Friday, March 11, 2016

Governor Inslee Should Veto the Charter School Bill

 Update: from the tell-it-like-it-is pages of The Stranger, their view on the current charter school situation in Washington State.

end of update.

The Governor sounded more annoyed than upset at last night's press conference.  Basically, he asked why the legislature couldn't get its most basic duty done which was to produce the session's Supplemental Budget.

Sure, they had hours of time to discuss charter schools and transgendered restrooms but fully-funding schools via the McCleary decision? Nah. The budget?  Ditto.

So the Governor held true to his word when he said no budget and he would be vetoing bills and he vetoed 27 bills and signed 10 (most of them about public safety.)  None of them were the charter school bill which got to his desk late. 

From Washington's Paramount Duty's Summer Stinson:
The legislation can override each veto with 2/3 vote. Or legislature can reintroduce each bill. Bills sent to governor's desk within past five days are not up for action yet. He can sit on those for a bit or veto.
I note that the Governor has a third choice on bills which is to do nothing and they then pass into law.  

Also, for bills not delivered to him five days before the session ends, he has 20 days in which he can act.  That includes the charter school bill.

That's a bit unfortunate because that allows big-money charter supporters to put a full-court guilt trip on the Governor (this issue of "closing schools.")

My belief is that he will sit down and carefully consider what it all might look like to voters and especially members of the Democratic party that he belongs to and who got him elected.  As well, there is the Democratic platform that he got elected from as well the the state constitution that he swore to uphold.  That would be a lot to turn his back on.

As well,


- The Governor has said that his "stance has not changed."  If he means his charter school stance that he ran on and stated throughout his term, that would be that he is against charter schools.  To change that stance and NOT tell voters until he signs a charter school law would be pretty appalling.  

-Students at former charter schools DO have someplace to go next fall.  There is a place for each and every one of them at traditional public schools.  I appreciate that they and their parents don't want that but I believe in the constitution more than I believe in choice.  It's the backbone of our society and our state/nation and probably one of the most important things that students can learn in school.

As well, most of those schools likely would not have opened full had the Charter Commission and the charter schools fully informed prospective parents of the litigation (and the charter bill now has this included - it's that important.)  

Most of those schools would not have opened had charter supporters filed a "expedited ruling" with the Supreme Court.  They did not.

All this anguish for these students and families could have been avoided or blunted had the moneyed charter supporters cared enough to protect them.  The families of the students are blameless but I believe they were props and a means to an end for the heavy-hitters for charter support in this state.

- The Governor stated that he likes "innovation" but I don't see a lot of true innovation at most of the charters.  I think they focus in a different manner than many traditional schools (and I believe that is more because they can control their size than what they do.)  But is that innovation?  I don't believe it is.  

- The bill is not an "elegant" one - it's a mash-up so flawed its own sponsor had to put up two amendments because he couldn't even it read it properly.  (And one amendment was about appropriations for charter schools!)  The Governor should not sign a bill that was rushed and is terribly flawed.

-   There is the very distinct possibility of going back into court over this mess of a bill - with possibly even MORE schools and MORE families affected -  makes signing this bill into law the wrong choice.

Governor, vote your conscience AND the constitution.  If you do so, then your choice is clear.

Veto the charter school bill.

108 comments:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

re You're full: I'm a longtime reader who very much appreciates this blog and have never felt an agenda rammed down my throat. They've been posting daily SPS news for years, and most of us readers very much appreciate the information.

Thanks to the writers for keeping us up to date on this and many important issues related to our schools!

Longtimer

Teacher Greg said...

You're Full, I think you are confusing this blog with the Seattle Times' "Education Lab" and the people who are paying for the charter school propaganda.

Robert Cruickshank said...

At last night's debate, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz both touted their support of charter schools. Why would a Democratic governor side with Trump and Cruz here?

If parents want those charter schools to stay open, that's fine, they just can't use public money to do it. They should go ask Bill Gates or the pro-charter PACs - they have more than enough money to keep those schools open.

Anonymous said...

Robert, Trump and Cruz also opposed Common Core. Why would a Democrat side with Trump and Cruz?

-Counterpoint

NO 1240 said...

Nice work, Melissa. Thanks for your work and continued efforts.

Unlike Gregoire, Inslee has not made a statement against charter schools. In doing so, he allows the charter bill to stay alive and SB 6194 is open to budget negotiations. Title-only bills are alive. I believe title-only bills will be used during budget negotiations. Shame on Inslee- he needs to take a stand.

NO 1240 said...

The governor made some type of comment about moving legislation to "clear the decks". To my mind, he may be referring to charter legislation.

Anonymous said...

I love comments like those from Full of It. It is so obviously ridiculous to claim Melissa is in the pocket of the anti-charter groups. Yes, she is anti-charter and clearly so as she has said so many times, but who would be paying her? You do know that the big money is on the pro-charter side, I assume? Bloomberg, Gates, Hanauer are all pro-charters people because they are the ones who can make money from privatizing education. It's for the kids!!! No, not buying it.

I called the Governor's office and asked him to veto the bill.

-public schools

Po3 said...

Can someone explain why the Gov didn't approve or veto this bill along w/ all the others? It says on the Leg page that it was delivered to the Governor. Was some deadline missed so it wasn't included?

Anonymous said...

Po3-

It arrived too late in the day. Here's what Melissa said in the charter school bill breakout she did: "None of them were the charter school bill which got to his desk late." See full write-up for more info.

-public schools

Anonymous said...

Counterpoint -

It is really unfair of you to call out the regular commenters here on their hypocrisy. Don't you know, they're always right? Please, they are highly educated liberals. How could they be wrong or biased about anything?

- Point

madpark said...

