The Washington Policy Center had a whole article about how swell charter schools are doing, both in enrollment and outcomes. Over and over, charter supporters say there is "evidence" that students in former charter schools are doing better but they have given NO definitive, verifiable evidence. There are no baseline scores to say where the kids were before they came into the former charters and no explanation of what kinds of assessments were done (what? two months into school?) to show progress.
What I DID find was the following about charter schools in Washington State.
Soar Academy's Dec Board minutes reflect this:
"Kristina gave an update on enrollment that we are approximately 20% below target enrollment mostly due to families concerned with uncertainty around charter schools.
Apparently every former charter isn't full.
I also think it unseemly for Green Dot's Destiny Middle school to offer parents $5 gift card for referrals and free uniform shirts for students who enroll by a certain date. Real public schools generally don't try to bribe parents and students.
As well, Rainier Prep had this in their December minutes:
"Ms. O’Sullivan reported on the current reading data. Specifically,she reported that for the 5th grade, 23% of the students are at K-2nd grade reading level; 39% are at 3rd-4th grade level; 21% are at 5th grade level; and 17% are above grade level.
For 6th grade, Ms. O’Sullivan reported 10% of the students are at 1st-3rd grade level; 44% are at 4th-5th grade level; 15% are at 6th grade level; and 31% are above grade level."
So apparently not all charter school students are doing better - not when you have over 50% of 5th graders not reading at grade level and for 6th grade, you have over 55% not at grade level.
The Senate's charter bill has been blended with the House's (they were identical) into E2SSB 6194. The House Education Committee, headed by Seattle's Sharon Tomiko-Santos, will hear the bill at 1:30 pm on Friday, Feb. 19, 2016.
The only Seattle legislator on the House bill is, of course, Eric Pettigrew. He and Larry Springer are the only Dems on the House bill along with about 20 Republicans. That's not bi-partisan.
But, it is important for you to make your views known to your legislators. As my previous thread on the editorial by the Times about supporting McCleary shows, nearly all the major newspapers in this state seem to think McCleary is not getting the attention it deserves and the state, the schools and the students are going to pay a heavy price for that inattention.
PLEASE call or write your legislator before Friday. They NEED to hear from you. Make sure you tell them you are a constituent AND that you vote.
You may send a brief message to your district legislators through the in-state toll-free Hotline number:
Hearing Impaired can send a brief message to their district legislators through the in-state toll-free TTY Hotline number:
You may send an e-mail message to your legislator by using the legislator e-mail services at
I believe there was a lot of pressure on Rep. Tomiko-Santos to bring
this to a hearing and good for her for allowing it. It might make it
out of committee but I doubt it would pass in the House and the Governor
is not going to sign it. The Governor has made clear his non-belief in
If this bill passes into law, it will not withstand a judicial review. Inslee's not going to sign a law (or let pass into law) that has trouble written all over it.
Because, just like the last charter law, it does NOT include oversight by the state superintendent of public instruction (see Article III, Section22 of the constitution that gives the superintendent oversee over ALL public schools, not just common schools.)
Additionally, it still includes the conversion charter provision that would allow ANY school in our district (or any district) to be taken over by a charter operator who had both an approved charter AND a petition signed by a majority of parents OR teachers at a school.
What that means in plain terms is that a charter operator could upend a school (a school with, say, 20 teachers) by having 11 teachers sign a petition that they approved. Eleven people cannot decide the fate of an entire school community. Nor should any non-profit be able to take over use of a public building (the district would retain ownership and would have to do all major maintenance repairs.)
I believe the conversion clause would fall under "gifting of public funds" and would not withstand a judicial challenge.
Why are these bills being created that are not going to withstand judicial scrutiny? I can only think it's arrogance and hubris.
The Washington State Charter Schools Association is going to have a full-court press at the hearing. More busing in of students from former charter schools is highly likely. (And I note that Rep. Chad Magendanz sneered at the PTA for not bringing in more public school students for PTA Focus Day. It was not on a holiday and, I suspect, most parents believe their children should be in school learning than sitting in a hearing for hours.)
I myself will be going to Olympia to testify.
Interestingly, the Tacoma News Tribune has a pretty weak editorial on supporting charter schools but even they say this:
It’s too soon to take full measure of Washington’s charter experiment. Five months isn’t sufficient to tell whether the schools will shift paradigms, reverse the fortunes of disadvantaged urban students and disprove fears that scarce resources will be drained from traditional public schools.