The merits of Delaware charter school education

    Earlier this month I had the pleasure of speaking at a rally for Delaware’s charter schools in Dover. I have two daughters in Delaware charter schools, and I feel very strongly about the merits of charter school education and how it can change the trajectory of a child’s life, as I’ve seen with my own family.

    The following is a work of opinion submitted by the author.

    Earlier this month I had the pleasure of speaking at a rally for Delaware’s charter schools in Dover. I have two daughters in Delaware charter schools, and I feel very strongly about the merits of charter school education and how it can change the trajectory of a child’s life, as I’ve seen with my own family.

    For our family, when it came to choosing schools for our children, there just wasn’t any other way to go.  Charter schools are setting the bar in education for many reasons. They allow and encourage autonomy and they exercise accountability. The quality of the education they provide is excellent, as is their oversight on the quality of their staff. They don’t buy into the idea of “one size fitting all.” They know and understand how students have unique needs and abilities.

    My youngest daughter, for example, is advanced in math. While many schools lack the ability to foster a student like this because they are focused on students who are struggling, at the Odyssey Charter School my daughter’s gift is recognized and her growth is encouraged. Rather than having the entire class work through the curriculum at once, the school groups students together who are on the same level, so my daughter and others like her can move forward when they are ready to, rather than having to wait.

    Charter schools instill a love of learning in their students from the very beginning, which translates to future success in school. All of the kids love to learn, and so there is a sense of community both within the schools themselves and also among the parents, all of whom share the same values when it comes to giving our children the best education possible.

    I often tell my kids that they’re in “rare air,” and they understand what I mean. They know that they are being given the opportunity of lifetime, and they appreciate that. They don’t complain about the homework or other commitments—they are glad to fulfill goals, and to give what is asked of them.

    This year I helped start a rowing club at the Charter School of Wilmington. We had 33 kids sign up and all of them—with the exception of four graduating seniors—will be returning for next year’s season. That’s a pretty good retention rate! Rowing is hard. Like many sports, it requires discipline, teamwork and commitment. The kids have to show up to early morning practices and sometimes row in freezing temperatures. But they love to do it, because they enjoy the challenge.

    Sometime after we began the club in March, we were invited to the Naval Academy to watch their rowing team practice. One of the women on the team was a graduate of the Delaware Military Academy and she spoke to the kids about her experience both at DMA and rowing for the Navy. The kids looked at this young woman and realized that they too, could achieve what she had, if they put their minds to it. They saw a direct link from their charter school education to success. My daughter Leah who rows on the Charter School of Wilmington team, was so happy about the experience and about the rowing club in general that she thanked me for helping to make it happen.

    I think we are on the forefront of education here in Delaware. It’s truly remarkable to think about what our tiny little state has accomplished. It’s a very exciting time to be a student at one of Delaware’s charter schools. We may be small, representing only 8% of the state’s student enrollment, but we are growing and others are eager to get on board.

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