Charter school families survive latest WEA union attack on their funding

Feb 9, 2018

The legislature is in session, and for a while it looked like public charter school families would once again be subjected to another mean-spirited attack by WEA union executives. 

Union executives have already tried, and thankfully failed, to close every charter school in the state, and they are currently pursuing a second lawsuit with the same object.

In the legislature this week, the Senate Ways and Means Committee considered SB 6362, a major education bill.  Democratic members tried to include a cut in funding for charter school teachers.

Fortunately, pro-charter school Democrats, joined by the Republicans, succeeded in gaining equity and fairness for charter school students.  As the bill stands now, charter school teacher salaries will receive the same state funding as teachers at other public schools. 

This is very good news for public education.  Public charter schools are critically important to the 2,500 students attending them, because they offer a public option for families in communities with underperforming schools.

Demand for charters is very high.  Two more will open this fall, and most charter schools have waiting lists.  Spokane International Charter School, for example, has more students on its waiting list (500) than attend school (414).

But charter schools are also important for all families, because they demonstrate ways teachers can improve learning in all schools.

Educating children is a complex human endeavor, a magical interaction between teacher and child.  In most public schools union regulations stifle innovation and professionalism.  Sometimes unions prevent teachers from staying late to help students, or scheduling evening or early morning meetings with busy parents.

In contrast, teachers at charter schools are respected professionals, free to do whatever it takes to help children learn.  For these educators, their ways of helping are only limited by the human imagination.

Charter schools have survived this latest attack on their funding from the reactionary WEA union.  This is good news for the children attending Washington’s successful charter schools. This is also good news for public education in Washington state.