Just back from a lovely weekend in Kansas City. We dined Saturday night at a delightful, casual French restaurant downtown, Le Fou Frog (The Crazy Frog).
Our waiter, the inimitable Jean-Pierre, told us that a local charter school which is a French immersion program sends kids annually to the restaurant for the full treatment of authentic French cooking. They get to sample everything from escargot to chocolate mousse, are required to speak only in French, talk to the staff about their upbringings in that country, and enjoy many more benefits by the friendship between their school and this famous French restaurant for the pure thrill of learning.
What’s more, the crowning experience of attendance at this school is a trip to France. School fund-raisers and parents work together to pay for this life-changing educational experience.
As you know, a charter school soaks up no more tax dollars than other public schools. It abides by basic health, safety and fire regulations, among others — but the educators and parents have more leeway to do incredible and amazing things like the French dinner out and the trip to France. This is because they are set free of rigid regulations in order to design the prudent use of taxpayer dollars for a particular purpose.
Since the Nebraska State Board of Education and the Nebraska Legislature have never enacted charter school enabling legisation, though several groups have tried over the years, this is an example of what the Cornhusker State is missing out on educationally by not allowing innovations like charter schools.
Check out the Academie Lafayette and see if this is something cool that Nebraska kids should be allowed to experience, if we would just offer charter schools at long last: