Letter: Why aren't charters serving as innovators?

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Why aren't charters serving as innovators?

To the editor:

After reading Barry Grauman's finely crafted Oct. 17 letter concerning the long-term impact of charter schools on our Massachusetts public school systems, I was driven to demonstrate that his data, which I believe to be fundamentally accurate, can be interpreted in a slightly different manner.

First of all, we are really talking about the potential movement to charter schools of about 5,000 new students, a miniscule amount of the almost 1 million students in Massachusetts public schools. Secondly, if given enlightened teachers, reduced bureaucracy and novel approaches, this small number of students can indeed aid in the development of educational breakthroughs in a highly leveraged fashion. A real issue is how and when these breakthroughs can be introduced to the local school systems.

This introductory process whether done at the state level or locally requires commitment, time and energy from those involved. Thus, if no positive results have yet been seen, it may be that a given approach requires more years of demonstrable success, needs significant adaptation to work properly in a given environment or this approach does not have the support of the school administration or faculty.

Before we conclude, as Mr. Grauman did, that there is no positive role for charter schools in our local school systems we should determine why the potential benefits are not filtering down to our local school(s).

Richard Roussin, Hinsdale


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