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I am the parent of a first grader at Columbus Charter School in Whiteville, NC. I am also the parent of a son who attended public schools in Hampstead, Carolina Beach, Wilmington, and Columbus County. The differences between the public school system my son suffered through and the experience of my daughter attending a charter school with a whole new way of doing things is immense.

My son had such a hard time in public school. He fell through cracks, and limped along, suffered attacks from bullies in schools who had "zero tolerance" for bullyism, but got little or no support from school administration in any area. He just graduated from high school and is now in college, where he has a new set of struggles caused by substandard preparation by the public school system, where he made good grades, but received little education in key areas, such as math.

Columbus Charter School has brought, to say the least, a breath of fresh air from a huge sigh of relief. In kindergarten, the children learn to read. You heard me, they learn to read. All of them learn to read. As a matter of fact, halfway through the year, they hold a ceremony for all children, because the learn to read. They do math. I don't mean just writing numbers. They do addition and subtraction. They have real spelling tests. They learn science, social studies, art, music, reading, grammar; you get my point. My son colored pictures throughout kindergarten that only lasted a half day. My daughter excels. They all excel. Headmaster Steve Smith commented during one of numerous award ceremonies that he hasn't seen the children's limits. You raise the bar, and they meet it everytime.

Columbus Charter school, which is a Roger Bacon Academy, has a whole new approach to teaching, and it works. It would be a travesty to not have this available to our children. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to send my child to this wonderful school of choice. What a difference. Public schools should sit up and take notice, and take lessons. I am hopeful that we have people in power with enough intelligence and optimism that they would continue to support this type of education. Give our children a chance!

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