Whose Idea Was This Anyway? The Challenging Metamorphosis from Private to Charter
In January 1988, my wife and I began operating a private Montessori preschool in Flagstaff, Arizona. Before that time, we had intended to do other things in our personal lives and in our careers, but our community's demand for quality child care was so strong that by 1994 we were serving over 200 children ages 2-9 in a three-site elementary program. 1
Our program was very small, for three related reasons. First, the expense of starting a completely equipped and staffed Montessori elementary program is quite high. Second, Flagstaff lacks the wage base that would allow us to charge the private school tuition necessary to support a new high caliber program. Third, being "poor but proud," we couldn't bring ourselves to offer and advertise a second-rate program. Consequently, the elementary students we had were limited to those children who had been with us for several years.
The relentless pursuit of perfection that characterizes the Lexus luxury sedan somewhat imperfectly parallels our own experience. When it first hit the marketplace in 1989, the Lexus was immediately crowned by Consumer Reports as the best car on the road. I'd like to say it was the same with us, but it would be more accurate to say that we started out as a rusted Yugo. However, even our critics would have to say that we have