Are you a parent in Tucson, Arizona searching for various school options for your kids?

Many families are experiencing major changes due to COVID-19. Parents had to supervise their children as they shifted to online classes from face-to-face instructions given the stay-at-home orders and lingering threat of the virus. These changes also made many parents wonder what other school options are available for their children.

Choosing the most suitable school is no walk in the park. It’s a daunting task especially since parents have different choices. They can opt to enroll their child in neighborhood schools, alternative schools, magnet schools, private schools, and charter public schools.

The main objective of this article is to guide parents in making a well-informed decision when it comes to their child’s education. And if you’re a parent wondering if public, charter school in Tucson, Arizona is the right choice, then keep reading on. This post will answer questions such as “How does a charter school work?” “How do I apply and enroll my child in a charter school in Tucson, Arizona?” And “What tuition-free charter schools in Tucson, Arizona are available?”

What is a Tuition-Free Public Charter School in Arizona?

Charter schools in Arizona first opened in the year 1994 after a special legislative session. They were created to provide educators with more leeway in educating students to ensure that schools would become incubators for innovation and reform.

Arizona charter schools are independent public schools that are sponsored and approved by either the state board for charter schools, the state board of education, a community college, a university under the umbrella of the Arizona board of regents, or a group of community college districts. Any person, private entity, or organization may apply for the opening of a charter school.

Charter schools in Arizona may have different approaches towards education but all are required to follow the state’s standards and assessments. They are usually privately managed and are exempted from some of the laws and rules that traditional public schools must adhere to. They don’t have to follow the state’s rules regarding governing boards, schools, and school districts. They may, for example, have their own purchasing or procurement of services and goods methods, and are allowed to hire non-certified principals and teachers.

What Tuition-Free Public Charter Schools are Available for Children in Tucson, Arizona?

We recommend looking at EDGE High School as an option for you or your child.

EDGE is a Cognia accredited, tuition-free, charter high school, with two campuses in the greater Tucson area. EDGE provides an alternative to traditional education, meeting the diverse learning and life needs of its students with a blended curriculum and flexible morning or afternoon class schedules. EDGE’s high-quality, passionate teachers are dedicated to individualized instruction in small academic classes.

Are There Other Tuition-Free and Public Charter Schools Available in Tucson, Arizona?

Parents can apply to any charter school of their choice in the state. Arizona rules state that “charter school shall enroll all eligible pupils who submit a timely application unless the number of applications exceeds the capacity of a program, class, grade level or building.” Charter schools are not allowed to reject an application on the basis of the child’s current district or neighborhood.

What is The Process for Enrolling my Child in a Tuition-Free Public Charter School?

The admission process of charter schools in Arizona is much like other schools– they require parents to submit an application. Parents must be ready to provide the schools with specific information about their children such as the name, address, birth date, last school attended, and ethnic background.

A charter school may give preference to returning students and to siblings of currently enrolled pupils. They may also give enrollment preferences to kids who either meet the definition of unaccompanied youth or are currently in foster care.

Charter schools may also prioritize applicants who are the legal wards, children or grandchildren of their employees, members of the governing body of the school, officers, partners and directors of the charter holder, among others.

Charter schools that cannot enroll all students who submitted a timely application due to their lack of capacity will have to use an equitable selection process. The lottery is a common selection process used by many charter schools.

Do Public Charter Schools in Tucson, AZ offer High-Quality Education?

The first thing many parents ask is whether a particular school offers high-quality education.

If you are one of those doubting the quality of education of charter schools, then you should know what the numbers say. Studies show that charter schools in Arizona have raised the academic bar significantly. From 2015 to 2018, charter school students in Arizona had higher scores in the state-wide achievement test, AzMERIT, than the state average and students from other school types. Consider the following numbers:

  • In 2015, charter school students in the state had a 44 percent passing rate in AzMERIT, higher than the state’s 34, alternative schools’ 9 percent passing rate, and district schools’ passing rate of 33 percent.
  • In 2016, charter school students in the state had a 47 percent passing rate in AzMERIT, higher than the state passing rate of 38 percent, alternative school’s 8 percent passing rate, and district schools’ passing rate of 36 percent.
  • In 2017, charter school students in the state had a 48 percent passing rate in AzMERIT, higher than the state passing rate of 39 percent, alternative school’s 13 percent passing rate, and district schools’ passing rate of 37 percent.
  • In 2018, charter school students in the state had a 50 percent passing rate in AzMERIT, higher than the state passing rate of 41 percent, alternative school’s 13 percent passing rate, and district schools’ passing rate of 39 percent

It is also worthy to note that charter schools’ passing rates in the AzMERIT had consistently improved over the years.