Regrettable charter school precedent

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Although I no longer have children in the Juneau schools, I was sorry to see that the state Board of Education denied the Montessori charter school application. As I understand it, the existing program has been popular, and the charter school would have made Montessori education available to more students.

Even more unfortunate is the board's decision to deny the application because the existing program has 28 percent minority students rather than the expected 40 percent. The important question is why the 12 percent difference exists. If it is because of discrimination, then the discrimination (not the program) should be ended immediately. But, if it is because of parental choice, then the 12 percent difference should be irrelevant.

Why should the 28 percent of potential minority students be denied access to the Montessori program just because there aren't more of them? Must beneficial programs like Native language immersion courses be denied if minority enrollment is more (or less) than 40 percent? The state board has set a precedent that it may regret.

Pamela Finley


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