David Gammino 
Member since Feb 16, 2012


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Re: “Charting a Course

Vernal Coleman’s article today in Style Weekly is as revealing for what it says as what it does not say. I would submit as disingenuous, the statement that Patrick Henry has received, “broad political support”. Perhaps this is accurate if “broad political support” is measured in words and photo opportunities, rather than deeds. Has Patrick Henry received substantive support from Richmond’s political community, recognizing how critical this school’s success is to our City’s future?
By way of example, the Fifth District representative attempted last May to secure PHCS funding through City Council. Unfortunately, he felt it strategically prudent to make this effort while simultaneously demanding Kathy Graziano’s resignation, attempting to cut $400,000.00 from Parks maintenance (including $100,000.00 from the James River System), and attacking the integrity of Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Herring. Can this effort be described in any respect, as effective “political support”?
Any strategy which Richmond plans to implement which seeks to address our current poverty-rate must recognize the need for successful educational options. If Richmond continues to view the coexistence of charter schools and the Richmond Public School System as a zero-sum game, there will never be an effective strategy to improving our educational system.
Rigorous charter and public schools will allow children the opportunity to excel and grow, and hopefully surmount their challenging domestic circumstances. Additionally, the existence of successful charter and public schools will potentially ameliorate the flight of middle-class families, seeking the quality of suburban school systems. This will reduce the broad socio-economic divide in Richmond, expand our tax base and create additional revenue to commit to further educational improvements across Richmond.
RPS should be commended for their forbearance as Patrick Henry has worked to fulfill the charter requirements. However, if RPS is cannot actively assist charter schools in a substantive way, our elected representatives should be seeking solutions and offering assistance. Then and only then, will we be able to assert that charter schools have received broad political support.

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Posted by David Gammino on 02/16/2012 at 4:22 PM

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