A Cutting-Edge Charter School, in Kansas City
An article in the New York Times describes private preschools that offer language immersion programs for kids:
Ms. Kinsale says that what she wanted for Sidney was a high-quality, nurturing, racially diverse school. At the two language schools, she has come to appreciate the mix of Asian, white, black and Hispanic children. “People who start their children on a language so young understand it’s a multicultural world and they want their children to be part of it,” she says.
I think teaching foreign languages to young children is a great idea. And there’s a charter school in Kansas City that’s doing exactly that. While many public schools postpone languages until sixth or seventh grade, Academie Lafayette starts French classes in kindergarten. Here‘s a profile of the school from a few years ago. And from the more recent statistics on DESE’s website, you can see that 48 percent of the students are minorities, and 31 percent qualify for free or reduced lunch. This is another great example of how charter schools give minority students access to educational choices.
In addition to being able to use unique curricula and educational approaches, charter schools have another advantage over traditional public schools: They are open to all students in the district, not just those who live nearby. When students from all neighborhoods and economic backgrounds can attend the same school, they encounter real diversity.
The New York Times article illustrates the challenges diversity-seeking parents face when they look for public schools for their kids:
Until two years ago, they lived in Orange, N.J., a community that is three-quarters black. They were happy there, they say, with a nice house that they spent a lot of time renovating and a racially mixed group of neighbors. But when Stirling was 4, they began looking ahead to school and studied the state test results. At Orange High School, more than half the students did not pass the 2005/2006 state proficiency test in English, and three-quarters failed math. “I looked at the report and looked at my husband and said, ?Do you mind selling this house?'” says Ms. Kinsale.
They were determined to find the best school district for what they could afford. “Taxes and real estate were so high,” she says. They pored over test scores and real estate listings in suburbs that were a reasonable commute to Mr. Kinsale’s Newark office and found a three-bedroom home in Millburn.
Now the Kinsales are sending their daughter to the private preschool to experience diversity she’ll miss later when she goes to a traditional public school.