Breaking through the stereotypes

Three years ago I left the realm of public schooling and dived into the completely different world of charter schools.

After taking one semester of classes at Lassen High School, I decided that public high school was not for me and transferred into Long Valley Charter School in Doyle. Over the last few years, charter schools have gotten a better reputation, but there many stereotypes still remain intact about charter schools and the students that attend them. 

My years at Long Valley Charter School gave me the skills and abilities to now be the newest staff writer here at the Times, I am very grateful for all of the things I was taught in the school that have allowed me to successfully be a journalist here.

In the two and a half years that I spent attending Long Valley, I learned many things about charter schools, mainly that whatever a student puts into their education is what they will get out of it. Through charter schooling I was not only able to complete an entire year of general education college classes at Lassen Community College for dual high school and college credit, but was also able to graduate from high school an entire year early.

Along with outstanding academic opportunities, being in charge of my own education prepared me for college work better than any public school could. There is no teacher to explain teach you everything you need to know, it is up to you to learn how you learn and how to get work done in a timely manner and correctly.

But there is also a down side to most charter schools. There are basic high school educational requirements in order to be accepted into a four-year university. The English and mathematics requirements are easy for any school to fulfill, but the science and art requirements cannot be completed at many schools. In order to be accepted into a four-year university straight out of high school a student has to have had at least one biological science with a lab, and many charter schools, Long Valley included, do not offer lab science classes.

This inability to complete basic requirements, prevents charter school graduates from going straight to a university, they have to go to a junior college first. This problem, did not affect me, as I was already planning to go to Lassen Community College in order to fulfill needed prerequisites for my degree. But this problem adversely affects many charter school graduates every year.

However, the benefits that these schools provide can easily outweigh the problems. The extracurricular activities offered along with the individual growth that students experience will follow you for a lifetime. Long Valley Charter School introduced me to the world of ballet as an extracurricular activity, they paid for me to have lessons and I received school credit for it, while at the same time I was doing something I loved and excel at.

Charter schools have come a long way since their establishment in 1992, and allow an alternative learning environment that benefits students of all ages and their families. As improvement continues, hopefully the big issues that are there today will be corrected so that every student who wishes to go straight to a four-year university after graduating from a charter school will be able to.