Misconception about charter schools

In her Dec. 19 editorial column on mastery-based education, Stephanie Kane states that Palouse Prairie Charter School is “able to select their students via applications.”

This is a common misconception about charter schools, but it is untrue. Idaho charter schools are free public schools of choice, and are required by law to use a “lottery or other random method” for enrollment (Idaho Code 33-5206.11).

If any Daily News readers are interested in the absolutely riveting details of the lottery requirements, those are available in Idaho Administrative Rule 08.02.04 section 203 under “Equitable Selection Process.”

Leslie Baker and Tony Bonuccelli

Moscow

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Palouse Prairie does not hand-pick students

I am writing in response to Stephanie Kane’s “Her View” in the Dec. 19 edition.

I wish to make one narrow point of correction. In the 11th paragraph, Ms. Kane reports speaking to parents of children at Palouse Prairie Charter School. She asserts the school is able to select its student body via applications. I appreciate that the admission process to charter schools can be difficult to understand.

Charter schools in Idaho are public schools with equal access admissions policies. Admission to all Idaho charter schools, including Palouse Prairie, is governed by Idaho Code 33-5206 (11) which requires a lottery or other random method be used if there are more students wishing to attend than permitted under the school’s grade-level cap. To participate in the lottery, parents make an application to be entered into the lottery pool. Specific rules in the code describe preferences for returning students, children of siblings, those inside vs outside the school’s Primary Attendance Area, etc. No preferences are given regarding academic or other learning attributes of the child.

It is correct that families self-select to seek charter school admission, but Palouse Prairie’s experience with Mastery Based Learning is not shaped by an admission process that preferentially selects students by application as could be inferred from Ms. Kane’s statement.

Annually, charter schools hold lotteries and are required to have an outside observer. If one of your readers is curious to witness this process in action, they could volunteer to serve as an observer.

Nils Peterson

Moscow

commissioner, Idaho Public Charter School Commission

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Armitage is right for the 5th District

Currently my representative is representing the will of corporations and not the will of the people. A representative who represents their constituents is a future I see not only for our district but, for our country.

How can we trust someone to represent us when they aren’t one of us? Getting true representation starts with a representative who understands the struggles of the average citizen. Rarely do we see politicians who understand this daily struggle and who are willing to fight for you and me but, Washington’s 5th district, my district, has been given this opportunity. An opportunity for change, and an opportunity for true representation.

Chris Armitage will fight for a better healthcare system, fair pay, and a better world for the working class because he is working class. A vote for Chris is a vote for the people, because he is one of us.

Having Chris Armitage as our representative will be against the status quo, but will be for the people. My future representative will fight for us, and it is time for a new face, a change. A change geared to sincere representation, not geared towards corporations.

Boston Tacke

Otis Orchards, Wash.

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