Testimony to the Senate Education Committee
By Terry Ryan, President
Idaho Charter School Network
February 27, 2014
Chairmen Goedde, Vice-Chair Mortimer and members of the Senate Education Committee, thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today. My name is Terry Ryan and I am president of the Idaho Charter School Network. Eighty-five percent of Idaho’s charters, representing more than 90 percent of the state’s charter school students, are members of the Network.
The Network believes that Idaho families should have the freedom to choose the schools and educational environments that are best for their children. Parents who make a proactive decision around their kids’ schooling have more skin in the game than those who don’t understand they have options and simply take what they get.
Family choices today in K-12 education encompass not only decisions to live in certain neighborhoods because of the quality of the public schools, but private schools, public charter schools, home schooling, magnet schools, alternative schools and on-line learning through both virtual schools and hybrid models of blending classroom and on-line instruction.
School choice empowers parents to better meet the needs of their children, and it facilitates the customization of educational opportunities for students. The Upstart pre-K program in Utah could provide similar opportunities for parents of Idaho’s youngest children. Upstart forms a partnership with parents to ensure their pre-school age children obtain the education necessary to start them on the path to success in school.
All schools benefit when children show up to kindergarten with strong early basic literacy and mathematical skills. This is why I got so excited when I first spoke with Claudia Miner last autumn and discovered the excellent work she and her team were doing with Upstart. More than 7,000 children in Utah have benefited from the work of Upstart. Because Utah, like Idaho, is a large state with swaths of rural population the lessons learned by Claudia and her colleagues are highly relevant to efforts here.
It is now my pleasure to turn the conversation over to Claudia.
View the full presentation by Claudia Miner: UPSTART Presentation