As we in Washington state debate the wisdom of charter schools, the National PTA just re-affirmed its support for charters, reports Education Week. Specifically, the National PTA expanded its recommendation to include charter school applications that are approved by state authorizing commissions.
The official Voters’ Guide Pro and Con statements on Initiative 1240 just came out. I-1240 seeks to lift the state ban on charter schools. I was surprised to read in the Con statement the claim that, “Research conducted by Stanford University and others shows that, overall, charter schools do not perform better than public schools...”
On August 10th, the board of the Washington state PTA voted 11 to 6 to reverse the decision of 262 voting PTA delegates and not support charter schools as proposed in Initiative 1240, a measure that will appear on the ballot in November.
Initiative 1240 would lift the state ban on charter schools, independent public schools that are tuition-free and open to all students.
Today The Seattle Times reports the Governor’s budget forecast for next year, which shows a $1.5 billion revenue increase, also shows there’s not enough money to “meet K-12 spending mandated by the state Supreme Court.” This characterization of what the Court ruled is wrong.
This morning a new Task Force on Education Funding convened at Highline Community College in Washington state. Their job is to find $1.6 billion of cuts from state government to spend instead on all-day kindergarten for all, reduced class sizes in K-3, and other new education spending programs. Four state senators, four representatives and three appointees of the Governor, including the president of the state teacher’s union, are serving on the Task Force.
Yesterday, Peter Callaghan of The News Tribune reported that federal intervention in the education of Washington students has pushed state lawmakers and top education officials to pass “more reform.” Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn says the intervention of the federal government has been “phenomenal” and “I take my hat off to them.”
Last week, I wrote that on July 6, the federal government told Washington State to rewrite its teacher evaluation bill, SB 5895, as a condition of extending a one-year waiver from No Child Left Behind rules.
This afternoon the Secretary of State announced that Initiative 1240 has qualified for the November ballot. Supporters submitted a sufficient number of signatures, 357,000, to meet statutory requirements. This was done in a remarkably short period of time, 21 days, financed by charitable individuals, including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
On July 6, 2012, the federal Department of Education wrote Superintendent Randy Dorn granting Washington state a one-year waiver from No Child Left Behind requirements, renewable only if Washington amends the teacher evaluation bill passed last session, SB 5895. They have a lot of nerve.
Today, The Stand, the AFL-CIO union newsletter, published an article titled “21 reasons to oppose charter schools, Initiative 1240.” They are concerned that voters may pass Initiative 1240, which would lift Washington’s ban on charter schools and allow up to 40 charters. Initiative 1240 gives priority to poor and disadvantaged children, who have been ill-served by traditional one-size-fits-all urban school
A June 7 Education Week article reports that 23 states have passed laws to ease or eliminate state caps on charter schools, create new, independent entities to authorize them, and help charters secure more funding or better facilities.
The Education Week reporter calls this a flurry of new laws. I’d say it is more like a blizzard.
Today Thurston County Superior Court Judge Lisa Sutton gave final approval to the ballot title and short summary for the proposed charter public school initiative. The language is reported by The Olympian here. After getting a late start, supporters have just three weeks to collect 241,153 signatures necessary to place it on the November ballot.