Think of the Children It Will Benefit!

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 15, 2011

Dear Editor,
    Re: "Not Everyone Keen on Charter IDEA," [News, Nov. 11]: Missing from the debate about turning over Eastside Memorial Vertical Team schools to IDEA Public Schools charters is the one thing we should be talking about – the children it will benefit.
    The Eastside schools in question are struggling and consistently receive unfavorable school accountability ratings. Despite the efforts of committed adults at those schools, these schools just aren't getting the job done for their students, who are predominantly low-income both African-American and Hispanic. IDEA schools in the Rio Grande Valley have shown success in serving low-income Hispanic students in particular.
    Communications and collaboration between the district, the community, and families is critical to any school's success. Charter schools are not an answer in and of themselves, nor are they better than traditional schools in all cases. However, IDEA is a strong charter network that engages parents and students alike. With its strong model and proven results, I believe a partnership between AISD and IDEA would help these students receive a better education. I applaud Superintendent Meria Carstarphen for taking bold steps and being innovative to improve student achievement and school performance. That alone is reason enough for me to support this effort.
    I am a parent of public school kids and the executive director of Stand for Children, an organization that is supportive of efforts like these to try something new in schools where the status quo just isn't working for kids – lo mismo, no sirve! Our kids can no longer be satisfied with incremental improvements to their education. I encourage you to speak up and get involved if you feel strongly about this issue.
Jerel Booker
Stand for Children
Texas executive director
   [Editor's note: Stand for Children is a national nonprofit advocacy operation, based out of Oregon and Massachusetts, with nine state affiliates. Before joining the organization, Booker was associate commissioner for Educator and Student Policy Initiatives for the Texas Education Agency.]
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