Last Monday night, over 1,600 people in Bellevue and Spokane attended Washington Policy Center’s annual dinner. At the dinner we gave our 2012 Champion of Freedom award to the four prime co-sponsors of last session's charter school bill: Representative Eric Pettigrew (D-Seattle), Representative Glenn Anderson (R-Fall City), Senator Rodney Tom (D-Bellevue) and Senator Steve Litzow (R-Mercer Island).
Tonight the Seattle School Board will decide on a resolution against Initiative 1240, the charter school measure, which polls show voters are likely to pass in November. Unfortunately, the Seattle School Board is likely to pass this resolution. This Board has shown an unwillingness to consider innovative changes to the way schools are run, and it strongly opposes any threat to its top-down, central power over the 93 schools in the district.
On Wednesday, Seattle Times education reporter Linda Shaw wrote an informative piece about the Technology Access Foundation Academy (TAF), a special school in Federal Way that produces good results in preparing minority students for careers in math, science and technology.
Our board recently announced it is giving this year’s Champion of Freedom Award to the 32 Democratic and Republican lawmakers who sponsored the bill to allow public charter schools in Washington.
The Award will be formally presented on October 15th at our Annual Dinner in Bellevue, simulcast in Spokane, attended by over 1,500 supporters.
The prime sponsors of HB 2428 and SB 6202 will receive special recognition: Representative Eric Pettigrew (D-Seattle), Representative Glenn Anderson (R-Fall City), Senator Steve Litzow (R-Mercer Island), and Senator Rodney Tom (D-Bellevue).
I’ve been speaking to civic groups about Initiative 1240 and one question I get is whether charter schools are unconstitutional in our state. As an attorney my first instinct was to write an 80-page brief in response. But I realized even other attorneys would find that boring, so I came up with something more concise. Here’s my response.
The main constitutional objections are that charter schools would be run by “corporate boards” and that they would not be under the supervision of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Opponents of Initiative 1240, the charter school measure, are disseminating a study known as the CREDO study. We have criticized this cherry-picking here. Another reason to be wary of this study comes from CREDO’s director, Margaret Raymond. She now says the variation in charter school performance can be traced to the quality of state laws authorizing and overseeing charter schools.
I hear that school administrators are telling legislators that the poverty of the children is why so many conventional schools in Washington fail so many children. The Public School Accountability Index shows that in 2011, fully 41.9% of Washington’s schools ranked on the lowest two tiers of achievement, as either “Fair” or “Struggling.”
As the burgeoning teachers strike closed schoolhouse doors across the Windy City Monday, parents of 350,000 students scrambled to secure daycare or make other arrangements while their children’s education is delayed. No one knows how long the strike will last, or what the lasting impact will be on Chicago school kids.
Yesterday, KING 5’s Up Front show with Robert Mak had a report about what parents in Washington could do if voters pass Initiative 1240, the charter school measure.
Parents at Oregon's Sauvie Island school, 20 miles north of Portland, were worried. Student enrollment had fallen to 80 students. So in 2010 they asked their district if they could convert Sauvie Island school to a charter school. The district approved their application in January 2011 and Sauvie Island Academy opened as a charter school in September of 2011.
I received a call from Jerry Cornfield, reporter and political columnist at The Everett Herald, with a research request about Initiative 1240, the ballot measure to allow charter schools in Washington. He asked a good question: “How does Initiative 1240 compare with the model for high-quality charter schools developed by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools?”
Seattle Times reporter Brian M. Rosenthal doesn't seem to like charter schools, and it shows. In his August 29th article he says charter school opponents "...expect voters to be wary of siphoning off money for charters..." He repeats this tired fabrication without explaining that charter schools are public schools, so they don't "siphon off money."
In re-reading the text of Initiative 1240, the ballot measure to allow charter schools, it occurred to me that, if it passes, the state PTA might be prohibited from participating in the state charter school authorizing process. Here’s why.
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.