Opinion

Initiatives foster dynamic educational marketplace

Initiatives 173 & 177 In your 3/25/96 edition, reporter Jeff Switzer quoted Pat Strosahl as stating that we don't need vouchers because "we have site-based management and alternative programs for schools now." Why am I not convinced?
   A Feb. 7 report of the Joint Bargaining Commission in Shoreline sheds some light on the issue. The commission reported that teachers were still unclear about "who makes what decisions" in the third year of site-based management. Teachers were also confused about "what is a district decision or program and what is site-based."
   How about alternative programs? Shoreline has a highly regarded parent-governed program called Room 9. Despite a waiting list of some 250 students, only siblings of current Room 9 students will be admitted to the entering kindergarten class in September. Some alternative!
   Under the authority of HB-1209, the Commission on Student Learning is slowly grinding out a long list of goals, essential academic learning requirements (often called EALRs), and grade-level benchmarks for various core subjects. The commission's efforts are noble, perhaps even essential, but incredibly boring.
   Initiatives 173 and 177, on the other hand, attempt to foster a more dynamic educational marketplace. They give parents and teachers the opportunity to find or create schools that match their children's needs while realizing their own educational values and vision.

William Lehr, Lake Forest Park