Background on MMCS

As an article in the Santa Cruz Weekly noted, the Montessori Charter School has in the past characterized the difference between their approach and that of existing neighborhood schools in offensive ways.

Between their retraction of this video once the press had noticed it, and the statement on their webpage that they are “pro-public education,” MMCS has changed its program to include Spanish-language teachers, and changed its message to foreground their mission as a social one: “as a group we unanimously agree that our desire to widen access to Montessori far exceeds any concerns we as individuals may have about public schools performance, public educational funding, etc.” (OK, so you want to widen access while disregarding completely what the funding will be taken from?)

But a poll taken on the school’s Facebook page (removed from public view after February 22) indicates the relative importance of the public-service function of the proposed school to respondents at that time.

Here’s a founding statement from a parent organizer that was posted on SCMMCS Facebook page for several months. Its tone helped spark the resistance against this attack on the funding for our existing neighborhood schools.

“We don’t want [child’s name withheld]’s sparkle and light to be dimmed! Please help!
Friday, July 8, 2011 at 11:55am
Dear Friends.

We have been incredibly blessed with an amazing daughter. She is the light of our life. We have been incredibly intentional about every decision we have made regarding her well being, growth and development. From her conception through to this mornings decision about whether she could wear a sundress to school on a 65 degree morning. Note: We decided yes, because she was adamant and tested the outside temperature herself and decided that she would be fine 🙂

The weight of each decision we make is different. Do we vaccinate? Yes. Do we let her watch TV? Sometimes. Do we let her eats lots of candy? No. What do we tell her when she asks while point at the meat case at our local grocery, “Did they kill that meat?” Yes.

Lately we have been surprised by the fact that the decision about where to send her to elementary school has been one of the heaviest decisions we have faced. [Child] has attended Montessori early childhood care programs since she was 5 months old. . . . When [mother]  was pregnant with [child] we toured local daycares in search of a place we would feel not only comfortable but ecstatic about leaving our daughter when we had to return to work FT. The search was long and at times heartbreaking but when we found Montessori early childhood programs we knew we were home. It was a perfect fit for [child] and our family. The level of care and the amount of independence that was fostered in the Montessori model was a key element in [child] being the intelligent and self assured child that she is today. Although as her parents we would like to take credit for all of who she is, we regularly look at each other and say how grateful we are for what Montessori has given [child] and us as a family. We feel pretty sure that [child] is awesome and we know that she is REALLY awesome because of Montessori.

This is the part in the letter where you get to have an audio visual break. 🙂 Watch this short video to learn more about Montessori education. It is a great video, graphic, and very clear. Worth the time!

Also for those of you who would like to read more about Montessori go here: and here:

Ok, so now you know the amazing things about Montessori! Well here is some other information.

1. Santa Cruz County has a number of Montessori schools, however they are all private and tuition is on average 12K a year for elementary school.
2. There are charter and private schools that are “montessori” like or call themselves Montessori, but really aren’t trained or implementing the Montessori philosophy.
3. Santa Cruz County has no public school that is Montessori in both philosophy and practice.

So where does that leave our family. In 2 years [child] will need to start 1st grade. There is no school that is available to her that will continue the amazing Montessori foundation that she has built. We have looked at all the private schools and if we choose to send her to private school we will be spending anywhere from 8K-15K a year for tuition at a Montessori or other private school. We have looked at our local public elementary and considered sending her there but the school has an API rating of 2 out of 10 and in 2nd grade only 35% of kids are demonstrating proficiency in english and in 4th grade only 50% of kids are proficient in math. DEPRESSING statistics which mean that [child], no matter how talented and smart she is will be impacted by the challenges of this school. And it will not be the child directed learning we have come to see as essential to keep her sparkle and light ALIVE!

So, what to do?
Well a group of parents and teachers at Midtown Montessori catalyzed by Donna Saffron the Founder and Director of Midtown Montessori are not going to just silently sit by and accept the choices we have for our children’s education. We are going to take action and join forces and start a Montessori Elementary Charter School in Santa Cruz! We know this is the right path and our children deserve to have an education experience that will see them achieve their full potential.”

Is this all “just history”?


One Response to Background on MMCS

  1. Anthony Villarreal says:

    White people often organize themselves in very exclusive ways based on the idea that they are doing what’s right for their children and whatnot, perhaps oblivious to the perpetuation of segregation and white supremacy… sending your amazing child to school with Brown kids will not hurt, it will make all of us stronger as a community… stop the educational elitism, stop the charters, force Pacific Collegiate to diversify! API scores are a disingenuous way for Montessori proponents to to attack public education – I was under the impression they were opposed to standardized testing and cookie cutter measurements of teaching and learning? Those API scores say nothing about our shared humanity, as a community increasingly divided by class and race, precisely due to people that want to create exclusive charters…

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