Group calls for closing low-performing charter schools
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.
Initiative 1240 provides in Section 220 that a charter school which performs in the bottom 20 percent of the state’s Public School Accountability Index will not have its contract renewed.
This high standard — perform or you lose your license and money to operate — is not demanded of traditional public schools. The State Board of Education's own Public School Accountability Index shows that fully 42% of Washington’s traditional public schools rank in the lowest two tiers of performance, as “Fair” or “Struggling.” These low-performing schools continue to receive funding year after year, despite failing to adequately educate students. Forty-five schools, the lowest-performing 5% of schools, continue to fail class after class of students. The names of these schools can be found on the OSPI website, here. Five of the schools on this list are in Seattle.
During the charter school debate, opponents attempted to stoke fears that charter schools would not perform, while failing to mention that many traditional public schools are low-performing and failing. Fortunately, voters saw through this unfair double standard.
Voters understand that too many traditional public schools are not fulfilling the promise of an adequate public education. Voters in Washington want to try something new and different and better. Voters want schools held accountable for successfully educating children. Voters want charter public schools. And soon charter public schools will open in Washington state.