First up, how the Board of Education picks its final cut, once it receives all the approved charter proposals from authorizers (either approved School Boards and the Charter Commission). Unclear part in italics:
Section 215, Pages 21-22
(2) To ensure compliance with the limits for establishing new charter schools, certification from the state board of education must be obtained before final authorization of a charter school. Within
ten days of taking action to approve or deny an application under section 214 of this act, an authorizer must submit a report of the action to the applicant and to the state board of education, which
must include a copy of the authorizer's resolution setting forth the action taken, the reasons for the decision, and assurances of compliance with the procedural requirements and application elements
under sections 213 and 214 of this act. The authorizer must also ndicate whether the charter school is designed to enroll and serve at-risk student populations. The state board of education must
establish, for each year in which charter schools may be authorized as part of the timeline to be established pursuant to section 214 of this act, the last date by which the authorizer must submit the report. The state board of education must send notice of the date to each authorizer no later than six months before the date.
(3) Upon the receipt of notice from an authorizer that a charter school has been approved, the state board of education shall certify whether the approval is in compliance with the limits on the maximum number of charters allowed under subsection (1) of this section. If the board receives simultaneous notification of approved charters that exceed the annual allowable limits in subsection (1) of this section, the board must select approved charters for implementation through a lottery process, and must assign implementation dates accordingly. (4) The state board of education must notify authorizers when the maximum allowable number of charter schools has been reached.
What would you say "simultaneous notification" means? The same minute? hour? day? I keep thinking this is some sneaky backdoor way to allow the Board of Education to select out who they want. (You'll note that the authorizer has to tell the BOE of proposals that serve at-risk kids but then what? Also to note, this is where the lottery comes into play.)
Next up, Section 208, where it states:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 208. WASHINGTON CHARTER SCHOOL COMMISSION. (1) The Washington charter school commission is established as an independent state agency whose mission is to authorize high quality public charter schools throughout the state, particularly schools
designed to expand opportunities for at-risk students, and to ensure the highest standards of accountability and oversight for these schools. The commission shall, through its management, supervision, and enforcement of the charter contracts, administer the portion of the public common school system consisting of the charter schools it authorizes as provided in this chapter, in the same manner as a school district board of directors, through its management, supervision, and
enforcement of the charter contracts, and pursuant to applicable law, administers the charter schools it authorizes.
How can the Charter Commission act like a School Board when it has nothing to do with budgets or policy? School Boards do not manage districts nor do they supervise anyone but a superintendent. And enforcing contracts? Not a Board member's job. Hmm. Any thoughts?
Again, in Section 208, members of the Charter Commission are chosen by Governor (3), Speaker of House (3) and President of Senate (3). No more than 5 can be in the same party and one must be a Washington State public school parent. But what does this mean?
(3) Members appointed to the commission shall collectively possess strong experience and expertise in public and nonprofit governance; management and finance; public school leadership, assessment,
curriculum, and instruction; and public education law. All members shall have demonstrated an understanding of and commitment to charter schooling as a strategy for strengthening public education.
What would you suppose "demonstrated and understanding of and commitment to charter schooling" means? If you came from a management and finance, how would you demonstrate that? What if there were a retired educator with solid accomplishments who had no particular feeling either way? Would that objectivity and experience be rejected for a true believer? Is it even legal to ask for this oath of fidelity?
3) All authorizers must develop and follow chartering policies and practices that are consistent with the principles and standards for quality charter authorizing developed by the national association of charter school authorizers in at least the following areas:
The National Association of Charter School Authorizers is funded by the Walton and Gates Foundations among others. Is it right for a major funder for the charter campaign to also fund the group whose policies charters have to follow?
Section 213 - Charter Applications - Content
(g) Background information on the proposed founding governing board members and, if identified, the proposed school leadership and management team;
Should there be qualifications/requirements to serve on a charter board for a charter school? None are required here.
(f) Evidence of need and parent and community support for the proposed charter school;
What do you think that evidence should look like for a charter application?
Section 225 - Annual Reports
3) Together with the issuance of the annual report following the fifth year after there have been charter schools operating for a full school year, the state board of education, in collaboration with the commission, shall submit a recommendation regarding whether or not the legislature should authorize the establishment of additional public charter schools.