Howard County board again rejects Columbia parents' charter school plan

Members of panel question need for proposed K-5 facility


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April 29, 2005|By Hanah Cho | Hanah Cho,SUN STAFF

The Howard County school board rejected for the second time last night a charter school proposal from a group of Columbia parents.

Board of Education members expressed concerns over the proposed Columbia Public Charter School's curriculum, accountability and management before voting unanimously against its application. In particular, they pointed to a lack of structure in the school's focus on the "multiple intelligence" curriculum, which tailors instruction to an individual child's needs.

School board members also said they did not see clear evidence or data that the charter school would provide an alternative to county public schools.

"How is it going to be different from what we offer?" member Patricia S. Gordon asked.

Founders of the proposed school said they plan to appeal to the State Board of Education. "There is a need for this," said Aria Martin, a charter school founder. "They're choosing not to see it. They have an obligation to leave no child behind, and they just left some children behind."

A group of Columbia parents had planned to open the school in the Bryant Woods neighborhood and enroll 90 pupils in kindergarten through fifth grade. Besides its focus on children's varied learning styles, the school was to provide foreign language and character development.

The founders also objected to the review process, which they said did not allow them to address concerns before their application was reviewed by the school board. The board postponed its vote until yesterday to give the applicants time to respond to questions.

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