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Written by Daybreak Man   
Sunday, 08 June 2008 20:06

                I do not currently have children in my home and therefore have not been aware of the many educational issues that have surfaced recently.  I know about the Jordan School District and its problems and I voted last November on the issue of vouchers, but I did not know of the local concerns of parents in Daybreak.  However, my interest in the subject has increased since I saw a post in the discussion forums of this website about the Early Light Academy.  I decided I would try and find out as much as I could about the proposed charter school.  I found the school’s website at www.earlylightacademy.org and found the decisions made about the school in the meeting minutes of the state board of education.  I found that charter schools all have an initial charter document that explains almost every detail of the school and its purpose.  A friend of mine was able to get an electronic copy of the charter and I scanned through the 140 pages of detailed information. 

     The Early Light Academy (ELA) is a proposed K through 9 school that will most likely be built here in Daybreak.  The founding board of the school is working with Kennecott Land to select a suitable location.  Right now there are two proposed locations: one just West of the Row Homes on the Western edge of village 1, the other is in the Northwest corner of what will be village 3.  As Kennecott has donated generous portions of land to the two other public schools in Daybreak, I do not see why they would not do the same for this academy.  The school will be fairly small compared to Daybreak Elementary as it is being built for a capacity of 750 students.  The physical size is also smaller as Daybreak Elementary is 116,700 square feet (including the DCC) and ELA is a mere 57,400 square feet. 

     Besides physical characteristics and student population, how will this school be different from regular public schools in the Jordan School District?  The main difference will be the governance of the school.  ELA will be run by a parent board instead of a school district.  As the board has more discretion of what is emphasized in their curriculum, the school will be different academically as well.  ELA has decided that the emphasis should be in history, “The Early Light Academy offers a high-quality education by combining a linear, content-rich curriculum emphasizing history utilizing effective instructional techniques, taking our students from the Stone Age to the Space Age, the Information Age and beyond. With an emphasis in history, students are better able to tie in the lessons from the past with the present reality of the world around them, and are empowered to see how their actions today will impact the future.” 

     Although ELA may have a different emphasis in their curriculum they are subject to the same standardized tests that our public schools are and thus the same accountability.  This guarantees that faculty will still teach those concepts and facts directly related to the standardized tests.  ELA will actually be buying their curriculum from a company called K12.  This may be good or bad.  I am not a curriculum expert so I really cannot criticize this aspect of ELA’s program. 

     As for logistics, ELA has proposed that they have a maximum of 25 students per class.  This fact alone is why I like the idea of this charter school.  Having a better student teacher ratio in classes will improve education outcomes.  However, this is only 2 students under the currently reported student teacher ratio at Daybreak Elementary.

     A large amount of research concurs that more parental involvement in their child’s education will deliver better education outcomes.  This was the main reason the school is being founded.  A group of parents called Daybreak Parents for Academics originally conceived of the idea of ELA.  In fact, the school will require the parents of students to volunteer for 35 hours per year.  This requirement, in my opinion, will actually weed out some of those parents who are complacent about their child’s education.  This will in turn deliver students to the school whose parents are committed to their education making a better environment in which to learn.  Another aspect of the school that I personally like is the fact that they will have a strict dress code.  Some people feel that this limits expression, but I think it just eliminates distraction and competition.  This also makes distinguishing rich kids from poor kids more difficult. 

     As mentioned previously I am not an education expert.  These are my thoughts and opinions only.  If you are a teacher or administrator and you would like to comment on this story you can.  Just register and click the button below to comment.  I think that these comments will enhance the analysis.  Thanks goes to Scoop for inviting me to write an article on the Daybreak Daily.  If you would like to see more of my articles just go to http://daybreaktoday.blogspot.com 

Last Updated on Sunday, 08 June 2008 21:03
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