Update: It passed overwhelmingly but we'll have to see what the Senate says. Here's a good accounting from the Huffington Post on this bill. To note:
Mary Kusler, the NEA's government relations director, also raised
concerns about accountability. "Some provisions of the underlying bill
represent improvements, such as requiring greater charter authorizer
accountability, and including weighted lotteries to address
under-enrollment of disadvantaged students," she wrote. "However, the
underlying bill falls short in key areas: including no mandatory
disclosure and reporting on key data including funding from private
sources, no independent audit requirements, no open meetings
requirements and no conflict of interest guidelines."
Funny because DFER and others in Washington State continue to go on and on about charters being "public schools." If they don't have to report their data and don't have to have open meetings, it doesn't sound all that "public."
End of update.
Which is the Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act and will expand - even more quickly - charter schools. What is really disturbing about this is that it is almost designed to punish any state that choose a more methodical or "go slow" method of charter approval or expansion. NY Times story for more information.
What's very sad is that Congress cannot work together - and hasn't for the last several years - to overhaul NCLB so they are going at the work piecemeal.
Here's contact information for Washington State.