The addition of Coastal Montessori Charter School to the roster of area schools of choice should be welcome news to those who value intellectual diversity in education. (“Feds put $6.6M into school,” Jan. 15.) Some parents have found the child-centered philosophy of the Italian physician/educator Maria Montessori to help immensely with their children’s development. Others prefer more structured curricula. Thus, Montessori is properly a choice, not an edict from the central administration.
Your readers may have been startled to read that the Pawleys Island chartered school is opening with the help of a low-interest, 38-year construction loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It turns out USDA indeed has an aid program for rural development (communities of less than 20,000) that has helped other charter schools launch. These independently managed public schools receive no capital funds, so they have to scramble to find or fund adequate facilities.
Ideally, support for schools should come from non-federal sources because federal control often come with federal aid. However, the USDA is less likely than the U.S. Department of Education to meddle in curricular matters. The debate over the extent to which the federal government can boost school choice without intruding on local control figures to intensify during the Trump Administration.
Robert Holland, Myrtle Beach