The Olympian, The Seattle Times, The Yakima Herald-Republic call on the House to pass charter school fix

Feb 29, 2016


Early last Thursday morning, the House Education Committee blocked a vote on SB 6194, the charter school fix passed by the Senate last month. Within a couple of hours more than 600 charter school students, families and teachers rallied within the Capitol Building Rotunda, imploring the House of Representatives to save their schools. Their young voices instantaneously resonated across Twitter. Three influential newspapers across Washington state then swiftly criticized the House Education Committee for blocking the charter school fix. On Saturday and Sunday The Seattle Times, The Yakima Herald and The Olympian called on the Legislature to save charter schools. Below are the high points from these editorials.  

The Seattle Times wrote this:

Voters wanted charter schools as an option in this state. The Senate approved a bill that answered the Supreme Court’s concerns. The House Education Committee has deliberately let the issue languish and now seems to be obstructing a solution.

Which brings us back to those 1,200 charter-school students. Without a remedy, those schools will be decimated, unable to plan, apply for grants, keep their fine teachers. That is unacceptable.

Time for Speaker Chopp and Rep. Sullivan to make sure the full House gets to vote on this charter-school remedy.

The Yakima Herald wrote:


The [charter] schools already have brought together students, parents, educators and community members who have invested their time and toil to set up the schools. A number of individuals in the Yakima Valley have signaled that they would like to follow suit. The Legislature is letting down these committed charter school supporters — present and future — if they heed the critics who reflexively fear that something different just might be something better.

The Olympian wrote:

“…But charters should be available as a legitimate educational alternative — especially for families and students in poorer households that have been underserved by ordinary public schools — until data show they are not delivering results. So far, results are highly promising.”

The Seattle Times specifically called on Speaker of the House Frank Chopp and Majority Leader Pat Sullivan to move SB 6194 to the House floor for a vote. These leaders are permitted by House rules to pull SB 6194 to the floor of the broader House of Representatives for a vote.

Both leaders have indicated support for charter schools in the past. Speaker Frank Chopp cast a deciding vote for the Washington Charter Schools Act passed by the Legislature in 2004, as reported here. House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan visited Excel Public Charter School and now supports the opportunities students have at charter schools, as reported here. Other avenues for saving charter schools are also possible. Several “title-only bills” relating to education have recently been filed in the House and in the Senate.  

House leaders and members will soon decide whether to close the charter schools of low-income and minority children, or save these successful schools. The representatives of the people in the House will also decide whether to allow additional charter schools to bring other exciting improvements in public education to deserving children, or to block the most successful innovation in public education in a generation.   

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