A popular topic in education these days is charter schools, but many people may not know much about what they are.
A group in Houghton is working to open a charter school as early as fall of 2014 and is currently raising $300,000 for building costs. These state-funded public schools are their own independent school district with their own governing bodies made up of parents and teachers.
Chris Anderson, principal organizer behind the Community Alliance for Progressive Education, or CAPE, said the schools still have to abide by state standards and education laws, but parents and students have more say in how those standards are learned. â??We ask parents, what do they want?â?? said Anderson. â??Whatâ??s their ideal learning environment? And we follow through with asking children, what do they want? How would they learn best?â?? Charter schools can also cap class size. The kindergarten through 12th grade charter school in the works in the Houghton area will have 8 classrooms, each with no more than 18 students, limiting the total student enrollment to 144. â??If youâ??re at 20 plus, 30 plus students, itâ??s very difficult to individualize learning, but we have the ability to cap,â?? Anderson explained. â??The teacher is able to pay attention to individuals, learn those children in more indepth ways, and they are able to work one-on-one a lot more with those children.â?? Kemmy Taylor, parent and supporter of CAPE, said she plans to send her two daughters to the charter school. â??What I feel would work better for our family is the smaller class sizes in order to individualize education a little bit more, encompassing a lot of different learning models, not just the cognitive, the academics, but also the psychosocial and emotional aspects of learning,â?? said Taylor. Taylorâ??s second grade daughter, Nadja, said she likes the idea of having more participation in the classroom. â??Iâ??m really excited to be able to teach other kids and have other older kids teach me,â?? she said. Anderson said itâ??s not a matter of disliking traditional public schooling, but rather itâ??s a matter of continuing the conversation on how to constantly be improving the education of children. â??So, itâ??s not really a 'better' option. Itâ??s just another option,â?? he said. â??Itâ??s a different option if they want that choice.â??