LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:The Seattle Times, October 8, 2004

Saved by the Noble

Excellent editorial (" 'Yes' for Charter School Reform"), and I agreed, right up to the last sentence. We do not need to "help these schools" (which are failing to educate our children); we do need to help our children who are stuck in failing public schools with no choices but to suffer or quit. Charter schools in these neighborhoods at least (would) give them another chance at an education, and that will serve all of us — as a society of educated individuals.

The unions may see schools as their monopoly, but that government-granted status has not served our children well, in many cases not at all. Referendum 55, the charter school referendum, is a cheap answer to a tough problem, and certainly worth a try, for the children!

-Margaret Wiggins, Bothell

Exit Double-Dire

Seattle parents need the freedom to exit provided by charter schools. Seattle Public Schools has among the worst results and highest budgets of any public school district in Washington. Those parents who can afford it choose private schooling in a higher proportion than the parents in any other substantial Washington school district. There are no charter schools in the Seattle area, so those parents unable to afford private schooling have no choice but to send their children to public schools.

Most Seattle Public Schools parents until recently believed that all they were putting at risk was their children's education. But Dick Startz of the University of Washington, in "Blocking School Exit Doors Puts Children at Risk" (guest commentary, Oct. 1), has informed us that parents who send their children to Seattle public schools are sending their children to buildings where, in defiance of fire regulation, locked doors prevent exit in case of fire.

The Seattle School Board wants to keep students locked into its schools. The information given by Startz is an extra reason to vote for Referendum 55.

-Levis Kochin, Seattle

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