Governor Inslee sends mixed signals on whether he would save charter schools

Dec 17, 2015
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In the past Governor Inslee has said he opposes letting children attend charter schools.  Although governors in 41 other states support allowing their resident children attend a charter school, Washington appears to be the only state that is in the process of taking charter school learning away from children.

At today’s Olympia press conference about the coming legislative session, Governor Inslee would not say whether he would sign or veto a charter school authorization bill.

Weeks ago, on November 23rd, I sent this question to the governor’s office :

            Dear Mr. Postman (the Governor's new Chief of Staff),

Lawmakers are discussing a bill idea to allow charter schools to continue to operate in Washington state.  If a charter school bill is sent to him, has the Governor indicated whether he would veto it or sign it?

If he has taken a position, has the Governor explained his opposition or support of charter schools, or is he going to wait to see what the legislature does first?   

I would appreciate any information you can provide.  Thank you, Liv

So far, I have received no reply.

Earlier this month Governor Inslee announced his strong support for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This is the new federal education law to replace No Child Left Behind. The new law strongly supports charter schools and provides hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to expand charter school programs in states across the country. See this summary, Title V.  Although part of a larger law, Governor Inslee’s enthusiasm for the ESSA may extend to its charter school sections as well – it’s hard to say.

What is clear is there is broad bi-partisan support for charter schools in the Washington legislature. Work is underway now on a bi-partisan bill to save charter schools for Washington’s children.

Charter school families and teachers are cautiously hopeful, in this Season of Hope, that the Governor will sign a bill to save their schools. But so far no one knows quite what he will do.

This report is part of WPC's Charter School Follow-Up Project