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Updated 08/22/2012 08:29 AM
Growing Up Texas: A look inside the new, controversial ‘IDEA Allan’
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A parent’s idea of what’s best for a child varies from family to family, but if college readiness is something you’re looking for, leaders at IDEA Allan Elementary say you should consider their campus.
In an effort to bring positive change to the Austin Independent School District, board members voted to partner with IDEA Public Schools to give students in East Austin another option for education.
Next week, IDEA Allan is opening for the first time, serving 600 students ranging from kindergarten through second grade, as well as sixth-grade.
“As we go door-to-door with and share this opportunity with them, parents are responding and they’re excited to have the option to send their kids to a great school in East Austin,” IDEA Allan Executive Director Larkin Tackett said.
However, not everyone is responding with open arms. Some parents say opening a charter school is a bad idea.
“I think the community should have the right to address what it wants and needs for its kids. I don’t think an external organization should come up with that for the community,” Govalle Elementary School parent Vincent Tovar said.
Tovar says bringing in a charter school that doesn’t have the capacity to help the entire area isn’t solving the greater problem in
“I hear parents say, ‘I want what’s best for my kids,’ and not ‘I want what’s best for all kids.’” Tovar said. “That’s what we’re talking about. Public schools should be able to meet the needs for all kids and all schools should be able to be successful in their own right.”
IDEA Allan hopes to offer a solution in the meantime. Their programs emphasize college readiness and they boast their statistics of 100 percent college enrollment for their graduates over the last six years.
“We like to hold ourselves to a higher standard,” Tackett said. “We have one track, the college track, no matter if they’re learning English, have a disability, they’re going to college and we’re going to do whatever it takes to make that happen."
The goal of college means students should be prepared for longer hours at school, wearing uniforms and fewer extracurricular activities.
“There’s so much evidence that says the factor to making them successful is having great teachers,” Tackett said.
IDEA says the school will have high-quality teachers coming from around Austin and even the Austin Independent School District--good teachers who parents say should be strengthening the East Austin schools they already have instead of leaving.
“Teachers are leaving, students are leaving, because they see it’s just dying, Tovar said.
Since IDEA Public Schools are partnering with AISD, the campuses will have access to the district's public transportation system and can also rent their facilities.
IDEA Allan is in the Allan Elementary School campus, and next year, they plan to share their college prep academy at the Eastside Memorial High School campus.