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COMMUNITY VOICE

Charter schools represent another valid option for parents to consider

Friday, November 30, 2012 - 12:01 am

Research suggests that neighborhood schools are valued highly by urban residents and represent an important part of neighborhood identity.

Thurgood Marshall Leadership Academy is a neighborhood school right here in our community building a new sense of pride, culture and identity. Thurgood Marshall Leadership Academy is a charter school located at 2310 Weisser Park Ave.that is an independent public school able to provide more innovation and flexibility than conventional public schools can.

The charter is held by the Fort Wayne Urban League, and we are sponsored by the Indiana Charter Board.

Our educational role is to simply offer parents an educational option. It is important to remember that charter schools educate a higher concentration of at-risk and disadvantaged students, which makes comparing charters to traditional public schools look bad in a simple comparison.

However, according to the Center for Education Reform (2012 National Center for Policy Analysis):

“Charter schools are smaller than conventional public schools and serve a disproportionate and increasing number of poor and minority students.

“However, test scores at charter schools are ‘rising sharply’ and out-gaining conventional schools.

“Charter school students are more likely to be proficient in reading and math than students in neighboring conventional schools, achieving the greatest gains among African-American, Hispanic and low-income students.

“Charter schools that have been open for years boast even higher achievement rates; a Harvard University study found charter schools that have operated for more than five years outpace conventional schools by as much as 15 percent.”

Thurgood Marshall Leadership Academy and the Fort Wayne Urban League want to build neighborhoods and a strong community today’s urban generation can identify with.

We have good teachers and a caring and dedicated administrative team. A charter school simply represents another educational option for parents to consider. One size does not fit all in life or in getting a good quality education.

Jonathan C. Ray is president of the Fort Wayne Urban League.