Is New Pacific School exclusively open to a few types of learners? Absolutely not!
This myth came up during a recent conversation with a local preschool director about New Pacific School. He was short-staffed and busy, but he wanted to learn more about New Pacific School. He assumed it was a private school. I shared that New Pacific is a tuition-free public charter school that’s open to all students.
“Charter schools cherry-pick the best kids,” he said to me, “our families won’t be able to get in.”
I gently shared the facts about charter public schools in California: Charter schools are public schools and may not discriminate and must admit all students who wish to attend. If the number of students exceeds the school’s capacity, admission must be determined by a public random drawing.
Public charter schools can have preferences in the lottery, and those preferences must be spelled out in the charter document. For example, New Pacific School has preferences for the siblings of existing students to make transportation easier for families.
Private schools and certain public magnet schools are allowed to enforce academic or behavioral admissions requirements. For example, private schools can refuse to serve students with disabilities, and public magnet schools can use grade point averages or letters of recommendation to screen applicants.
Charter schools may not have academic or behavioral admissions requirements that are intended to screen out students. As taxpayer-funded public schools, charter schools are open to all students, including students with disabilities, English language learners, and students who are struggling academically. In that way, charter schools are the most accessible kind of public school!
The preschool director seemed to appreciate the information about charter schools. “Sounds good to me,” he said, “I’m looking forward to learning more.”
If you want to learn more about California charter schools, watch this quick video or visit CCSA