LETTER TO THE EDITOR
JUNE 17, 2014
On June 16th the Missouri State Board of Education voted to non-accredit the new Normandy Schools Collaborative (NSC). The Missouri Charter Public School Association (MCPSA) expressed concern however we do recognize the decision by the State Board to establish the NSC and subsequent decisions were monumental and pioneering in spirit. It was clear that something needed to be done and changes were necessary. For this we applaud the Commissioner and State Board.
Concerns held by MCPSA were in regards to changes (albeit we hope temporary) limiting public education choice options for the families in Normandy. Perhaps these were temporary changes as other decisions had to come first. Not wishing to lose sight of ‘the forest for the trees’ we offer our assistance in considering and employing strategies to ensure local public school choice is still available to families. With a non-accreditation status could the new Normandy Schools Collaborative Board sponsor, or partner with a current sponsor, establishing a quality charter public school in Normandy? Could an existing accredited school district choose to sponsor, or partner with a current sponsor, establishing a charter public school in Normandy? Are there options for quality public choice today that haven’t been realized?
Public charter schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Because they are public schools they are open to all children, do not charge tuition, and do not have special entrance requirements. The majority of charter public schools offers a longer school day, longer school year, and smaller class sizes. Public charter schools have become an increasingly significant part of the public school landscape, providing quality education options for parents and students in hundreds of communities with 1 in 20 students nationally now attending a public charter school.
As previously stated, we believe the State Board was on the right track creating a new entity of leadership, the Normandy Schools Collaborative. After more than 15 years of poor performance this was a noteworthy decision providing such amazing potential for students in Normandy. Moving forward it is our hope that this monumental change is the first step in our all working together to ensure families in Normandy and throughout the State of Missouri can choose between several public options and the school that best meets the needs of their children.
Douglas P. Thaman
Missouri Charter Public School Association