A student’s perspective on charter schools

Macy Olivas headshotMacy Olivas is a student at Whitman University in Washington, and a graduate of Preuss Charter School in San Diego, CA.

In this video, recorded when she was advocating for Washington to adopt charter school legislation in January 2012, Macy relates her experience as a student in a charter school. She talks about how the school, which drew students from across the city, changed her life compared to her peers.

“I witnessed friends that I went to elementary school with get involved in gang activity, get pregnant, and when we reached high school, even drop out,” she recalls. “Although we all grew up in the same neighborhood, our mentality of what was going to become of our future could not have been further apart.”

She talks about the support she and her peers received at their charter school that led to their success. The school offers more instructional time by increasing the length of the school day and school year; provides intensive graduation and college counseling; and requires honors and AP level coursework. But, Macy says the biggest impact made was by the faculty at her school.

This support had fantastic results. In her class of 102 students, all of whom came from low-income families across San Diego, 100 percent graduated, and 94 percent went on to a college or university.

She says ultimately her experience inspired her to become a teacher and to share the opportunities she had with other students from her background. Her charter school provided her with a great education and, she says, “a great education shouldn’t be the exception—it should be the rule.”

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