It is unfortunate that Edith McHenry, through her influence, was able to deep six the Juneau Montessori Charter School program with the recent vote of the Alaska Board of Education. The Montessori program and philosophy in general is dedicated to admitting children of all races regardless of abilities or challenges; diversity and tolerance are the very core of Dr. Montessori's teachings.
Factually speaking, the Juneau Montessori program has met the minority targets established by the Juneau School District every year it was in operation since 1994. More recently it has been the desire to raise those minority targets; however the school district's attorney, Ann Gifford, has determined that considering race in an enrollment process is unconstitutional.
Regardless of this, the new Montessori Charter School pledged to do everything in its power to reach out and market to minority children to increase their access to the Montessori program. This goal would have been achieved if the program would have been allowed to proceed.
It is ironic that by using her considerable influence to stop the Juneau Montessori Charter school from proceeding and expanding it's population and access to more children, Edith McHenry's actions will be denying access to the very children she purports to be advocating for. Stopping the Juneau Montessori Charter School is not something I would want on my list of life accomplishments. This is a sad chapter for all of Juneau.
Larry J. Streuber
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