher grades, better test scores, and more positive educational experiences in general,” said Christison.