Today’s Vacancy Committee meeting

Colorado State Representative Karen Middleton announced that she was pulling out of her re-election bid to represent Arapahoe County’s House District 42. Three nominees were in the running for her seat and today a 35-member vacancy committee selected a candidate to take Middleton’s slot on the fall ballot.

The three candidates were Sean Bradley, Carlos Estrada, and Rhonda Fields. Rhonda Fields won the nomination by more than a fifty percent vote.

After a 6 minute introduction by each candidate, comments and questions were raised by vacancy committee members so they could get a better feel for how the candidates stood on different issues; many of the comments and questions focused around the issue of education.

One question and one comment stuck in my mind:

How would supporting charter schools affect taking money away from the traditional public schools?

Charter schools have not been proven to work better than traditional public schools.

My heart was heavy after leaving this meeting.

The underlying ambiance in this room was that traditional public schools are the be-all and end-all to education.

My heart was very heavy after leaving this meeting.

I am a huge supporter of public school options which include charter schools.

“Charter schools are nonsectarian public schools of choice that operate with freedom from many of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools.” This definition of charter schools comes from the book Charter Schools: The Ultimate Handbook for Parents by my friend, Karin Piper. Charter schools are public schools and should be entitled to the same amount of government funding as traditional public schools, but charter schools are typically funded at a less PPR than traditional public schools, different states have different funding formulas. Charter schools do not take money away from traditional public schools because when a child leaves a school to go to another public school, that money follows him, and the same holds true for when a child leaves his public school to attend a charter school, the money still follows the child, because charter schools are public schools.

Charter schools offer many benefits, such as high academic standards, small class size, innovative approaches to learning, a safe environment, an opportunity for school districts to serve students with diverse needs, and the opportunity for parents to choose within the public education system and have a high level of parental involvement in their child’s school. The focus of charter schools is on the needs of the child and programs are intended to help children succeed; families have access to a quality education. Charter schools set high standards and they must meet those standards or their doors will be closed.

For me it’s not a question of which public school works better, public charter schools or traditional public schools. It’s the reality that we need to have options. Parents need to be able to choose which school setting will best meet the needs of their child. Not every student benefits from a cookie-cutter, assembly line education, so we need to offer alternatives within the public education system , we need to offer choice. We need to ensure that our children, our future, receive the best possible education.

By the way, Sean, I loved your button.  I too believe that ‘Together We Can’
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  1. I'm so sorry your heart was so heavy after this meeting, but your passion is incredible lady…
    My recent post The Hangover

  2. Hi Lori, I'm stopping by from The Blog Frog and showing my support by following your blog. Hope that you can visit me too.

  3. I hope they don't fool around with a system that is clearly working exceptionally well. Sorry it's weighing you down!

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