Yesterday the Seattle Times posted a well-reasoned, well-written editorial about the state teachers union (WEA) plan to file a lawsuit to prevent Washington school children from attending charter schools.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn today announced he wants the legislature to amend newly-enacted Initiative 1240 to place state-level administrative authority over charter schools within his office. He says this will remove the constitutional objections he has to the Initiative. Washington State Wire breaks the story here.
On Friday morning, Steve Scher of KUOW Radio (NPR-Seattle) interviewed Mary Lindquist, president of the state teachers union (WEA), about the union’s lawsuit to block children’s access to voter-approved charter schools. Here is a part of their conversation (at 12:15):
Over the holidays, Washington Education Association executives decided to sue voters over Initiative 1240, the people’s charter school initiative, according to a posting on Facebook. I-1240 gives priority to new charter schools that serve at-risk students from low-performing traditional public schools. Here is the union’s statement:
Today Mary Lindquist, president of the Washington Education Association, posted a cranky attack on legislative leaders Senators Tom, Litzow and Sheldon. She claims they have been “slashing school funding by $2.5 billion.”
The election results are barely certified for voter-approved Initiative 1240, the most hopeful education reform passed in Washington in decades. Opponents have formed a group to prevent children in need from attending a charter school. A new group called Protect Our Public Schools (POPS) has announced its creation as an affiliate of a national group that works against education reform in the states (see announcement below).
KOMO News and Q13 Fox are reporting that schools in Washington are using padded cells to isolate special needs children who misbehave. Responding to public outrage, the Longview School District just announced it will discontinue the practice. The Burlington School District defends use of this practice.
Today’s Seattle Times reports that the National Association of Charter School Authorizers says that states with weak charter laws should strengthen their laws to shut down their low-performing charter schools. Fortunately Washington's brand-new charter law is one of the strongest laws in the country.
Yesterday, Dick Nelson of Crosscut, an online newspaper, posted an article about education reform groups supported by business in Washington state. The article attracted an excellent comment from Kate Martin, which you can read in full here (see fifth comment down, labeled "Editor's Pick).
Saturday afternoon the Initiative 1240 campaign announced that voters have approved the charter school measure. Opponents refuse to concede until every vote is counted, but this morning the Secretary of State’s website shows that with 91% of the vote counted, Yes votes exceed No votes by 44,193, gaining over the numbers reported on Saturday.
If Initiative 1240 passes tomorrow, education entrepreneurs will be able to use the charter school model to develop authentically innovative ways to motivate and educate high-school students. One great example of a new idea in education is PTech High charter school, which opened in New York City on September 8, 2011 with a class of ninth- graders. The school will run for six years, from grade nine to grade 14.
There’s a joke among policy researchers that if you can’t find the numbers to support your conclusion just make some up. 642 sounds nice. 432,396 looks impressive in many cases. How about 100 million? Now that’s a nice round number.
But it’s distressing when the invent-a-number game goes beyond humor and is used in the public debate over serious issues, like whether Initiative 1240 to allow charter schools would help struggling school children.
The official Voters Guide to Initiative 1240, the charter school initiative, is worrying some voters that passing this measure will lead to a tax increase. This is not an unreasonable fear, but the fact is that Initiative 1240 would not require a tax increase.
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).