Save our charter school

LETTERS

January 20, 2008

I am the parent of a child who attends Chesapeake Science Point Public Charter School. She entered the school this year after having been placed into private school due to the deplorable conditions at Lindale Middle School and North County High School.

A charter school, per my understanding of the Maryland Charter School Act, is to establish an alternative means within the existing public schools to provide innovative learning opportunities and creative approaches to improve the education of the students. Chesapeake Point does just that. My child is taking algebra and Chinese. She is participating in science fairs and is excited about getting up to go to school.

Moreover, discipline at the school has never been a problem. She is not afraid of going to school. Chesapeake Point would seem to provide what the Maryland Charter School Act intended.

What I did not figure on was the Anne Arundel County Board of Education seemingly attempting to sabotage the very existence of such a school. I realize that this might seem like a bold accusation. But what, might I ask, are the reasons for all the sudden personnel changes less than a month before an important hearing on the school's probationary status?

The local newspapers continue to report that the test scores at the school are up. The principal, however, has been removed for an undisclosed personnel problem. Other teachers just happened to be removed. None of this, per the board and its spokesman, can be revealed because it is an internal matter.

If the board can put the Chesapeake Point Charter School on probation, it would sure be nice to have schools like Lindale Middle and North County High also on probation or threatened with closure.

I want to know why the Anne Arundel County Board of Education feels that it cannot have a charter school within its midst. Is it scared that it is a viable alternative that does not follow its carefully scripted curriculum, or is it more concerned that it will show the true extent of the underachieving schools in the area?

Good schools are vital to the well-being of any community. Anne Arundel County, with all the talk of the military base realignment, is poised for growth. The Linthicum, Brooklyn, Ferndale and Pumphrey communities will miss out on this if the existing public schools do not improve and the only alternative is closed.

Northern Anne Arundel County is my home, but I cannot stay in a community - even if I am related to its founders - if it fails to provide decent schools for my four children.

Robert E. Linthicum Linthicum Heights

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