Well, I don't have a huge problem with the current schools, although they are a little too structured for my personal taste, but I know I'm probably on the far end of the spectrum on that. Our schools are above and beyond fine for what they are, but I'd like dd1 to be in this small environmental/arts charter where she can go out to the river nearby and count river critters and can become involved in their community art sale and can do canoeing for PE. I don't see how I can reform the current public school to reduce enrollment to that degree (25 kids per grade in this charter school) or offer the kinds of things that this school has the flexibility to offer. It's not that I have an issue with what the current public schools in our area offer, but just that I would like the option to explore some avenues of education that are a little out of the mainstream. I don't know that dd2 will go there also. She may be perfectly happy with our districted middle school when the time comes.
It seems to me if you could have an awesome public school system where there were many academic programs for gifted kids and where kids with special needs got their needs met and plenty of programs for the kids in between, then I'm not sure I see the issue with having a few out-of-the-mainstream public charter schools that offer something different. I understand it's not always the way it ends up, but it seems like that would be the ideal.
Beanma, I just wanted to say even though I've been a bit...er...opinionated here about opposing charter schools , I totally get that you want the best for your daughter and want something a little different. In addition to my son with special needs, I have an artistic outdoorsy daughter with no special needs who's in public school here, and although we're very happy with things overall and have no plans of leaving, we've faced some challenges with the structure you mentioned. So basically, I feel ya.
That said, the lift of the cap on charter schools worries be because I think we now run the risk of having more than "a few out-of-the-mainstream public charter schools that offer something different." Much of the push for removing the cap was from conservatives who weren't really thinking about how this would create a few liberal crunchy alternative schools with the goal of being inclusive and multi-cultural if you know what I mean. I think there's a real risk of creating two systems here. In an ideal world though, I think your plan sounds wonderful, and I think my daughter would love that charter you mentioned.
Edited by AbbyGrant - 2/3/12 at 7:54am