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I just read Laura Lang’s article on D.C.’s charter schools (“Learning the Hard Way,” 2/2), and I found her to be very unfair. Lang focused only on the negative things that go wrong with start-up charter schools. Why did she choose to start her article with a charter school that is not doing well instead of one that is doing very well?
I pulled my daughter from a D.C. public school, and it was the best thing I could have done for her early education. She now attends the Edison Friendship Public Charter School, which was mentioned in the article. This school has been in existence for only three years and is doing extremely well. It started with a half-done building and barely a principal’s office, but the principal and his entire staff were dedicated to the students and their parents. The principal promised the parents a world-class education for its students, and he has delivered. The teachers are well-trained, and they bust their behinds to make sure that the students learn. The parents are well-informed about what is going on, and parent participation is very high. How many D.C. public schools have a direct phone in each classroom so parents can call and check on their children throughout the day? How many D.C. public schools have a direct homework-help line for each grade level so parents can find out what their children’s homework is for that day? Can you find me one D.C. public school that gives each third-grader a personal computer for home use? It is mandatory that each student, starting with kindergarten, learn Spanish.
Dr. John C. Pannell and his staff accept nothing short of perfection from our students. Yes, I said “our students,” because the students belong not only to their parents but also to Pannell and his staff. That’s what it takes to make a school successful, and that’s what makes our school successful. Laura Lang, I just hope that the next time you decide to write an article, you also mention both sides of the story.