Letters to the Editor

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I-1240: Charter schools are working elsewhere

Letter by Donald J. Fritz, Tacoma on Sep. 7, 2012 at 11:14 am | 14 Comments »
September 7, 2012 11:14 am

The New York Times published a Sept. 3 article with headline, “New Charter Schools Thrive in Harlem, but Some Parents Are Feeling Left Out.”

The only real problem with charter schools is that there are not enough of them to serve everybody. There are now 130 in Harlem. These left 7,700 applicants for seats without one in 2012, down from more than 10,000 disappointed applicants in 2011.

The Times article states that “Harlem was a natural choice to be the epicenter of school reform,” in part because of an “epidemic of poor student performance.” One parent of a charter school student is quoted as saying that “some of these schools have brought the community to a new level academically.”

Two letter writers (TNT, 9-6) argue against Initiative 1240, which would finally permit establishment of several charter schools in Washington.

One writer argues that poverty, not poor quality of schools, is the reason for student failure. But good schools are able to counteract the effects of poverty and broken homes. (One student identified in the Times article attended a charter school with 91 percent of student body reading and writing at or above grade level.)

The other writer worried about “drain” of resources, but now Washingtonians are paying for many schools, to use a baseball analogy, that are hitting under “the Mendoza line.”

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