How does PNCS compare with Charter Schools?
Parents who are considering PNCS are sometimes also considering charter schools. Sometimes they ask our advice. Here are some things that we've observed.
Charter schools are a type of public school. Their students do not pay tuition; it is typically paid by the public school district in the area where the charter school operates. Clearly, that's a nice thing for parents.
A charter school has a charter from the state, to operate. It is managed outside of the normal public district channels, and therefore tends to have a more flexible management structure. Many charter schools adopt a particular emphasis -- career preparation, environmentalism, etc. They cannot be religious schools, which is a little odd, when you think about it, since they can choose other areas of emphasis.
In comparing PNCS to charter schools, there are probably three main differences:
- PNCS has to charge tuition. Charter schools don't, since taxpayers are covering it.
- PNCS has the underlying strength of religious values and perspectives which infuse our teaching. Charter schools aren't allowed to do that.
- PNCS has more flexibility, and less bureaucracy, and can be more closely responsive to parents.
- PNCS is more family-oriented.
Some charter schools are better than others, clearly. In some, you will find the academic rigor and a strong community feeling like you will find at PNCS. We tend to be able to offer smaller classes, and more chances to get outdoors, and to be creative, and to give personal attention to each student. The Pittsburgh area offers some excellent schooling options, including some charter schools. Still, PNCS is something special. It's well worth a visit to see for yourself.