Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Ramona Hattendorf Sets the Record Straight
A message from Ramona Hattendorf, Washington State PTA Government Relations Coordinator:
There seems to be confusion about WSPTA’s position on charter public schools.
There has been no change in the WSPTA position on charters. The association has qualified support. Please note "qualified." On this blog and others individuals have been posting assumptions and outright fabrications about what I personally am doing and supporting and actions that WSPTA is taking.
I know you value clarity, and while you like to inspire debate it is not your intention to spread misinformation.
To clarify various posts on your blog:
Nationally, PTA has a qualified position in favor of charter public schools: http://www.pta.org/topic_posititon_statement_support-for_public_education.asp
This means that while the association is not anti-charter, neither does it embrace all charters or all charter legislation. We have a filter; you can read it here: http://wsptagrassroots.blogspot.com/2011/11/support-for-charter-schools.html
(This was shared via Grassroots in November 2011 and was shared with council leaders across the state):
The companion bills introduced this legislative session (in January) are not "PTA bills." LEV and Stand have been active in their drafting, as have the advocacy arms of Boeing and Microsoft. The testimony posted on our Grassroots blog has been our position on the current charter bills since January, when they were heard in session. We think they can be better. They are an effort to close the achievement gap (another of our priorities), and for that we are appreciative.
This filter is important because it was a key part of conversation at our legislative assembly when delegates discussed charters. They endorsed knowing the association has a filter; that we would be looking for specific qualities; and that we would reserve support for legislation that fit our criteria. We wouldn’t just push any bill. But we would be open to new ideas.
Per the charter school forum, I spent about 10 minutes – most of my allotted time – reviewing what WSPTA would look for in a charter school. I did let attendees know there was a bill introduced, and that we did not take a position but rather gave feedback on what would make it better. If the bill was re-written to accommodate our concerns, we would support, per the direction given by delegates at our legislative assembly.
If you have questions about positions WSPTA has taken on specific legislation please don't hesitate to ask. It is rare that a bill passes through the legislature without amendments, and it is not uncommon for testimony to be somewhat neutral or "with concerns." And in complex legislation it is common to support parts, and oppose or be neutral on others.
Also, I do not determine WSPTA positions. I consult a body of PTA positions, and I confer with our association's president, executive director and legislative director on specific testimony. Delegates determine WSPTA positions at legislative assembly and at convention. If a member wants to change a position, they must submit a proposal and convince the voting delegates.
You can find all of our positions here: http://www.wastatepta.org/advocacy/association_position/index.html
Some are short-term (legislative platform), others long-term (legislative principles and resolutions). National PTA positions are also WSPTA positions.
You can find our federal agenda here: http://www.pta.org/public_policy.asp
Finally, we always encourage members to advocate for what they hold dear – even when that conflicts with association positions. We have conservative, liberal, urban and rural members. What we agree on is that kids come first. We don't claim to speak for the general public, or all parents or all teachers or even all parent-teacher organizations. We speak for our association, and we follow a formal process to arrive at our positions.
Government relations coordinator
Washington State PTA