MoCo Approves Its First Charter School

Montgomery County is set to launch its very first charter school after receiving board approval on Monday night. 

The Montgomery County Board of Education voted 6-2 in favor of a proposal for the Crossways Montessori School.  The school will accommodate students from pre-kindergarden to the third grade and is on the track to open its doors by Fall 2012 in Kensington, according to the Washington Post.

“I believe strongly that Montessori education has a proven track record, Crossway has a proven track record, and that they have dotted all their I’s and crossed all their T’s and met all the challenges that we threw to them,” said school board member Patricia O'Neill in an interview with the Post.

The Crossways Montessori proposal was initially rejected, along with two others with global and environmental themes because, as one official told the New York Times earlier this month, “we have a very high bar in terms of performance.”  Crossways worked with school officials in the spring to address concerns and produced a revised charter school application. The Montgomery County branch of the NAACP was among those to oppose the application in its final hours before approval, expressing a concern over the current emphasis on charter schools in education.The Maryland General Assembly legalized charter schools in 2003.  Suburban areas that boast high rankings for their existing schools--like Montgomery County--have found themselves in the hot center of the nation's charter school debate.charter schools--which are publicly financed but independently operated--have mostly been promoted as an alternative to underperforming urban schools for the economically troubled; the movement of charter schools to the suburbs has raised questions about the goals and viability of the 20 year-old movement. Maryland will have 43 charter schools by this fall, with the majority in D.C. and Baltimore. Published at 2:32 PM EDT on Jul 28, 2011 | Updated at 2:44 PM EDT on Jul 28, 2011

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