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Why I Chose a Charter School

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Hello, I’m Briana McManus.

I am in the eleventh grade at the Cesar Chavez Public Charter School – Parkside Campus and interning at CER for three weeks as a part of my fellowship to obtain job experience and to prepare me for life after high school.

While reviewing different articles, statistics, and facts at my internship, I wondered what influences help parents decide what school is right for their child? I came up with two factors parents consider to see if it is a good school for their child. Does an extra-curricular activity influence their decision? Or is the school widely known in the area or recognized worldwide?

In reviewing articles, the idea of extra-curricular activities made me think if this is why parents choose a certain school for their child. Are parents sending their children to schools because they will receive scholarships in sports? Is this because they are focused on creating the next big sports icon instead of the next person to win the Nobel peace prize? Or is this school mentioned in mainstream media? Is it well-talked about or well-known in their community? Are the good or bad stories in the media influencing a parent’s decision?

I know some people want to know why I chose a charter school and I want to say it is not because of sports, or being recognized nationally. My family and I chose this school because of the mission and vision that they wanted to achieve. In the process of researching schools, we found that Cesar Chavez had a 100 percent college acceptance rate, a 90.2 percent graduation rate, and was going to give me the opportunity to work with public policy issues, to gain job experience through my Fellowship, and take a year long thesis class to prep me for writing essays in college. This made my decision very easy. If I asked my mother today why Cesar Chavez was her choice for me she would say, “It was a good school for education”.

The demographics of the school also made my choice an easy decision. I wanted to attend a school where I would be exposed to different races. In my research I found that 93.3 percent of students were African Americans, 6.4 percent were Hispanics, and 0.3 percent were Caucasian. Chavez was created to educate, empower, and prepare scholars to both succeed in college and serve as informed advocates for public policy issues. Cesar Chavez is known for changing students’ community, family, and life so my advice to you is to choose the school that wants to make a difference.

My experience being in a charter school rather than a public school is very different. In public school, I felt that I wasn’t learning what I should have been and was not doing what I was capable of because in public schools their main concern was not to make sure I went to college or guarantee me a successful career. In a public school what I was guaranteed was an easy pass out of school and a job, not a career but a job. Since enrolling in a charter school I can actually see the difference. Cesar Chavez Charter School will make sure that I am accepted into the college of my choice, that I will graduate with high SAT scores, that I will have a successful career, and that I can make a difference if I focus on what is important.

Sincerely, Briana McManus

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