Monday, July 30, 2007

Charter Shopping

It's that time of year again when parents "shop" for schools, much like their child's back-to-school clothes. Not all charter schools are alike! In fact, there are charter schools in Colorado for pregnant and parenting teens, a residential youth detention facility that also operates as a charter school, charter schools linked with the juvenile justice system and about 40% of the charter schools in the state use the Core Knowledge curriculum.

It's common for the public to develop a perception about charter schools in general through what they hear about the charter school nearest their home. For example, I live nearby four charter schools that each use the Core Knowledge curriculum and so many of my neighbors believe all charter schools have lots of homework and push the kids to excel. In Grand Junction, there's been a struggling charter school that serves high-risk youth in an alternative setting. This week a new charter school opens in Grand Junction that uses the Core Knowledge curriculum. These two schools, in the same community, will be totally different and so the perceptions of the people from Grand Junction will change.

I've visited numerous charter schools that use the Core Knowledge curriculum and none of them are alike. One school might emphasize science and technology while another focuses on character development. That's what is great about charter schools: they're all unique and serve the needs of their students uniquely.

When parents are shopping for a school they need to spend time in the school and ask lots of questions. Parents know their child the best and can tell if a school will suit their child's needs.

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