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Charter Schools Should be a Local Decision

December 14, 2009

Today’s San Jose Mercury News included an article on California’s approach to charter schools that is relevant to the current Dublin charter high school debate.  As noted in earlier articles, OneDublin.org contends that charter schools can be an excellent solution to real problems, but that adding a new high school too soon means less choice for Dublin students.

The San Jose Mercury News article outlines the Governor’s charter school bias: “Schwarzenegger’s deep ties to the charter school movement haven’t been a secret. He has taken at least $1 million in contributions from charter school advocates, stacked the State Board of Education with charter school educators, overseen since taking office in 2003 more than a doubling in the number of charter schools and steered hundreds of millions of construction bond money to charter schools.”

As a result the number of charter schools in California has exploded, although the failure rate of charter high schools (primarily due to financial issues) has remained stubbornly high (as reported earlier), and the average API of district-run vs. charter high schools is a statistical tie.

OneDublin.org is concerned of a perceived bias at the State level and argues that the decision to create a charter school should be a local decision – not a local school district decision but a local parent decision.  Successful charter schools depend on very high levels of parent and community support – a charter school created on a whim, or as a nice-to-have, is more likely to end up like the 29% of charter high schools that have failed.  OneDublin.org understands the general interest in the concept of a second high school in Dublin (in particular a second high school located closer to Dublin Ranch), but has spoken to very few parents – at the three Dublin Learning Corp. Town Hall  meetings and in the community – who have the level of passion and commitment required to make a charter school succeed.

Rather, OneDublin.org encourages parents to apply their passion in support of OneDublin.org’s 2010 goals for improving Dublin education.  OneDublin.org encourages parents to take an active role in shaping and improving Dublin education through our existing schools (at the elementary, middle and high school level).  The worst outcome for Dublin students is two undersized high schools that are unable to offer the diversity of programming required for our children to thrive and succeed.

Share your ideas publicly by commenting on this posting or privately by emailing OneDublin.org at onedublin@comcast.net.

For a quick, 10-minute summary of the charter high school debate, OneDublin.org produced the following presentation:

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One Comment
  1. Rick Boster permalink
    December 16, 2009 11:13 pm

    Just FYI, Dublin has seen the charter process before; this isn’t the first time that the board has heard a charter application. In the past, they have been able to solve parent concerns by working together. Murray’s Pathways program is a great example of the community, the charter applicants, and the board working together to create school and program choice within Dublin Unified. Please understand that originally this concept was a charter movement which ultimately became a district program. I would encourage everyone to find out more about the Pathways program and the choices that presently exist here in Dublin. We hope to expand the Pathways program K-5 in the year to come. In January we will have a short documentary highlighting different aspects of the program. Stay tuned!

    Rick Boster, Principal Murray Elementary

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