Opinion: Public school defeats charter school


Jayah Caley, Review Staff

Feature Photo By: Jayah Caley – Rangeview High School is a part of the Aurora Public School (APS) district. Sophomore Priscilla Tampubolon said, “I think [Rangeview is] freaking amazing just because we have so much spirit and the environment that the students have set is nothing compared to other schools.”

After going to charter schools for nine years and going to a public school for just under 1.5 years, I’ve concluded that public school is the way to go.

The year was 2007, I was entering kindergarten at Aurora Academy — an APS K-8 charter school. As a child, I loved the idea of school and was astonished by the mind’s ability to learn. Most children, I remember, chose to be in the P.M. (afternoon) kindergarten class.

I, on the other hand, was beyond eager to sign up for the A.M. (morning) class. Five year old Jayah Caley could not understand why anyone wouldn’t want to wake up at 6:00 A.M. every morning to go to a big building that was filled with endless knowledge to be acquired.

I spent six years of my life at Aurora Academy Charter School until I decided to take a large leap of faith and leave the place I knew and loved for over six years and transferred to Vanguard Classical School (East). This was yet again another charter school.

At VCSE, I completed my middle school years (6-8). During my six years at Aurora Academy, I was a straight A student. At Aurora Academy, we were always told that we were different from public schools, that we were learning differently, and at a faster level than others — which definitely made me feel more confident in my abilities.

The reason my family and I decided to leave Aurora Academy was due to a change in administrative teams and we no longer felt adequately represented in who we were and what we believed in.

My time at Vanguard was unfortunately not the best experience.

Seventh and eighth grade year were different for me, mainly because of the administration and the culture of the school. Here is where I felt a slip in my love for education. Being exposed to so many different environments was a shock. I went from having the same teacher every day for eight hours a day to seeing eight teachers for one hour a day. I began to feel like I was being pushed through the system.

Junior Hiyabe Abera (left) and sophomore Priscilla Tampubolon (right) sit with me at College Track working on homework. College Track is a program that helps high school students in low-income areas be successful throughout high school and college. If it weren’t for public school, I probably would not have had this opportunity if I had stayed with a charter school (Jayah Caley).

In those two years, I noticed that just as my own personal desire and passion for school and education was slipping, so were the teachers and adults that I encountered on a daily basis.

I began to see the major flaws in our education system. It seemed like kids were beginning to get left behind. That meant either you get it and do well or that’s it.

Through all of this, I was still being told that what I was doing at a charter school was so far advanced that I would easily excel in high school if I so chose to go to a public school; however, I was highly encouraged to stay at VCSE through high school.

By the end of eighth grade, I was beyond ready for a change. While I was still at VCSE, my older sister Kyah Caley was attending Rangeview High School for her freshman year. I couldn’t wait to be in her position: playing softball for the school, going to the color dance, going to homecoming, going to football games, making new friends, and so forth. I was waiting for my time.

Fast forward to the fall of 2017, I embarked on a life changing journey; public school.

I did not go in thinking that this experience would necessarily be easy due to my past education and all the things adults had told me; however, I was more confident in my abilities and less scared of the pressures of high school that teens everywhere write about.

I signed up for all offered honors classes and even took an AP (advanced placement) class. I quickly learned that I was not at all better or “smarter” than any other student in any of my classes because of my charter school experience.

We were all in there for similar reasons.

Sophomore Alex Easton, an old friend from elementary school, said, “No, I wouldn’t choose charter school over public school. I honestly feel like a charter school is more sheltered in a sense by not having as many people and less culture.”

Overall, I would have to say that public school is just as good at preparing compared to charter schools. I feel like I unfortunately missed out on a lot because I attended a charter school for so long. I never experienced a lot of the things my friends (that attended public school) talk about. In some ways, it can be obvious that they are more prepared: the big school with a lot of student environments, the way the system flows, how to find ways to better yourself and to succeed.

Samantha Fuentes, a friend who went to Vanguard with me, said,” I do believe I had an advantage because of all those classes I took were a grade level above, but not socially.”

She continued, “When you are with the same 60 kids for 3 years they become the easiest people to talk to, but it is hard to let go of the cushion and enter a school with 2400 students.”

So far at Rangeview High School, I have enjoyed my experience and learned so much about myself about the way I learn. Rangeview has provided me with plenty more meaningful experiences than what I would have had experienced somewhere like the charter schools I used to attend.