Panel explores myths and truths about charter schools

Charter school discussion held in Montgomery

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - On Monday, parents, business leaders, and community members came together to have a conversation about charter schools.

The panel discussion was organized by the Chamber of Commerce to explore the myths and truths about charter schools. It was a timely discussion with Montgomery’s first charter school set to open this fall. LEAD Academy is preparing to welcome students Aug. 19 for the 2019-2020 school year.

"Right now our city needs choices,” said Dr. Lori White, LEAD Academy board member.

White, a LEAD academy board member, along with four others with vested interests and information in education made up the panel discussing charter schools. The event drew a large crowd to the The Montgomery Chamber Business Resource Center. Joyce Hudson says with a granddaughter currently enrolled in Montgomery Public School she’s eager to learn about this option.

"She is going to the second grade. We want to make sure she does well starting with the basics and going through,” said resident Joyce Hudson.

As a retired educator she believes getting a better understanding of charter schools and how they work is key.

"My biggest question was about the curriculum. You know is it going to be differentiated,” said Hudson.

Thomas Raines with A+ Education Partnership, the facilitator for this event, says having conversations like this break down some misconceptions people may have.

“Charter schools are public schools, they are just independently run," said Raines. “Charter Schools are one more tool in the tool box to help improve education.”

For some, learning more has given them a fresh perspective to what this change could mean for the future.

"We should embrace it and take advantage of the opportunity,” said Samuel Whalum Jr.

“Education is a public good. The students will be the doctors, lawyers, mechanics, engineers, and teachers,” said Brandon Russell.

Dr. Lori White said during the panel discussion that LEAD Academy received 800 student applications and had to hold a lottery to fill the 360 spots they will have for the upcoming school year. Lead Academy will serve grade K through 5th the first year and will work to expand grades there after.

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