Letter: Confused by opposition to charter school | November 12, 2008 | Almanac | Almanac Online |



Viewpoint - November 12, 2008

Letter: Confused by opposition to charter school

I've been following the saga of Everest Charter School in the Almanac and have never understood why the Sequoia high school district refused to support Summit Prep charter and now is working to put the kibosh on the recently proposed Everest Charter School.

Summit Prep has proven to be a great public school alternative for students who thrive better in a small school setting. And Everest has the potential to do the same for students, integrating Mandarin into the curriculum.

As a parent of a Woodside High student, I am extremely pleased with the education he is receiving at the large high school. That does not mean that all students can thrive in that kind of setting.

When I opened up a recent e-mail from Woodside High's PTSA, I was disturbed to learn that the PTSA is taking an active role in discouraging educational opportunities for students living in the district and telling members that they need to oppose Everest's charter or else Woodside will "lose additional funding from our district as it is forced to house an additional facility."

Why do Sequoia and the Woodside PTSA feel so threatened by the possibility of successful charter schools? The accusations leveled against these local charter schools by the school district and the PTSA have been unfair and misleading, and do nothing to help elevate the quality of education in the community.

Again, choice is a good thing, and so is a little healthy competition. Especially when it comes to public education.

Nancy Wagner

Skyline Boulevard, Woodside


Posted by Diana, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Nov 17, 2008 at 1:30 pm

Considering how poorly some kids do in big schools -- and I've known many in that category -- I too am confused by the district's opposition to these charter schools. Money being diverted from the comprehensive schools program seems to be the biggest gripe, and that's a legitimate concern, although it seems that the scale of the problem is greatly exaggerated by the district.

Am I remembering correctly that a few years ago there was some discussion of breaking the larger high schools down into smaller schools on the same campuses? Did that idea go anywhere? It seems to me that the district needs to put its energy and resources into coming up with creative, effective alternatives to its own one-size-fits-all program so that kids can remain in the comprehensive schools while thriving in environments they're better suited to. What's the district doing to come up with alternatives?

Posted by follow the money, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 18, 2008 at 9:31 am

The opposition to charter schools is very understandable. Even though the idea of a more personal educational experience for our children is very appealing, the fact is that charter schools take away from other schools a disproportionate amount of money and deprive the regular schools some of the scarce funding available these days.
If charter schools cost the same per student as other schools, there probably would not be opposition. The sad fact is that the total cost of educating students goes up, and the amount available to non-charter schools goes down.

Posted by facts, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 18, 2008 at 6:56 pm

The Everest Charter (like the Summit Charter) will get significantly LESS funding per student than Sequoia spends per student.

Posted by follow the money, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 19, 2008 at 2:10 pm

Facts: you make my point. Thank you. By creating another school with its own infrastructure, facilities, staffing - the overall costs in the district go up, and the total funding goes down.

Posted by Hector Flamenco, a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Nov 23, 2008 at 9:30 am

Approval to Everest Charter school is a must since all the against the new charter school are on a self serving agenda.

The Sequoia school district is against the new charter based on a selfish reason: Less funding for their school, which by the wait is incorrect, they will benefit since they will get more funding that the charter school will be allocated.

A new charter is not about them (administrator, teachers or their union), a new charter is about choices for the KIDS. More choices for the students. Not all students perform well in a large school setting.

A new charter schools open doors for 400 more kids to be prepare to attend college.

By the way, a charter to prepare kids for college is NOT a negative thing! The Sequoia school district representative and teachers attacked the new charter since it will only accept kids that want to be on a college bound tracks. H o w is this a negative?

Hector Flamenco
Portola Valley, CA

Posted by follow the money, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 24, 2008 at 7:35 am

The issue is about money, and taking care of ALL the kids. It is very sad that we even have to discuss ugly choices like this, but selfish people in the state are not willing to pay what it takes to provide and excellent education for all children. Until that happens, forget about charter schools. They take away money from the rest of the kids. It just isn't right to help a few and hurt many more.