Today is opening day for charter schools in Washington state
Today the Washington State Charter School Commission launched its charter school application process. The Commission invited communities and charter school pioneers to file their charter school applications. See the Commission's Request for Proposals, available here.
Charter school operators who plan to submit an application must notify the Commission by filing a Letter of Intent by October 22, and by submitting a completed application by November 22. On February 24, 2014, the Commission will announce the charters it has approved.
Washington’s new charter law authorizes the opening of eight charter schools a year, for a total of 40 schools in five years.
Spokane Public Schools, Washington’s second-largest school district, serving 28,738 students, has joined the effort to offer parents and students the chance to attend a charter school. Today Spokane also released its Request for Proposals, available here, with the same deadlines.
Next week, on October 1, we’ll learn the names of the other school districts in Washington which hope to join Spokane as charter school authorizers.
Why is opening day for charter schools so exciting? Because charter schools treat school principals and teachers with respect, by giving them the authority, autonomy and responsibility for educating students they deserve. Charter schools:
shift authority and control from school district bureaucracies to the principals and teachers in the schools;
allow school principals to choose the best teachers;
allow principals and teachers to choose the curriculum and educational program that works with their students;
allow principals and teachers to control the actual dollars in their budgets, so they can buy the supplies, tools, and innovative digital programs their students need;
allow principals and teachers to provide students five full days of school a week, and maybe even 180 full days of instruction, as the law intends;
hold principals and teachers responsible for improving student learning.
Is it any wonder that spirits soar on opening day?
This report is part of WPC's Initiative 1240 Follow Up Project.