Charter School Proposal to Include More State Funds

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday February 11, 2010 - 09:28:00 AM

Although the Berkeley Board of Education was scheduled to vote on Berkeley’s first public charter school proposal Wednesday, Feb. 3, the petition was withdrawn at the last minute.  

Berkeley Technology Academy Principal and lead petitioner Victor Diaz submitted a letter to the board informing them that the state Department of Education's charter school division had recently pre-approved $600,000 for the school’s Planning and Implementation grant instead of the $375,000 originally anticipated.  

Diaz said that he looked forward to resubmitting the updated petition within the next few days.  

Revolutionary Education and Learning Movement (REALM) charter school—which seeks to provide students with a project-based, technology-oriented curriculum that would make them ready for the 21st-century job market—has been criticized by the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN).  

This local activist group argues that REALM would go against Berkeley’s desegregation policy and separate students from different ethnic and socioeconomic background.  

Diaz and Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action (BOCA) contend the charter school would provide opportunities for students who feel like they don’t belong in either Berkeley High School or B-Tech.  

Diaz was honored by the Berkeley-based Robert Redford Center Feb. 4 for his leadership work in the community as well his plans for a new charter school.