by David Safier
In today's Star, there's a story about City High School students helping out the family of a recent graduate whose family has a combination of financial and health problems. They did some yard work and trash hauling at a mobile home the family is moving into, and they presented the family with a $2,000 check.
City High is a charter school with 28 seniors, all of whom worked on the project. Things like this happen through clubs at schools all the time, but the nice thing here is that it's not a small group of do-gooders getting together to help out. It's the entire class. A small charter school can make this happen far more easily than at a larger traditional school, which is one of the advantages charters, especially small ones, have. Community service can be incorporated into the school's curriculum seamlessly. I don't know anything about the school, so I don't know if the academics are good there, but I certainly like this.
I should note that a supporter of the school gave the students $2,000 to give away as they wished, so the seniors didn't raise the funds. I don't want to give them undeserved praise.
UPDATE: A comment from SonoranSam reinforces my feeling that good charter schools are a welcome addition to the public school scene:
My kid went to City HS. Great place with an excellent, highly motivated principal.
Community involvement is an essential part of the City HS experience.
I'd recommend the place highly to anyone with a teen-ager – especially a teen-ager who is a square peg being pounded into the rounded hole of traditional high schools.
I know I said I'd shut up about vouchers (and I know I'm going to kick myself for bringing this up again), but charter schools are one of the best arguments against the need to use public funds to send students to private schools. Charters are a kind of public/private hybrid which, when well regulated, combine government oversight with independence.