The recent 5-2 decision of the Fresno Unified School District board to reject the Kepler Charter School renewal petition (May 11) is a decision in search of a justification. The reasons seem extremely thin.
One of the primary reasons was the school’s low academic scores compared with other FUSD schools. I find that comical since only 24 percent of FUSD students meet or exceeded math standards, while Kepler’s scores were only 6 points lower!
They also compared Kepler’s scores with those of the north Fresno school, Forkner, because “demographics” were similar. Just because the racial percentages are similar means nothing. Comparing an upper-class school like Forkner to a downtown school like Kepler is ridiculous.
This decision is also problematic for at least two reasons: First, the whole charter school movement is based on the need to provide an alternative program to students. Second, the city of Fresno has been trying to develop its downtown. Kepler has been a huge step forward in this process.
Finally, did anyone on the school board survey the students at Kepler to find out how much they appreciated their school? I would think this would be an especially important consideration, if one’s mind wasn’t already made up.
Rodney J. Nidever, Fresno