Letters to the Editor

Academy shows charter school way

Don’t let anyone tell you differently: Federal Way families support charter schools in a big way.

Since 1999, Federal Way Public Academy, has been one of the district’s huge success stories. Though the academy is promoted as a “school of choice” program, it was originally designed in 1998 as a charter school alternative, for I was at every School Board meeting back then, promoting an elementary school of choice proposal at the same time. Due to the program’s popularity, the academy is expanding to sixth and 10th grades. Most notably, each year, the academy’s waiting list grows by leaps and bounds, and there’s no other school in the district which can say the same.

Now, its 2004 and Federal Way parents, as well as families across the state, have another opportunity to bring charter schools to a larger number of students. The Legislature addressed the most recent charter school amendment, which supports creating schools similar to the academy.

As a former principal of Nautilus Elementary School, a gifted-education teacher at six Federal Way elementary schools and a teacher at Rainier View Elementary, I put my professional reputation on the line with this legislation. It’s time for Washington to join the 21st century, as well as 39 other states with charter school provisions. Most importantly, its time for fear of the unknown to take a backseat to educational innovation, for too many students in today’s public schools face academic failure and high school absenteeism under status quo conditions.

Charter schools will not be a panecea and guarantee success. They will open a door toward creativity, innovation and, hopefully, new thinking. It’s time for more students across the state to experience something different like Public Academy.

Larry Davis

Seattle

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