In his guest column (Jan. 26), Roger Brainerd made a strong case that options are needed in Maine public schools. However, charter schools are not the only way to provide options. An alternative approach is to provide choices within the public school system.

For many years, the Anchorage (Alaska) School District has had an array of options. They address different styles of learning (Slingerland, Montessori or Walden). They offer a more open flexible curriculum in one side of a school house and have a traditional program on the other side. They have various second language programs, like Japanese, Spanish, German, etc. They attract middle school students with a STEM program (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and offer high schools dropouts a SAVE program. They offer a home schooling alternative as well as charter schools.

All of these programs were put in place by interested parents and/or teachers. Many of them are in neighborhood schools as a school within a school. Offered in this manner they must from the beginning meet state and local standards and cost the same per pupil of any current program.

Una Tuck, Greene

Retired teacher, Anchorage School District

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