The Vision of the Coalition of Charter School Families is for Idaho to be a leader in providing educational innovation and excellence through the creation of more Public Charter Schools.
Our Mission is to promote and advocate for public policy in Idaho that furthers the advancement of charter schools and the innovations in education they represent. The Coalition works to ensure that every Idaho student has equal access to the option of enrolling in a public charter school whether it offers instruction in a traditional classroom or a virtual setting.
The Coalition is unique because it is the voice of parents, grandparents, teachers, and students who support the expansion of charter school broadly throughout Idaho. Parents and students should have alternates to the schools they are assigned to because of where they live.
The Coalition started over 15 years ago to give voice to parents and students who want to choose the school that is the best “fit” for their student. Prior to the advent of Charter Schools, students had no “public school choice.” Their students had to attend their “zip code” school or find the financial resources to attend a private school. Charter schools are a public school option.
In Idaho, early Charter Schools faced strong push back from the education community because Charters were seen as weakening public schools. In actuality, charters have shown that they strengthen all education. Charter schools are now supported by many Idahoans. In a recent poll on education attitudes by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, fewer than half of Idahoans would recommend their school district to someone looking to get a top-notch education for their children. Eight out of 10 Idahoans support charter schools; and half of Idahoans say education is the biggest issue facing the state, followed by the economy (40 percent) and the environment (9 percent).
PRESIDENT TOM LECLAIRE
VICE PRESIDENT Stephanie Rose
SECRETARY/TREASURER Leslie Maulden
Coalition Manager Jane Wittmeyer 208-859-9656
Idaho Parent Organization: Virtual Charter School Study an Insult to Parents and Students Benefitting from School Choice
Study ignores parents; bases results on high-stakes testing
BOISE — Today, Coalition of Idaho Charter School Families responded to a newly released study about an important public school option for thousands of families across the country: online charter schools.
Alyssa Antoniuk, Coalition of Idaho Charter School Families President and choice advocate, said, “It is a shame that parents were not included in this important conversation. We know why we chose the school of choice that works best for our children. We see them succeed in their school of choice and would be willing to share our stories with anyone who asked us.”
The recently released Virtual Charter School Study includes questionable methodology and conclusions that are questionable, such as:
1. Parents of students in online charter schools were not part of the study or its conclusions – the very parents making the decision to use this important public school option were not part of the research or results.
2. The study does not account for the many reasons that students and parents choose online charter schools in the first place.
3. Conclusions were based solely on high-stakes testing, at a time when many school districts, parents, teachers, and lawmakers are pressing the “pause button” on testing as an accurate way to measure individual student success. Just days ago even the President addressed ongoing concerns about over-testing.
4. The conclusions were based on school-wide performance, not individual student success, despite recent polling that underscores the importance of not using school-wide test results as a measure of success.
• 74 percent of respondents agree that accountability systems should focus on individual student vs. whole student populations;
• 63 percent agree that when evaluating a school, individual student learning is more important than overall school performance;
• 73 percent agree that a grade level a school is given by the state is not an accurate measure of the success of the individual students in it.
5. This study uses a “virtual twin” methodology that fails to analyze or account for factors in the lives of actual students, including enrollment dates, progress over time enrolled in an online charter school, or reasons why students enrolled in that option.
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Coalition of Idaho Charter School Families
PO Box 6236 | Boise, ID 83707-6236
877-792-5900 or 208-859-9656
The Idaho legislature passed the Idaho Charter School Law in 1998. Since the law was passed Idaho has seen 54 charter school open and seven schools close.
For more information about Idaho’s charter schools, visit the Charter School section of the Idaho State Department of Education website.