Update: Linda Shaw of the Times attended. Here's what she had to say (leaving out that none of the Board got invited):
McGinn said he's open to the idea. He may have voted against them three times, as he said Friday that he thinks he did, but his questions showed a lot of interest in charters -- the publicly funded but privately run schools that exist in all but 10 states, one of which is Washington.
During the meeting he organized at City Hall, McGinn also suggested that charters might be a way to attract more students to Seattle's public schools.
It's kind of like the Microsoft Connector bus from Seattle to that company's headquarters, he said, saying he wonders why the city isn't running that as a public service instead.
"I think there's an analogy there," he said.
I have no idea what he's talking about with Microsoft. And memo to the Mayor, enrollment in SPS went up by 900-1000 this year and Peter Maier said last night that they expect it this next school year as well. Hmmm.
End of Update
I learned Mayor is having an informational briefing tomorrow morning about charter schools. It will be done by two staff from the Center for Reinventing Public Education from UW. Now this is fine but I will say that the CRPE is not exactly neutral on charters (the majority of their research is around it with them being in the pro column). Of course, it is a little odd use of time in a state that has no charter law and has turned it down three times.
When I saw the e-mail yesterday, I called and asked if I could come and listen. The staffer was very nice, said no and then said he would check. I was told today, sorry but no.
The issue isn't so much that I can't go. I'm sure there won't be any other media there but I operate on the "it doesn't hurt to ask" policy.
What is interesting is who they did (and didn't) invite. It's a lot of City Hall staff but for City Council I only see Tim Burgess on the list (which is fine because he's the head of the committee that includes education issues). They did invite the Superintendent and Holly Ferguson (who is the lead governance person at SPS). They invited people from the Gates Foundation which is okay because, of course, they work on education issues. But then they invited the head of the Chamber of Commerce and people from Microsoft itself who don't have anything to do with education.
And, they invited NO School Board members.
Now I went to the School Board Work Session on the budget yesterday and casually asked a couple of members if they had been invited. They all put on their best poker faces but admitted no, they hadn't been and knew nothing about it. (I did tell them the Superintendent had been invited.) Steve Sundquist said that it wasn't in the Board's power or the Mayor's power to create charters (you absolutely have to have a state charter law and we don't). I could tell it was a little puzzling to them.
I asked the staff why no Board members were invited and he said it was people the Mayor chose. So my thought is why didn't he invite the elected officials who do oversee education in this city? Dr. Goodloe-Johnson, even if we had charter law in the state, couldn't do it on her own either.
I also asked him why the Mayor was interested. He said lots of people are interested in charters like me. I pointed out that I do write an education blog.
Some people had been telling me that the Mayor had been asking about charters but I really thought that was a mistake on their part. Now I'm not so sure.
Something to keep on our radar.