Rep. Steven Harris Shares Why He’s A Charter School Advocate

Interview With Steven Harris

Steven HarrisRepresentative from District 21 and Charter School Advocate

Why are charter schools important for Idaho’s kids and families?

I believe school innovation and school choice are the best ways to get us out of our education doldrums. Parent involvement and student enthusiasm is the key to great education, and charter schools options encourage both. It’s clear from the long waiting lists found at most charter schools that Idaho parents and students are craving for the choice and innovation charter schools have to offer. It’s also clear from these same long lines that Idaho isn’t doing enough to allow charters to flourish. We need to do all we can strengthen school choice options. When we do, parents and students will naturally take care of the rest.

Can you tell us about your experiences and observations when visiting charter schools in Idaho?

I recently visited Meridian Medical Arts and the Meridian Technical charter schools. What a great experience! Everyone I met was excited to be there. And why not? They found a school environment that met their needs and interests. I spoke with the principal at one of the schools and was surprised to learn that the current funding formula actually limited their ability to grow, waiting list notwithstanding. How unfortunate that other students with similar desires aren’t able to have the same opportunity. We need to do all we can to remove such arbitrary obstacles.