Charter School Offers ‘Learning Guarantee’

Published October 1, 1998

Parents who send their children to Boston’s Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter School get more than promises about student learning: they get a “Learning Guarantee.”

If a student at the school doesn’t pass his or her tenth-grade state assessment test, the charter school will pay for that student to attend another public or private school for a year.

The guarantee, which requires failing students to work with tutors and also requires parents to sign and return weekly progress reports, is the first in the nation offered by a public school. Under the terms of the guarantee, some $7,400 in annual per-pupil state funding would be transferred to the school chosen by the parents.

“Guarantees exist for mufflers, airline service and dozens of services in America,” says Pacific Rim’s founding director Stacey Boyd. “Yet no service, save perhaps health care, matters as much to a person’s livelihood as education.”

The guarantee, which is underwritten by the Academy and the Ruth and Lovett Peters Foundation, is based on the premise that “if parents have been actively involved in their child’s education and if the child has consistently put in the effort, then that student will succeed.”