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Education Parenting

Why I Chose a Charter School

I’d like to think I’m the kind of parent who thinks ahead. In reality I’m the kind of parent who sort of thinks ahead when I have to, and mostly just waits until the last second. One area in which I made it a priority to really think ahead was education. Living in Idaho has so many positives in the good stuff column – but K-12 education isn’t one of them. Or at least it wasn’t. Education is a sore spot for a lot of us, and I get it – this is what is supposed to set your child up for success. I decided to start my kid at a charter – and in all transparency, I am a founding Board Member for said school – and I want to talk about why.

My Own Experiences.

I went to school here. Elementary, Junior High, and High School. Not once in that time did I have a teacher of color. Not once in that time did I see myself reflected in the curriculum beyond the slave trade and the civil rights movement. Not one time did I see the positives of my culture, or really any other culture presented to me at school. When I got to high school there was this program in conjunction with Trio and Boise State University that happened once a year. It’s aim, if I remember right, was to help minority students understand the college process, and see how cool it was, and what doors could open for you. My friends and I took it as a time to be ourselves, to see ourselves reflected in the college students, and to be just with each other. Because of these experiences, I spent a long time thinking about how I would make sure that my child knew how great it was to be Black, how amazing and diverse and resilient our history was, and how many different options there were for her future. So naturally I had my ears to the ground on what state I needed to go to for that to happen. Yeah you guys – I was gonna move.

A Side Note.

There is so much misinformation about charter schools in the world. A charter school is a public school. Similar to a public school, the funding is based on attendance and student enrollment. When students move to a charter – they aren’t ‘draining resources from their home school’ because guaranteed the home school was able to accept a student to take their place. There are TONS of kids (here at least) coming into the district or needing to change schools due to services etc. Also – you don’t pay extra for a charter. Teachers aren’t kidnapped and dragged to teach at a charter. They may or may not get paid more – that’s based on what school they are at. For example, we all know that the BSD pays better than other districts – so many factors none of which apply to charters necessarily. Charters are not just for rich kids. Or white kids. Charters – just like every other school is supposed to – adhere to state and federal academic standards. Rant over.

A light in the darkness.

There is nothing wrong with the schools here for the most part. They just aren’t reflective of how I imagined my kid experiencing schools. In a story that could be it’s own post, I met two wonderful people who dreamed of opening a school where all kids could thrive, where all kids could be exposed to identity development, and have all of their identities celebrated. In a time where the Treasure Valley is diversifying beyond what anyone expected – and joyfully so – this was like a little miracle sent just for us. Not only where they excited to show kids of color, and other kids too, all of the joys of learning but they were also set to do so through a STEM focused lens. What could be better than that?

Kindergarten.

So fast forward to this year – the second year the school is open and her first year there. We learn all of the necessary things like the parts of a book, how to be a kind friend, and the foundations of math. We also have computer science and movement three times a week. We are a part of a school culture that welcomes wonder, celebrates joyfully, encourages conversation, and incorporates community into all that we do. I’m very excited to see my little brown girl thrive in her educational pursuits, and have opportunities that I didn’t; and isn’t that what we all want?