Letter contained misconceptions about charter schools
December 18, 2007
Thank you so much for the letter in the Dec. 13 edition of the Sky-Hi Daily News, which so clearly expressed the common misconceptions people have regarding charter schools, and the education we need to provide.
A 2003 survey of Colorado voters found that Coloradoans overwhelmingly support public school choice (83 percent), but less than half of the respondents were able to pass a “true-false” quiz about charter schools, indicating that most Coloradoans have some misconceptions about charter schools.
A charter school is a pubic school in more than name. Yes, our funding comes from tax dollars, and we pay a portion (typically 2 to 3 percent) back to the school district.
Our school was created to enhance EGSD. We offer a choice by having a five-day school week, K-8 curriculum, teach a foreign language starting in kindergarten, and provide a content rich program using Core Knowledge. We follow the EGSD policies unless our governing board develops a policy that must, by state law, meet or exceed that of the school district. We do not charge tuition making our program affordable to all families in East Grand School District who are interested. The only case in which a student may not be enrolled in our program is if space does not allow which is a problem we are currently facing.
The letter’s comment regarding accountability is far from true. IPCS is probably the most accountable school in the district. Not only do we follow the state mandated guidelines, but we are responsible on a quarterly basis to report to EGSD Board members regarding our Academics, Discipline, Policy Changes, and Personnel. We participate in the Colorado League of Charter Schools Accountability Program as well as Core Knowledge’s Academic review. Our students continue to excel on the CSAP tests including 100 percent Proficient Scores in Reading for third and fourth grades, top scores across the board in our district in all seventh grade tests. I couldn’t be prouder of our upper grades (five through eight) who had 9:14 students score Advanced on the Extended Writing assignment. Evidence of the strong academic performance of charter schools is provided by both federal and state and measures of student achievement. Charter schools lead our state in academic achievement.
When we consider the federal measure of Adequate Yearly Progress (or AYP), 85 percent of charter schools had strong enough academic performance to make AYP, while 75 percent of non-charters made AYP.
Every Indian Peaks Charter School teacher has a Colorado Certification. True, charter schools can request waivers regarding changes to district policies. Ours does include a waiver for teachers with a Colorado Certification, and we have had teachers come to teach at IPCS from Pennsylvania, Missouri and other U.S. states.
Our waivers also include a change in calendar from the school district’s as our school is in session five days a week. Public charter schools are subject to the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. Public charter school teachers must be “highly qualified” under NCLB .
Home schooling and private schools are not options for all families. As a parent, I want my child to have the best education that suits her needs. I think every parent deserves that opportunity despite location. Due to working and her social personality we cannot home school her. We are not members of a church and therefore are not eligible to attend Winter Park Christian School. As a family, we strongly support public education.
I couldn’t agree with you more; East Grand School District does have excellent public schools with “dedicated teachers, support staff, and administrators.” Indian Peaks Charter Schools is one of these district schools. We thank the courage and character of our Founding Families and support of East Grand School District Board for its inception.