Fact Check

Despite our proven success, there are many misconceptions about charter schools. Below, we set the record straight and provide the facts behind the myths.

17
Truth:

Learn4Life works with local public schools, not against them.

1
Myth:

Charter Schools take money away from public schools.

Truth:

Learn4Life provides all students a path to graduation.

2

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Myth:

Charter schools cherry pick the best and brightest students.

Truth:

89% of Learn4Life students are successful.

3
Myth:

Charter schools underperform and their graduation rates are much lower than traditional public schools.

Truth:

Learn4Life students receive the intense personalized attention they need to succeed and thrive.

4
Myth:

Students who spend less time on campus don’t learn as effectively as those who are in a traditional classroom 5 days a week.

Truth:

Learn4Life schools give students a second chance.

5
Myth:

We need to stop the growth of charter schools. They’re not good for California.

Truth:

Charter schools are often confused with expensive private schools.

6

But in fact, charter schools are publicly funded and tuition free! Learn4Life is no different. Each of our schools is free to attend and will never charge you a single penny in tuition. And to top it off, every school in the Learn4Life network is a 501c3 non profit organization!

Myth:

Charter Schools charge tuition and are expensive for parents.

Truth:

There is no lengthy or exclusionary application process required to enroll at Learn4Life.

7

Any student who meets the age requirements can walk into a center and enroll any time, free of charge. We don’t exclude special needs students or those who have fallen behind. In fact, we serve all students, especially those who need us most.

Myth:

Charter Schools have a rigorous application process and exclude students who don’t meet their standards.

Truth:

Every school in the Learn4Life network is a nonprofit organization.

8

By law, every dollar must go towards serving students and we are held to rigid fiscal compliance standards. We are not here to make money – we’re here to change stories.

Myth:

Charter schools are for-profit and focus on earnings.

Truth:

Learn4Life helps students who haven't had success in a traditional school setting.

9

We actually work with the public schools, not against them. In many cases, we partner with public school districts to identify students that have fallen through the cracks. We get them back on track, and in many cases they transfer back to their original school. Without Learn4Life, those students would be dropouts – potentially unemployed, incarcerated, or homeless.

Myth:

Charter schools actively recruit students from traditional schools.

Truth:

All Learn4Life schools are independently operated and locally controlled.

10

Each school in the Learn4Life network makes its own decisions based on its own individual needs. We do work with Lifelong Learning, which is a support services provider and not a CMO. Lifelong Learning is a nonprofit that provides administrative support services. By leaving the back office work to them, it allows Learn4Life leadership and faculty to focus on how to best serve students instead of on paperwork.

Myth:

Charters are operated or led by a for-profit CMO/EMO.

Truth:

At Learn4Life, we serve all students.

11

We have programs that specifically aid those with special needs or who qualify for ELL services. Students in our program are surrounded by a team of passionate teachers, counselors, and tutors to ensure they get the best education possible.

Myth:

Charter Schools turn away special education students and English Language Learners (ELL).

Truth:

While we do have increased autonomy and flexibility, Learn4Life schools are actually held to tougher accountability standards than any traditional public school.

12

The difference is that when a traditional public school misses a benchmark, nothing happens. If we fail to meet those standards, we can be closed down.

Our authorizers have strict oversight requirements, and our schools must be reauthorized every 5 years. Again, if we fail to meet the standards, our schools won’t be renewed.

On top of that, we are accountable to the students who enroll in our schools and their parents. Unlike the traditional public school system, we don’t have the luxury of a pipeline of students who are required to enroll. If we fail to meet students’ needs and expectations, they can and will enroll elsewhere.

Myth:

Charter schools are free from accountability and oversight.

Truth:

All Learn4Life centers are operating within the law.

13

They are approved by and monitored regularly by an authorizing school board. Our satellite centers allow us to reach rural students and those who can’t travel to larger schools. They can be established quickly to meet a need and are more affordable.

Myth:

Charter schools open satellite centers that operate illegally.

Truth:

Learn4Life schools receive the same level of state funding, per student, as traditional public schools.

14

Unlike traditional schools, we don’t accept federal funding. So in fact we are operating with less funding overall but still providing far more services.

We work with dozens of partners to provide wraparound services and enrichment programs, all at no cost to the student. Programs and services like vocational training, experiential learning trips, support services for pregnant and parenting teens, gang intervention, and so much more.

We do all this without charging the students a dime, and with less funding than traditional schools. At Learn4Life, we do more with less, because it’s the only way to change stories and give these students a second chance.

Myth:

Charter schools receive more money than traditional public schools.

Truth:

Learn4Life students are required to meet the same standards as students in traditional public schools.

15

Our courses adhere to the A-G college entrance requirements, which are required for a student to be eligible for acceptance into the California State and University of California systems.

But it’s not just the coursework that’s rigorous, our system itself is too. In a traditional classroom with 40-50 students, it’s common for a student to miss out on grasping an important concept while the train keeps moving along. Teachers in traditional public schools simply don’t have the time to go back and catch up every individual student. At Learn4Life, our program is personalized and students are required to show mastery of every unit of a course before they are promoted to the next credit.

Myth:

Charter schools have lower academic expectations and less academic rigor.

Truth:

Our courses are personalized and rigorous, and Learn4Life students earn far more than just a diploma when they graduate.

16

They also get hands-on job training, life skills classes, educational field trips and coping skills to prepare them for a life beyond high school. With our civic engagement program, we teach students the importance of participating in democracy. We are changing stories every day, and turning students into adults who will be lifelong contributors to society.

Myth:

Charter schools are just diploma factories.

Truth:

All Learn4Life teachers are credentialed and highly qualified.

17

Most of our teachers bring years of extensive experience when they are hired. To enhance their capacity for working with at-risk students, we provide extensive training to our faculty, especially in the area of trauma informed care. We recognize that not every educator is best suited to work with our population. We work diligently to identify struggling teachers and offer them additional training and support. It takes a special kind of person to work the students we serve.

Myth:

Charter schools hire unqualified teachers and staff.

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