We may do it differently in our state. It seems in our district the high schools partner with the community colleges and when the kids are done with the classes in high school/community college they are ready to take the state cosmetology exam or whatever. There are 58 community colleges across the state. I don't know if the vocational charter partners with the community colleges, too, but I wouldn't be surprised.
As to why the charter school would want to put their own spin on things, they say, "Instruction will be guided by the principles of the self-paced learning model. Encouraging students to work at their own pace to accomplish academic goals will increase time for one on one assistance, opportunities for cooperative learning, and authentic assessment, while reducing competitiveness, minimizing social pressures, and limiting stress within the classroom."
It sounds to me like they are looking to provide an environment for vocational education that the traditional public school is not providing in a smaller setting.
Abby, Good point that the bus routes don't serve everyone. There is a stop right in front of the charter school, though, on the CW line and it runs about every 30 minutes from 7-7 weekdays. If a child had a physical disability that prevented him or her from being able to walk the distance from their home to a bus stop there is the EZ Rider transit also. It might not be a perfect system, but it's pretty good.
The actual wording of the message from the local democratic party was this:
"Our party has had a long standing opposition to attacks on public education. We have passed resolutions stating our position that charter schools are an attempt to undermine the strength of public schools."
That seems pretty generalized across the board to me and surprised me. It doesn't say they're "bad"—that was my simplification, but I don't think the particular schools I've been talking about (the vocational charter, or the environmental/arts charter) are an "attempt to undermine the strength of public schools". That sounds almost nefarious (look out Dr Doofenshmirtz!). I think those schools are just trying to serve some kids who are not getting what they need out of traditional public schools and I am not at all convinced that those particular schools are doing anything (unintentionally or intentionally) to hurt the public schools in our area.
I can see how some charters could cause problems and ftr I'm not in favor of this NHA for-profit school proposed for our area, but I'm not convinced that all charter schools should be opposed across the board. Right now, I'd rather take it on a case by case basis. I'm not convinced that lifting the cap on the number of schools and fast-tracking was a good idea, either, though.