Letters to the Editor


Writing a letter to the editor of your local publication is a great way to raise awareness about your school and set the record straight. See some examples.

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Letters to the Editor

Generally, a "Letter to the Editor" responds to an article or editorial that has appeared in a publication. This is your chance to talk about the issue in your own words. Be careful to keep a lid on your emotions, as a well-written and focused letter will be more likely to be published. Be sure to check for word limits, as it varies from publication to publication, and is usually fairly short (often around 150 words). You can see a variety of letters to the editor from CCSA at the Responses to Media Coverage section on our website.

In addition, there are often opportunities to comment online immediately following an article on a publication's website. Find out more about when you should respond to negative stories online and how to do so effectively.

Letter to the Editor: In Favor of the Proposed Charter School"

(Published in the Dublin Patch)

I would like to start by saying that both sides of the charter high school issue need to be presented. So far, we've mostly heard from one side.

Not everyone in Dublin opposes the idea of a charter school, in fact there are those of us who welcome it!

Charter schools are a good thing. First of all, it provides a choice of education where not all students are shoved into one school, as has been the trend with our elementary schools. It is a way to ensure that bad teachers don't get tenure. Charter schools are governed by parents, who can elect to keep quality programs like music and fine arts, that are often cut by government funding.

Los Angeles Unified School District has charter magnet schools, for example, for gifted students, while DUSD has no money for the GATE program.

I personally do not buy Dr. Hanke's argument that having a charter school will drain the number of students attending Dublin High School. There are plenty of students to go around, as evidenced by the very recent article in the Valley Times newspaper of a few days ago, which projected increased enrollment at all elementary schools in Dublin. My own high school in the Los Angeles area became a charter high school in 2003. Since then, its API scores have risen 113 points! Check out LAUSD for comparison. Let Dublin High have a rival.

Linda Knapp, Dublin Unified School District parent

Charter schools not just for elite

Santa Cruz Sentinel, March 23, 2012

The Montessori charter school debate is full of misinformation and misguided fears about charter schools.

As a teacher at Ceiba College Prep, a charter school in Watsonville with 94 percent Latino and 83 percent low-income students, I am compelled to clarify misconceptions to ensure that our county's great charters aren't maligned during this debate.

The claim that charter schools "cream" the elite from districts is false. In California, charter schools serve a greater number of under-served youth than traditional public schools, and charters are improving student achievement among low-income students faster than regular public schools.

After teaching in traditional public schools, I have observed that the students come to our charter school with the same academic and social needs as peers in traditional schools. Because our charter school holds higher standards, longer school days etc., our students leave Ceiba with skills they need to succeed in college and confident about their future.

Christal Alderton, Watsonville

Response to "This Week's Topic: Echo Park's Newest School" on the Echo Park Patch Website in 2012

I'm Laura Montenegro, Director of Bilingual Education at Camino Nuevo Burlington Site. I want to respond specifically regarding the education of "all" students within a bilingual program.

Although we serve predominately Latino students at the Burlington school site, we value students from all racial, cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Each year, non-Spanish speaking families choose our school because they value the opportunity for their children to become bilingual and bi-literate. We offer support for English speaking students and families. We have seen that all children have the capacity to achieve in two languages.

Nino, an African-American third-grader, is an outgoing, gregarious and charming boy. He is performing well in both languages; his father is so proud because outside of school Nino will speak Spanish and help translate. When I asked Nino about learning in two languages he said, "At first, I was a little afraid. But my first friend, Rene said, 'Hola' and he taught me Spanish and I taught him English. The teachers helped me when I got stuck and helped me think of the word in English and connect it to what I knew in Spanish." Learning Spanish has not detracted from his abilities in English but rather fortified his first language. It has made him a meta-cognitive and meta-linguistic child. Camino Nuevo is not just about educating Latino students, but about providing an excellent education to each and every student we serve.

Laura Montenegro

Letter: Schooling flexibility fits students best

San Lorenzo Valley Press-Banner, Apr 04, 2013

I just returned from the California Charter School Conference and heard many stories from teachers in other school districts about the lack of support for their local charter. We are incredibly fortunate in San Lorenzo Valley to be a part of a community where all of our kids are served and supported in an educational setting that works for them. Our family loved Boulder Creek Elementary and we love the high school. But traditional choices are not the best choice for every kid.

My children chose to attend the Nature Academy Charter for grades six to eight, which is located on the campus of the middle school. To its credit, SLV Middle School welcomes all district middle-school kids, charter or not, for school events and sports programs. Our family appreciates the rigor of the Nature Academy and the many opportunities for out-of-the-classroom experiences, such as the trip this year to Catalina Marine Science Camp, stream studies in Fall Creek, working in the on-campus garden and team-building trips to ropes courses and rock climbing. The kids at the seventh- and eighth-grade level are in a cohort of 50 kids who take all of their classes together in different configurations with two main teachers and a math teacher (in sixth grade, all students are in one class together).

The kids become a tight-knit community and through class meetings learn to problem-solve any social issues that might arise. While such a program might not be for everyone, the program has been the perfect fit for our kids. (If interested, applications are being taken for the Nature Academy until April 19.) The beauty of having charter school options such as the Nature Academy and home schooling programs within the district is that we can offer alternative learning situations that meet the needs of more than 300 students and families without those students leaving the school district to attend private schools.

Congratulations to our school district and community on being open-minded and offering flexibility and choice to students and families, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.

Erin Edwards
Boulder Creek

Charter School Lotteries

San Diego Union-Tribune

The Union Tribune has published several opinion pieces recently in regards to the "Waiting for Superman" documentary, which highlights the use of lotteries by charters where enrollment is oversubscribed. In none of these UT pieces did the author correctly inform readers that charter schools must use lotteries mandated by both federal and state law when the number of applicants for their school exceeds the seats available.

Most lotteries do not include a public event; families are notified individually and confidentially of the outcome once a lottery is conducted. The result, however, may still be the same--incredible joy or sorrow felt by families at their child's educational options and future.

Charters across California have extensive waiting lists because families are looking for alternative high-quality public education options for their children, and are turning increasingly to charters.

The charter community would prefer to serve all the students who apply, including those on their waiting lists, rather than to enroll only those who are selected in the lottery. But inequities in funding and access to facilities often restrict how quickly a charter school can grow, and how many are able open to serve the students in a community.

Rather than focusing on emotional lotteries, we hope the public will concentrate on what needs to be done to ensure all students are able to access high-quality educational opportunities.

Lisa Berlanga
Regional Director
California Charter Schools Association

Past CCSA Letter to the Editor

Printed in the L.A. Times

In response to November 30, 2009 editorial "Charter schools hold promise, but they're no magic bullet."

Charter schools are only part of the solution to a dysfunctional education system, and by no means a magic bullet. It is unfair to compare 10+ years of charter history and progress to the more than 150+ years of traditional public schools in California.

When parents and students make the decision to seek a better education at a public charter school--which comes at no cost to them--they do so because they are dissatisfied with the status quo.

Do the districts lose per-pupil funding in this transfer? Yes. But why should the state continue to pay schools for a student that is no longer in the traditional system? There's also a discrepancy, since many charters are forced to spend money to lease sites, since the district continues to deny them access to appropriate facilities, which they are entitled to under Prop 39. Traditional schools do not have to pay for this.

Even so, a majority of charter schools outperform traditional schools academically.

What California charter schools offer is an alternative to the monopoly that is leaving so many behind. Our goal is to stimulate change and to expand and serve the widest student population possible.

Jed Wallace
President and CEO
California Charter Schools Association

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