Stockton Community Forum on Charter Schools

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April 13, 2012 On April 5, the Stockton Early College Academy (SECA) charter board hosted a community forum featuring prominent federal, state, and local charter school leaders. SECA is a dependent charter high school authorized by Stockton Unified School District. Their charter governing board hopes to achieve greater autonomy in order to protect the integrity of its educational program. The purpose of the forum was to inform the public about charter schools, in general, and to describe some of SECA's unique features.

Bill Evers, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education for Policy, spoke about the beginning of the charter schools movement and the spread of the charter laws nationwide. Mr. Evers has was a member of the Santa Clara County Board of Education and a former president of the board of directors for East Palo Alto Charter School.

Johnathan Williams is also a charter school leader, as the founder of The Accelerated School. He explained the difference between dependent and independent charter schools.

Ricky Gill, shared a personal story about how education can transform the lives of people living in the Central Valley - as the son of an immigrant farmer, education opened doors and lead him to become the youngest member ever appointed to the California State Board of Education.

Finally, Anna Bryson, Trustee for the Capistrano Unified Board, spoke about how parents can make a difference in public schools by speaking out a school board meetings and holding district leaders accountable for offering high quality public school options.

The evening concluded with a presentation about the unique extracurricular activities and civic partnerships that SECA has developed. They work with San Joaquin Delta Community College to provide access to college-level courses for SECA high school students. The school is also developing a partnership with educational leaders China to coordinate a year-long learning exchange program.

Laura A. Kerr
Managing Regional Director, Capitol & Central Valley