Valley Forge Military Charter School an Attractive Alternative for Students Shortchanged by Public Education

Image via Valley Forge Military Academy and College.
Lieutenant General Milton G. Baker founded Valley Forge Military Academy and served as its superintendent for 44 years.

In education, one size does not fit all. Students don’t all learn the same way, yet they are often subjected to the same standardized models for being taught and evaluated.

Furthermore, not all school districts are equal, and therefore, a lot of students are shortchanged by public education.

There are several alternatives to public school in this region. Currently before the Radnor Township School District is an application from the Valley Forge Military Academy to open a charter school on the academy’s campus in Radnor. If approved, Valley Forge Military Charter School will be the first military charter in Philadelphia’s suburbs.

Since 1928, VFMAC has offered a military model of education to boys in grades 7-12. In that century, it has graduated names known across the globe: H.R. McMaster, General Norman Schwarzkopf, J.D. Salinger, Wes Moore, and Larry Fitzgerald, among others.

Based on the Five Cornerstones of academic excellence, character development, personal motivation, physical development, and leadership, VFMA has a long and laudable record of remarkable education. As a military charter, this school will have greater flexibility than traditional schools, thus enabling a partnership with parents who want values instilled in their child, alongside book learning.

To open in the fall of 2022, the Valley Forge Military Charter School will be a co-ed day school for students in grades 6-12. In addition to in-person learning, it will offer a military model education to students who, for various reasons, can’t attend the academy’s boarding school.

The charter school provides a chance for young men and women to learn how to lead their peers in a structure using military leadership traits and principles. It will include basic military drill, a battalion with rank structure, and earned leadership billets. Academics will include military history plus traditional, grade-appropriate class curricula, service projects, and events. All will be coupled with instilling strong values, character development, and accountability consistent within every military service.

Like the graduates of the academy and military junior college at Valley Forge, the charter school’s graduates will be prepared to attend the most prestigious colleges and universities in the world.

Like all Pennsylvania charter schools, funding will come from the students’ home school districts. The costs allotted to each district for student education vary across the Commonwealth. There is no burden to parents or guardians, thus allowing children who want the experience of a military model in their education the opportunity to attend.

The catchment area for the Valley Forge Military Charter School is in the five counties surrounding its campus: Philadelphia, Delaware, Chester, Montgomery, and Bucks. Potential secondary counties are Berks, Lehigh, Lancaster, and Northampton. Enrollment capacity for the first year is 100.

Valley Forge Military Charter School will operate fully separate from the existing academy with its own professional and administrative staff, its own buildings, and its own operations. It will be funded separately and share neither revenue nor debt. It will be responsible and accountable to a Board of Trustees comprised of individuals who are not associated with the VFMAC Board of Trustees. It will share the commitment to fully educate its students, preparing them to become the world’s best citizens like VFMAC alumni.

Educational programs will be competitive and include Advanced Placement, Honors, and College Prep. Teachers will carry certificates issued by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Public schools are often unwelcoming of charter schools. However, both share a commitment to educate. Radnor’s schools are among the most admired in the state and have even earned national renown. Because few transfers are anticipated from the Radnor Township School District, the financial impact to the district seems negligible.

Education is crucial to our future as a society, and there is grave concern about disenfranchised students unable to thrive academically in a remote or hybrid learning model. The smaller class size and regimented environment of a military model has proven to be very successful for many students.

Valley Forge Military Charter School will be an option for area students to take part in a program that will hold them accountable, teach leadership, and provide opportunities to execute what they have learned by being a member of their unit and battalion.

A military education will soon be an option to those in this region who want to learn leadership, accountability, responsibility, and teamwork, and who will benefit from something more than can be offered by public schools.

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