To: Santa Clara County School Board:, Leon Beauchman, Michael Chang, Joseph Di Salvo, Darcie Green, Julia Hover-Smoot, Grace Mah, Anna Song, Xavier De La Torre, County Superintendent, and Steve Betando, MHUSD Interim Superintendent
Support Morgan Hill Schools, Stop Navigator and Rocketship Charters
Support MHUSD neighborhood schools. We offer a Math & Music Academy and a Dual Immersion & Multi-Cultural Program in addition to our other comprehensive elementary, middle and high schools. We are planning for Technology and Science Academies in the 2014-15 school year. We serve ALL students regardless of race, socio-economic level and ability level.
DO NOT APPROVE Navigator or Rocketship Charter Petitions that offer educational programs that narrow the curriculum in Science, History, Art, World Languages and Music, provide fewer teachers for students, and serve large numbers of students in computer labs for a significant part of the day.
Why is this important?
The opening of Navigator and Rocketship Charters would negatively impact our STUDENTS and neighborhood schools as follows:
•The opening of a Rocketship Charter will immediately close one of our neighborhood schools. This would likely cause boundary changes. All other elementary sites will be forced to consolidate, resulting in massive student and teacher reassignments from their current neighborhood schools.
•Rocketship will use its associated construction company Launch Pad to build on a 1.6 acre site on Church and San Pedro (behind World Gas Station). Our MHUSD sites follow the minimum 10 acre guideline. Using non-profit bonds to build a high density school that will immediately cause one of our neighborhood schools to close and remain vacant is not a good plan for our neighborhoods.
•The opening of a Navigator Charter will cause two schools to share the same campus: a charter school and a current neighborhood school. The disparity of resources between the schools will negatively impact the neighborhood school students.
•Navigator and Rocketship primarily focus on English, Math, and obsolete California State Test Scores by narrowing or eliminating History, Science, Foreign Language, Music and Art.
•At Navigator and Rocketship, large groups of students spend 1.5 to 2 hours daily in front of computers supervised by tutor/aides rather than teachers.
•At Rocketship, an average school of 450 students have 10 teachers (1:45 ratio, 1 teacher for 45 students). This is not the ratio that we want in our schools. In Morgan Hill, our current ratio is 1:29. We prefer to reduce class sizes, not raise them.
•Due to the application process, Navigator and Rocketship will not serve all students or even a representative population of our district. They serve English Language Learners very close to proficiency. They require high parent participation. These charters also serve far fewer students with disabilities. If students are not successful, or the charter does not have appropriate programs, these students are returned to our neighborhood public schools.
•Our neighborhood schools will receive less funding and this would negatively impact every campus in our district including programs such as Jackson Academy of Math and Music, our Dual-Immersion Multicultural Education Program and planned technology and science academies for P.A. Walsh and San Martin-Gwinn Elementary Schools.
•75% of Rocketship teachers are Teach for America interns. These interns have only 5 weeks of teacher preparation. 99% of MHUSD teachers are required to have 1-3 years of post-graduate teacher education.
For more information:
Stop Rocketship Website
LA Times Article, The Charter School Mistake by Diane Ravitch
The Hype Behind Charter Schools
New Data Shows School Reformers are Getting it Wrong
David C. Berliner on Inequality, Poverty and the Widening Education Gap
PAC Money Floods Local School Board Races
I SUPPORT QUALITY PUBLIC EDUCATION at our neighborhood schools and urge the Santa Clara County School Board NOT TO APPROVE THESE CHARTER PETITIONS.