Marin IJ Readers’ Forum from 12/28/18

Charter schools offer
Marin an alternative

In the IJ editorial of Dec. 20 on charter schools you write, “There are differences between charter schools formed in poorly performing districts and those created in districts that have stronger academic records.”

Since Marin has high-performing schools, the implication is that charter schools are not needed here.

But I keep trying to find someone who is either aware or can explain the inconvenient truth that only 29.4 percent of Marin economically disadvantaged students perform at grade level on state Common Core tests, whereas statewide economically disadvantaged students score at 32 percent. Last year, Marin had the second-highest achievement gap in the country.

In other words, poor kids in Marin get a worse education than their statewide peers. This is the second year in a row that this has been true.

Thirty percent of Marin K-12 public school students are economically disadvantaged, and they deserve to have public school alternatives in liberal Marin.

In Marin, 2 percent of kids go to charter schools compared to about 8 percent statewide because of the fierce Marin resistance noted in the editorial. Eighteen percent of K-12 students go to private schools here. Poor kids don’t have choices in our liberal county.

At Ross Valley Charter in Fairfax, 8 percent of its in-district students are English language learners compared to 2 percent for district schools; and 19 percent receive free and reduced-price lunch compared to 9 percent for district schools.

These kids’ parents are voting with their feet. Charter school opponents want to deny them this option.

— Conn Hickey, San Anselmo