Tuesday, August 02, 2005

    High Tech High Charter Schools

    This month a new tech-heavy charter school, founded by Qualcomm executive Gary Jacobs (a Capitalist) and backed by the Gates Foundation (a Capitalist), will open in Redwood City, California. This is a high school with high goals of teaching about 200 students in a curriculum that is absent in public high schools.
    But the new school for roughly 200 high school students is just a start. The San Diego-based non-profit group behind High Tech High Bayshore is petitioning the state for clearance to be the first charter school group to spread its concept across California with no need for local approval.

    "There is just a huge demand for skilled employees," said Joe Feldman, executive director of the new High Tech High Bayshore, opening this August on a state-of-the-art campus in Redwood City. "There's a lot of pressure on industries and businesses because of that, especially here."
    There are some socialist parents and school-union-loving parents that don't like the idea of other parents having a choice for their children and think their local property taxes should go only to government controlled public schools. These people don't want mid and lower income families to have the choice for their children of something better than public school - same old story.
    At the heart of the debate for Lederer is whether the state should give blanket approval to schools that may conflict with the individual culture or educational philosophy of a community.
    Shalvey said that if parents disagree with the school's principles, they can keep their kids in regular public schools. But charter schools can provide more choice, especially to the low-income and minority students who live in areas with poorly performing schools. Only 26 percent of High Tech High's students are white and about 50 percent qualify for free or reduced price meals.

    "It's about social justice,'' he said. ``If you go to schools in Palo Alto, Saratoga or Hillsborough, you're set. But if you can't afford to live in those communities and you're in Oakland, Compton or Englewood, you don't get as much choice. We need the innovation to change that and charter schools are one option."
    If you are a parent with a child in public school and would want the very best for your child, wouldn't you like such an option for your child as well? Charter schools - helping to empower parents with choices other than public schools.

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