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USE LOTTERY TO SELECT CHARTER SCHOOL PUPILS

I have generally been opposed to charter schools because I believe that they would unfairly drain money from the public schools, leaving them responsible for the most difficult students. The public schools would still have to accept all students, while the charters would have the same selective advantage as the parochial and private schools. This would virtually doom the public schools to fail.

Here is the solution: Make the charter schools select from the same pool of students as public schools. Every year, every student should be evaluated and put into the lottery pool for every school that he is eligible for. This means that every kid will really have a chance to move ahead.

In the other system, the charter schools choose from a self-selected pool of better-off children. In the current scheme, the lotteries for these schools are made up of children who have parents interested enough to take the time to fill out applications. This doubly disadvantages kids whose parents can't or won't take a real interest in their education. The current system set up for charter schools (and proposed for vouchers) will only help the kids who would rise anyway.

THOMAS J. SCHMIT

Buffalo

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