Recently a group of parents applied to the Delta County School District 50J for charter status. This application was denied to the parents of the Blossom Valley Co-op, mainly for reasons that the board felt it would splinter the pool of children the public school has to draw from in these hard times and thus lose funds, and because we were "suspected" of operating as a school which is a misunderstanding.
I understand this reasoning though I do not agree with it.
Today the educational world is filled with achievement-oriented programs and the push for school success. Educators are now familiar with Race to the Top, No Child Left Behind, Common Core Standards, and PISA — the Program for International Student Assessment. Education is dominated by early academics, rigid curriculum, high-stakes testing, computers in the classroom and getting e-tablets into the hands of children as early as possible. Children are stressed and have no time to explore the world through experience and discovery. The teachers are pressured to pour irrelevant information into the minds of the children to make the school budget and therefore their salaries.
The Waldorf schools, however, allow the young children to play and live in the realm of childhood, honor the growth of children through their development throughout the grades, emphasize human face instruction and put off computers and tests until children are ready for them (i.e., when they have had time to really learn in depth). This is why Waldorf schools in America are flourishing. In the United States, there are about 44 Waldorf-inspired public schools, most of them K-8 charter schools located in the West. There are at this time four Waldorf charter schools in Colorado (one, Juniper Ridge, in Grand Junction), 150 independent schools in the United States, Canada and Mexico, and 1,000 Waldorf Schools in 60 countries. Many public schools are adopting principles and practices of the Waldorf approach.
Waldorf education has had a record of success for almost a century. Because of its holistic and integrated approach to learning, skills are built that are essential for a successful life and career. Graduates are known to be critical thinkers, have creative sensitivity, and the ability to synthesize divergent perspectives, and appreciate different points of view. Professors from a variety of colleges and universities have attested to Waldorf graduates' abilities to assimilate and integrate information rather than simply memorize isolated facts, and they enter into every walk of life as contributing, socially conscious citizens. This is because they have been taught, not to pass the test for funds, but to love learning and to carry that love into their daily lives. (By the way, they surpass the averages in the tests by middle school.)
If Delta County School Board is really interested and concerned for the future of our children, they would do well to continue a discussion in education, and embrace the opportunity to make Waldorf education a public choice in our county. Ladies and gentlemen, it would be a feather in your caps!