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Charters Are Different and Especially Local – A Poem

• Sam Duell

I’m a former teacher and school administrator, and my mom is a teacher, too. I’m also a parent who is currently schooling kids at home. Perhaps it’s all the children’s books I’ve been reading these past few weeks or maybe I’m feeling nostalgic for times my mom and dad would read poetry to me, but I just felt like it was time to write something different–in a different style than I normally do. In honor of National Charter Schools Week, I wrote a fun poem to highlight the fact that there are at least 13 different types of charter schools.*

 Remember, charter schools are made for specific purposes to address local needs. Please check out all the links to learn more about some of these charter schools!

Charters Are Different and Especially Local

When you hear “charter schools,” what comes to mind?

Just look real close, you know what you’ll find?

They’re all kinds of different and especially local.

Here are some examples, since it’s time to be vocal.

Some charter schools are progressive at heart,

While other charters are classic from start.

A few charters choose to support mainly girls,

While others teach students from all around the world.

Then there are charters that make no excuses,

Following every student to whichever college he or she chooses.

More charters, still, provide second chances,

To the parents and families who need career enhances.

I’ve seen charters that march every day,

To prepare their students for what may come their way.

I’ve seen charters focused on fine arts, too,

Supporting creators and makers to do what they do.

Then there are charters that uplift and protect,

The most cherished and sacred cultures out West.

They’ve been said to bring languages back from the dead,

And create a new generation of native speakers instead.

There are many, many more that I’ve failed to mention,

So look for yourself at your local charter’s intention.

You might be surprised, though you might already know,

Charters were first meant for locals to grow.

That’s why they’re so different and flexible, you see.

Charters are intended to meet all kinds of needs.

*This poem was inspired by Mike McShane’s & Jen Hatfield’s 2015 study, Measuring Diversity in Charter School Offerings, published by the American Enterprise Institute. Check it out!

About the author

Sam Duell

Before Sam joined ExcelinEd as the Associate Policy Director for Charter Schools, he was a special education teacher, a school and central office administrator, the Executive Director of School Choice at Oklahoma’s department of education and the Managing Director of OPSRC’s Education Collaborative. In every position, Sam worked creatively to meet student needs. He founded the Integrated Support Program at Fischer Middle School in San Jose, California to increase the number and percentage of students with learning disabilities who have access to the general education classroom. He was the first administrator of Oklahoma’s Statewide Virtual Charter School Board, the authorizer for online schools in Oklahoma. And he co-founded a statewide afterschool network called the Oklahoma Partnership for Expanded Learning to organize and advocate for expanded learning opportunities after school and during the summer. Sam’s current interests include charter schools and their role in a functional, thriving democracy.