Some parents push for 2 new SJ charter schools

August 19, 2010 5:59:30 PM PDT
A coalition of parents in San Jose wants to open two new charter high schools and they are taking their case to the school board on Thursday night. However, other parents say the city doesn't need any more high schools.

Newsweek Magazine ranked Summit Preparatory Charter School in Redwood City number 76 in the entire nation. That caught the attention of a coalition of parents down South in San Jose.

"Friends, parents that we know, just talking about what is down the road, the future for our children," says Brad Geldert, a parent from the Community Association Support Summit.

In a matter of months, parents were asking Summit public schools to open a charter school in San Jose. They would use the same model, no more than 400 students and a merit-based pay system for teachers where performance is rewarded.

"Teachers earn a base salary that is competitive, but then they are all eligible for an annual bonus of 10 percent of that base salary and that 10 percent is really tied to the performance of their students," says Diane Tavenner, the CEO of Summit Public Schools.

While the Obama administration supports a merit pay system, the California Teachers Association does not.

"Do we really want to tell teachers you only should teach in the top schools because those kids will perform the highest and you'll get paid more? We don't want that to happen. We want teachers to work with kids no matter what their needs are," says Marisa Hanson from the California Teachers Association.

The Eastside Union High School District already has 18 high schools -- most with a large number of students.

Because the Summit schools are small, parents like Geldert will ask the school board to approve not one, but two Summit public schools.

"I just like the possibility of more choices for parents. Some students are going to thrive in a small school, some students like the big school. It's really about bringing more choices to San Jose," says Geldert.

The board has supported charter schools in the past and there currently are four in the district. On Sept. 16 the school board will vote if they want two more.


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