Marc Levy, Associated Press
Gov. Tom Corbett calls on a student at Lincoln Charter School while answering their questions in the library before a public event in the gymnasium where he announced his education reform agenda Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011, in York, Pa.

I'm a parent who has children currently attending a charter school. The public school they attended previously was decent, and we did all we could to support it while we were there. When the opportunity presented itself, however, to attend an institution that consistently produces higher test scores, promotes positive values/patriotism and is actively engaged in the success of children, we jumped at the chance. Choice is a great American ideal.

Unfortunately, not all children have the same opportunity. It's a tragedy that the public education system is in disarray. If our neighborhood school had been better, we would have stayed. Our family made the decision to attend a charter not based on becoming elite — rather we did what was best for our children.

The idea that charter schools are "siphoning tax dollars" is false. Our charter school functions with about half the funds that public schools receive and still produces better results. Historically, simply allotting more money for public schools hasn't improved the education of children. Charter schools actually benefit public schools by reducing class size. I applaud legislators who have the courage to acknowledge the ways quality educational institutions are succeeding in the hopes those schools will be emulated.

Mary Poelman