- Support IST
Education is full of jargon. Words can mean different things, and new ways of describing things constantly emerge. Shades and nuances of meaning must be differentiated. Old ideas require fresh paint. What appears clear to a speaker may be quite muddy to a listener. What is heard in one way in one context can sound quite different in another. So first - we must define our terms.
Schools and educational providers should be considered in terms of :
Matters such as programme, areas of focus, students served etc are all derived from the questions of who controls and who funds the school.
Public or Non-Public
Public schools receive public funding and answer to politicians; non-public schools neither. Public schools exist and operate in political environments. Administrators and teachers follow Policies and Procedures made elsewhere, Washington DC, Phoenix and politically-elected school boards, frequently by non-educators acting from political motives. Public or government funds support these Policies and Procedures, and reflect the priorities of the policy-makers so they can and do change from one election to the next. Administrators and teachers are answerable "up" the chain.
Non-public schools exist in their own, usally local, environments, serve their own communities and are answerable to those communities. Non-public schools fund themselves.
Public District or Public Charter Schools
Despite what many people say, charter schools are public schools. Both Public District and Public Charter Schools are government funded and government-regulated, and although Arizona charter schools are currently lightly regulated (Why is IST not a Charter School?), this could change at any time. Public District schools answer to the District office, District Board, County (admittedly not much here in Pima), State agencies, the State government, regional authorities, federal agencies, the federal government. Incidentally, this is paralleled by multiple employee union structures.
Public Charter schools in Arizona answer to State agencies, the State government, regional authorities, federal agencies, the federal government. Increasingly in other states, and this may be occurring in Arizona, the missing layers are re-asserting themselves.
Ultimately, both Public District and Public Charter operate at the whim of multiple layers of politically-appointed and politically-driven overseers.
Calling non-public schools "private" does not allow for the huge variation which exists. Non-public schools receive no public or government funding and are at most loosely regulated; non-public schools operate largely outside politically-affected arenas. Arizona's education law states specifically that it does not apply to non-public schools.
Some non-public schools may resemble public schools; some are completely different. Non-public schools are :
For-profit / proprietory - owned by a person, family or corporation. eg Castlehill. Policies and Procedures come from the owner and the school's operations are driven by a profit motive. Proprietory schools answer to their owner.
Parochial - religious and attached to a parish. eg St Cyrils (Diocesan) and St Michaels (independent). Policies and Procedures come from the Diocese or a similar body or from the individual church, and funds are often provided by the overarching body or the individual church. Parochial schools are faith-based, serve their individual parish communities and answer to their priest or pastor.
Sectarian - religious but not attached to a parish. eg Salpointe (Diocesan) and Tucson Hebrew Academy (independent). Policies and Procedures may come from the Diocese or a similar body, or from the school but influenced by their wider faith-based community. Sectarian schools are faith-based, serve their communities and are often subsidised by their community. They answer to their faith-based community.
Secular - non-religious. eg Castlehill (proprietary), St Gregorys (independent) and IST (independent). .
Independent - not-for-profit, self-governed by a Board of Trustees, self-financed, defined by Mission. eg Greenfields, IST, St Gregorys, St Michaels, Tucson Hebrew Academy. Policies and Procedures are defined by the individual school's Board of Trustees and/or by the school itself. Independent schools answer directly to their Trustees, parents, students and staff and are entirely financially self-sufficient. Funds come only from fees, fund-raising and donations.