Letters to the Editor, February 20, 2019

Charter schools are public schools, by law

I am writing to you in response to Daniel Mintz’s Feb. 16 article “School Choice Week Gets Poor Grade.” The article in the Union brought to light some misunderstandings of the differences between private schools and charter public schools that need clarification. 

Charter schools are not private schools. California law makes clear that a charter school is a public school funded by local, state and federal funding. Like any public school, they are not affiliated with any religion, they do not discriminate, and if there are size restrictions, enrollment is based on a random lottery system.

Charter schools share the same enrollment obligations as all public schools. In the article was the following statement: “Private charter schools are seen as being excluded from special education and other enrollment obligations, leaving them entirely to public schools.” Charter schools serve the needs of all students, including those with special needs, and may not discriminate for any reason.

The quote by retired teacher John Webb, “…charter schools are a way for private schools to siphon off taxpayer funds and spend it in an unaccountable manner,” is simply not true. 

Charter schools are not private schools. California law makes clear that a charter school is a public school funded by local, state and federal funding. Like any public school, they are not affiliated with any religion, they do not discriminate, and if there are size restrictions, enrollment is based on a random lottery system.

Again, as public schools charter schools must follow the same laws that govern districts with respect to finances. Charter school finances are reviewed by a board of directors, a district authorizer, the county office of education, an independent auditor, and the state department of education, much in the same way as are school districts.  Regarding “traffic and other neighborhood impacts...” charter schools face the same challenges that virtually all schools throughout Humboldt County face. 

We are proud to be a part of the Arcata School District, and to be just one of many excellent public school options in Humboldt County.  As educators, our goal is to serve the needs of the students and families in our community, and after more than 20 years, charter schools are an accepted part of public education. 

 I have included an excerpt from the California Charter Schools Act for your information. The Charter Schools Act of 1992 states:

It is the intent of the Legislature... to provide opportunities for teachers, parents, pupils, and community members to establish and maintain schools that operate independently from the existing school district structure, as a method to accomplish all of the following:

(a) Improve pupil learning.

(b) Increase learning opportunities for all pupils, with special emphasis on expanded learning experiences for pupils who are identified as academically low achieving.

(c) Encourage the use of different and innovative teaching methods.

(d) Create new professional opportunities for teachers, including the opportunity to be responsible for the learning program at the school site.

(e) Provide parents and pupils with expanded choices in the types of educational opportunities that are available within the public schoolsystem.

(f) Hold the schools established under this part accountable for meeting measurable pupil outcomes, and provide the schools with a method to change from rule-based to performance-based accountability systems.

(g) Provide vigorous competition within the public school system to stimulate continual improvements in all public schools.  Ed. Code §47601(a)-(g).

Thank you, 

Rea Erickson, principal/director and
The Union Street Charter Teachers
Arcata

Support paper ballots

Veterans For Peace Chapter 56 (Humboldt County, Calif.) is unanimous in our decision to call upon VFP National to go on record and to make clear our position with respect to elections in the United States on all local, state and nationwide elections.  

We all believe that all forms of electronic voting and vote counting is to invite tampering and a variety of frauds.  

We all believe that the majority are struggling over income and money matters.  We are the 99 percent, yet we all too often find the fraction of 1 percent is able to gain a majority position in elections.  By no sense is this ongoing outrage acceptable to our membership or to citizens of this country in general.  

We ask that this position be made a matter of public record.

Dave Goggin
VFP Chapter 56
Arcata

Speckled speculation

February dawn
speckles on the grass and pond
plum blossoms or snow?

Cynthia Kuttner
Arcata

 

 







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