, Salem, MA


August 1, 2013

Letter: 'A story of joy and promise'

To the editor:

“Ten Salem students reach their impossible dream!!’

“Community Charter School graduates 10 against all odds!”

Either of these could have been the banner headline on the front page of the Salem News of Monday, July 22. Could have been is the operative phrase because they were not.

Oh no!! The editors chose instead:

“State takes action against city’s charter school.”

It’s not simply that the “could have been” headlines are more positive than the one chosen. Oh, no. No Pollyannaism here. They would also have been more accurate. One assumes here that the News has some interest in accuracy.

The fact is that the Salem Community Charter School graduated 10 young people on Friday, July 19. The fact is that, without the “last chance” provided by the Salem Community Charter School, none of these young people would have achieved a high school diploma. Lack of this document shuts almost every door in a tight employment market and generally precludes the option of military service. What occurred on Friday night was the beginning of a hopeful world for 10 young people who previously had no educational hopes or dreams. It was an awesome occurrence that went virtually unnoticed.

The fact is that when you finally get to paragraph 10 of the News story, those still reading discover that the school “has made significant progress toward addressing each of the conditions placed on its Charter.” Ten paragraphs to find out that the headline was bogus! Amazing!

The public should be aware of a few things that have affected life at this entity:

1. It was through the district’s recognition of a serious dropout problem and the coordinated efforts of Salem Public School administrators, Mayor Driscoll, social service agencies, the juvenile courts, the Salem Police Department and many individuals, all of whom worked tirelessly during the 2010-2011 school year to seek a charter and develop the plans that allowed the new school to open in September 2011. It is to the credit of the Salem School Committee members that they stood firm in the conviction that this was the right thing to do; that the circumstance that led to the situations faced by these young adults could, with a lot of help, be overcome.

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