Ballots drop this week so look for yours in the mail. What can you do? Get out that e-mail list and bravely ask your friends, family and anyone else to give due consideration for the candidates of your choice for School Board. I find that, like Port Commission, most people are lost on School Board candidates. Tell your e-mail list who you are voting for and why and ask for their consideration for a vote.
Also to note, the Vote the Moms Facebook page. Good place for updates on the School Board challengers.
I receive the Washington State PTSA Council listservr and found quite a lively (and somewhat tense) back-and-forth over the PTSA support of charter legislation. Here's what the actual wording is (which surprised me):
The Washington State PTA shall initiate and/or support legislation or policiesthat drive innovation and accountability in public education by allowing the operationof public charter schools in the state of Washington.
The PTSA might write the legislation? That's a pretty big deal.
There were more than a few PTSA people unhappy at the lack of opportunity to debate this issue at the legislative assembly. Government Relations Coordinator, Ramona Hattendorf, explained how they allow debate. It's fairly long but it seems to be missing debating during the actual intro of the measure. The debate at the listserv seems to be over mistrust of whether corporations have too much control/influence on charters or are a good thing for charters and schools.
Rep. Reuven Carlyle has some thoughts on buying textbooks at his blog. A few excerpts :
As far as I can figure out, the State of Washington sends $64,344,99.66 from Olympia to our 295 school districts per year to outfit our 1,034,153 students with textbooks. That does not include millions more that local school districts spend from local levies.
I plan to introduce comprehensive legislation in 2012 to change the state of Washington’s model with respect to K-12 textbooks. Rather than blindly sending $64 million to 295 districts as a general model without regard to content, quality or other factors, I propose that we hold back a small piece of that allocation in order to access the highest quality Open Educational Resources in the world and train our teachers, administrators and districts how to access this extraordinary and extremely low cost resource. The details will be announced closer to the January legislative session.
But one element of this plan to keep in mind: The State of Washington has embraced Common Core Standards. This means that so many of the Open Educational Resources being developed in the U.S. and around the world are already designed, from scratch, to meet those standards. So the ‘customization’ needed in Washington is modest at best.