(Beginning mid-October 2010, the Times-News limited Letters access to online subscribers.)
"A few local progressive thinkers did endorse the idea, butSister Phyllis McNally presents a valid point in her Jan. 9 letter, “Bishop Walsh makes education option available for students": Private schools pose viable alternatives for students whose parents otherwise might support a charter school -- an idea that fell flat last month in Allegany County.
authentic broad-based support in Allegany County remains non-existent. In fact, the idea appears to many in the county to be a ruse by MMPCS founders to impose their personal agenda."
Since 1966, four years prior to Bishop James Edward Walsh’s release from prison in Communist China, the Catholic school has educated students “of all faiths and beliefs,” the president writes, and offers “the very same qualities parents continue to want …smaller class sizes, excellent academics, values-centered curriculum and individualized learning experiences.”
Calvary Christian Academy, a ministry of Calvary Baptist Church in Cresaptown since 1973, has similar offerings.
Most people of faith who could afford tuition and manage transportation would gratefully send their children to one of these quality schools.
Christian values, though, probably are far from the Mountain Maryland Public Charter School founders’ desires for their children. MMPCS President Veronica Mingolelli is an outspoken member of Citizens for a Secular Government, a local non- to anti-religion organization headed by atheist activist Jeffrey Davis.
Davis fought to erect a monument to secularism, promoted as a tribute to the U.S. Constitution, on the courthouse lawn in a show of opposition to Judeo-Christian principles displayed there in the Ten Commandments, which Davis tried to have removed.
As early as November 2007, Mingolelli pushed Davis’ monument agenda, and she was his spokesperson on a 2009 county task force. A January 2010 decision by the Maryland Historical Trust, however, thwarted their efforts.
Now Mingolelli, an occupational therapist in the county schools who apparently hails from Massachusetts, seeks the trust and influence of our community leaders to help her and her friends establish a taxpayer funded charter school in Cumberland.
A few local progressive thinkers did endorse the idea, but authentic broad-based support in Allegany County remains non-existent. In fact, the idea appears to many in the county to be a ruse by MMPCS founders to impose their personal agenda.
Contributors in a Cumberland Chat chain, for example, from Sept. 26-29, 2010 speculate that MMPCS promoters are “an elitist bunch (who want) a publicly funded ‘private’ school,” perhaps a Montessori type; and they note that studies show charter schools perform no better than other public schools.
In reality, a June 2010 U.S. Department of Education publication, “The Evaluation of Charter School Impacts: Final Report” (prepared by the Institute of Education Services), concludes that while “charter schools serving more low income or low achieving students had statistically significant positive effects on math test scores…charter schools serving more advantaged students -- those with higher income and prior achievement -- had significant negative effects.”
Why would Mingolelli and her associates – medical, law and education professionals – want their children, who probably achieve above average, in a public charter school? More understandable -- unless they object to Christian values, or unless they aim to create their own non- or anti-religion environment -- would be a desire to place their children in a private school.
Bishop Walsh and Calvary Christian have records of high standards and student accomplishments, and they always are in need of well-heeled parents and patrons to support their fundraising and endowment programs.
Much wiser community investments of time, treasure and energy -- spent misguidedly on the idea of a questionable charter school -- would be to help our private schools expand their finances, increase their enrollments, and enhance their academic programs.