Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
Yes, choice is good-especially when it comes to the school your child attends. As Manteca Unified teacher for 14 years, I was fiercely loyal to my school and district. I opposed charter schools because I believed them to be inferior to our school system that had so many resources to work with.
I left my career to be an at home parent, and now that my child is school aged my view has changed. Charter schools offer a competing model alongside the public school. If they are good-they can make the public schools that they share the area with better because organizations tend to improve if they have competition.
Charters are public schools. They employ credentialed teachers, and work under the same state and federal guidelines as other public schools.
Students attend without cost to families. The difference is that charters have more school level control over how their students are taught. The principal and teachers are free to teach creatively, and to do what they agree is the right thing for their school. The result can be a school that is responsive, relevant, and caring. We have an opportunity to have a school like this come to Manteca. Because of the long waiting lists to get in – Great Valley Academy in Modesto needs a second campus. While the communities around us have multiple charter schools, Manteca does not. It is time that we in Manteca also have the benefit of choice.
These are some ways that GVA is a little different. Primary class sizes are in the low 20s. Students wear uniforms-freeing them from the tyranny of clothing labels. If a student does not yet grasp a concept, they don’t move on until they do, and if a student is moving quickly they can advance. PE, Spanish, Music, are all taught by specialists. When the school day is done there is no busy work homework that can prevent families from enjoying time together. They even offer an extended Kinder day so that Kinder kids and older siblings can be released from school at the same time. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a local school like this so you have a choice?
If yes, speak up whenever you can. As Martha Stewart says, “It’s a good thing.”
Manteca Unified educator (1992-2006)