Every week, LEV's leader, Chris Korsmo does a column at their webpage. She tries pretty hard to be funny but it usually falls somewhat flat. (If you are not a naturally funny writer, efforts to be funny just don't work.) This is part of what she had to say this week on charter legislation:
I don’t know about you, but if one more person tells me that they wish we could do something about the achievement gap, but bringing public charter schools to Washington will only help a few kids, somethin’s gotta give. I swear I’m going to go buy every copy of Schindler’s List I can find and hand them out like a human Pez dispenser.
Here's my reply:
Well, as LEV has itself pointed out, only 17% of charters do better than traditional public schools so yes, there is a very real chance that if charter legislation passed, it would only help a few kids.
What does the holocaust have to do with public education in Washington State?
It is a bit baffling that she chose Schindler's List to illustrate her point on closing the achievement gap with charter schools (and, Pez is a candy so it would be used to hand out books?).
She goes on:
As in previous years and iterations, the issue is not without its controversy. Goodness knows change doesn’t come without its dissenters. But even of those who support the issue, some think it has no chance. They are wrong. But we have to act now. We must push to get these bills voted out of committee over the next five days. While we wouldn’t be completely sunk if they didn’t it would be optimal if we could get the bills out of the house and senate committees by the Tuesday, January 31 cutoff.
The bill doesn't have "no chance." From those I know who know the Legislature, it has little chance. Word is that it won't make it out of one (or both) committees.
Mostly, I think it's about timing. This is just not the time to bring on more spending and more bureaucracy that isn't going straight to the classroom. And, of course, if we aren't fully-funding existing schools, how is bringing on more underfunded schools going to help?
Between the lack of funding and the low rate of success for charter schools, I wouldn't be surprised if this legislation fails.
However, Ms. Korsmo is right about one thing; it's not over until it's over. We do have a link on the homepage (to the right of the blog threads) to the Legislature. Let your legislator know what you think.