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Town Hall: Charter Schools

Rochester, N.Y. -- Four new charter schools will open their doors to Rochester city students this fall, a sign of a growing trend in urban education.

This raises the question: Are charter schools the answer for many of our city's education problems?

13WHAM News spoke with Anne Hall, who oversees a host of charter schools in New York and several in Rochester. They're part of the nonprofit Uncommon Schools.

The students wear uniforms and have longer school days. According to Hall, Uncommon Schools believe children learn best and teachers teach best in an "orderly structured environment."

Uncommon Schools are technically public. There's no cost and students who apply usually enter a library to get in.

Unlike a typical school, not all teachers need to be certified (although Rochester Prep requires it) and there's no teacher's union, which means no pension.

You take that and all the things the district covers for charters such as transportation, and you find the charter paying thousands of dollars less to educate one child than the district.

"We have the flexibility to make those programmatic decisions we think is really important," Hall said. "We have outperformed the district in every test in every subject for every year we've been open."

According to Hall, all of this means parents have more choice, but when parents make that choice to move their child to a charter, state dollars follow them, leaving the district with less money to work with.

Hall is a panelist on 13WHAM'sTown Hall event: Your Voice, Your Future, Your City Schools.

It starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Strong National Museum of Play.

Click here to sign-up and save a seat.

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Washington Times