I agree with Julie Mutmansky ("We Should Use Charter Schools' Successful Ideas for the Benefit of All," April 22 letters) that "providing all children with a high-quality education should be a high priority." That's why I support charter schools and other choices. The key is results, not the method of organization.
Since the charter law in our state passed in 1997, the number of charters has grown to nearly 150. According to the Pennsylvania Coalition of Charter Schools, more than 26,000 children are on waiting lists. Rather than a few people "sidestepping the system," as she says, parents are "voting with their feet" and going to charter schools when their children need help and are not getting it.
Both parties embrace charter schools, in part because voters say they want choices for their children. And experts in child development and cognition insist that education methods be tailored to individual student needs. Yet we have trouble accepting choices because we are stuck on whether schools are organized the old way or not.
Ms. Mutmansky says, "It's time for the system to move forward as a united front." Taxpayers are the "system," but their simple request that bad teachers be fired has been ignored for years. The data show that good (or bad) instruction has cumulative effects on student success. We do not tolerate spotty performance in our cars, videos or church and corporate structures - why should we in our schools?
While parents have the primary role in helping their students succeed, as taxpayers we should remain open to all ways to help all children learn.
LINDA TANZINI AMBROSO
Upper St. Clair
The writer was coordinator of the Accountability Initiative of the former Charter Schools Project at Duquesne University.