Monday, June 06, 2005

Creativity in Chicago; Foolishness in Franklin

Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to visit the Namaste Charter School in Chicago. Namaste is a new venture, an independently-run public school serving kindergarteners and first graders in Chicago's Back of the Yards neighborhood. The students are a mix of Mexican-Americans and Eastern European -Americans.

What makes Namaste interesting is its innovative approach to the curriculum. The Namaste approach includes a strong emphasis on total wellness, including extensive physical education time as well as basic nutrition education. In addition, the school has a bilingual track that has the potential to break down many of the cultural barriers that have bedevilled the south side community.

Chicago gets it. By encouraging innovative ventures such as the Namaste School, Chicago officials are encouraging creativity, accountability, and parental participation in public education. When this happens, the community as a whole is strengthened.

Meanwhile, here in New Hampshire, we have to endure the idiocy of the Franklin School Board and its sleazy attempts to financially strangle the one public charter school in our state. It's increasingly clear that the Franklin officials are less concerned about supporting the aspirations of the children of their community than they are with perpetuationg a failed, stagnant educational-industrial complex. Sorry, guys, but whats good for the teacher's union and the school board isn't always what's best for the kids. Knock off the nonsense, do the right thing, and let the Franklin Career Academy stand or fall on its own merits.