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Are charter schools better alternatives to public schools and at what cost?

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 18 2011 10:19 a.m. MST

In this photo taken Feb. 10, 2010, school children move between classes at the American Preparatory Academy in Draper.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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Over the past couple of decades, charter schools have been touted as better alternatives to traditional public schools, with smaller class sizes and a result-oriented atmosphere. President Obama has said that he supports high-quality charter schools and encourages states to lift limits on charter schools.

And recently states seem to be pushing for more charter schools.

The New York Daily News reported last week that New York City charter schools will be getting a nine percent increase in funding this year while city public schools will be seeing a four percent cut. Late last week, Oklahoma announced it will be opening its first virtual charter school, according to Education Week. And Bloomberg reported on Friday that New Jersey's governor Chris Christie has plans to replace public schools deemed as chronically failing with charter schools.

Utah currently has four charter school bills being written.

One mom in North Carolina, recently told her story to the Charleston Gazette about how she choose to drive 10 miles to a charter school instead of walking to her neighborhood district school.

Indiana's governor is proposing to use a voucher system that would allow children to attend a private or charter school rather than a public school in their district.

But some educators are worried about this push for more charter schools.

One educator stated in the Indiana Daily Student that he was apprehensive about taking taxpayers' dollars outside the district.

And many teachers' unions are against the movement, feeling charter schools need to have more accountability. New Jersey teachers unions are asking for more oversight in charter schools, stating in NorthJersey.com, a Northern New Jersey media corporation, that some schools are underperforming without consequence. And the New York Times reported last year that teachers unions also feel there needs to be more accountability on where the money is going.

Find more information about what Utahns think about charter schools in this Deseret News article.

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