I like the respones I received from my Senator

Thanks for your message and for sharing your opposition to E2SSB 6194, the charter school bill. This afternoon, the Senate voted to concur in House amendments and send the bill to Governor Inslee's desk. I voted no for two reasons.



First, although I was very open to finding a constitutional way to keep the existing charter schools open, I don't think that this bill does it. Rather than responding to the Supreme Court direction on governance by locally elected school boards, the bill plays a shell game with state lottery money and the general fund. I think it is likely that the Supreme Court will strike down the legislation -- adding more years of uncertainty to the lives of the kids who are attending charter schools. We're not doing them any favors.



Second, I am deeply disappointed in the legislature's failure to provide adequate funding for the million children who depend on the public schools. I voted against the budget this year because it failed to put any additional resources into the public schools -- and I voted against the legislature's "plan" to fund education next year, which included no resources to do so.



I will be working for the remainder of this year to make sure that we have a different majority in the Senate next year that will be willing to engage on these issues and provide ample funding for the public schools.



Best wishes, Jamie
Senator Jamie Pedersen

Melissa Westbrook said...

That's my Senator, too, and very proud of his principled stand. (And, he has 4 - count 'em 4 - students in Seattle Schools.)

Po3 said...

Ah, I missed that piece. So the late delivery was by design? Can't the Gov act on it today? Or is there only certain times he approves/vetos, which is why they dragged their heels on it?

I really don't understand the process, but I do get the feeling that lawmakers are playing games with this bill.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Do I think they dragged their feet on the bill? No, but I think it is such a complex issue that they could not get it done until the last minute (and even then, over 20+ amendments? that's not a good bill.)

The Governor could probably sign bills whenever he likes at this point but has said he won't without the budget being done. He said at the press conference he believes there are just "technical" issues but the two sides won't get it done. He also said he believes the budget could be done in a few days.

So the earliest he might consider signing anything is maybe next Thursday or Friday.

But, you'd hope that he and his staff are taking their time for due consideration of ALL bills including the charter school bill.

He has up to 20 days to do this. Now if he does nothing, it will just pass into law but that's kind of the coward's way out.

No, he will have to give this an up or down vote.

NO 1240 said...

PO3,

I can't explain why Inslee hasn't eliminated SB 6194. I think he is dealing with scary and extreme individuals that are making serous threats. To what extent the threats would be carried out is anyone's guess.

Pederson is right-on:


"First, although I was very open to finding a constitutional way to keep the existing charter schools open, I don't think that this bill does it. Rather than responding to the Supreme Court direction on governance by locally elected school boards, the bill plays a shell game with state lottery money and the general fund. I think it is likely that the Supreme Court will strike down the legislation -- adding more years of uncertainty to the lives of the kids who are attending charter schools. We're not doing them any favors."

Pederson is spot on. Inslee should not sign SB 6194, but I expect the same issue next year. It is essential to remove certain individuals from office. On that list I include Chad Magendanz, Joe Fain, Steve Baumgartner and Schlosser.

Anonymous said...

What would be far more interesting than hearing about Melissa's pay - which any reader of this blog knows approaches zero - is to detail the money and sources of that money for this latest charter push. The amounts are staggering. The business interests pushing it are disgusting. The high tech mavens and their spouses who think money equates to know-how in education are ridiculous. And our politicians who don't have enough spine to boot this latest push - no shove - of an agenda down this state's throats are cowards. Inslee, we are watching. Chopp, we noticed.

NoCharters

Po3 said...

FOI - Melissa runs this blog as a community activist, bringing with her over 20 years of experience in SPS in many, many roles.

I think at one point she accepted ads to help pay for gas to get to the countless meetings she attends and then writes up.

But honest, nothing sinister happening here. Just an exchange of information, opinions and ideas.

And thank you Melissa for covering the charter school law in such detail, I really don't understand the ins and outs and your coverage has helped me understand a lot on this particular issue.

Po3 said...

I also will add that it is fascinating to see the ickiest trolls on the charter posts...

Charter Chad said...

The issue of suspensions is also a sticking point. Representative Chad Magendanz, R-Issaquah, submitted two separate amendments to HB 1541 on the issue of school discipline, which was addressed by the legislature in 2013. The 2013 bill, SB 5946, made school discipline data public and limited suspensions to one year. Some say it goes far enough, while others, like Representative Ortiz-Self say that one year suspensions basically guarantee dropout and disproportionately affect children of color. Of all school suspensions in 2013-14, 78 percent were doled out to kids from low-income families, most of whom were students of color. “I’m a school counselor. You expel a kid for a year and the chance of them coming back and being successful is minute,” she said.

The fate of this bill might also be tied to charter schools. In addition to his amendment regarding school suspensions, Representative MAGENDANZ also submitted an amendment adding language concerning public charter schools. Although his amendments were not accepted, it’s possible that Republicans in the Senate will attempt the same modifications or trade.

http://washingtonstatewire.com/blog/lawmakers-seek-fix-washingtons-ailing-education-system/

Anonymous said...

Well, MW doesn't need us to defend her - she can handle opposition pretty well on her own. However, tts been made clear on numerous occasions however, that the blog authors DO NOT GET PAID. Sometimes people do things just because they care deeply. A novel concept, granted, but true.

As to the topic at hand - I sincerely hope the Governor vetoes this bill and have added my voice to those asking him to do so. I believe they should have resolved the McCleary related issues FIRST and FOREMOST before even discussing charters.

reader47

Anonymous said...

Charter Chad, both SB 6194 (charter public schools) and HB 1541 (opportunity gaps) have passed the legislature. Both await the governor's signature or veto (or inaction).

Their fates are not tied together.

--- aka

Po3 said...

"We" who is this we that you speak of FIO?

We would like to know.

Charter Chad said...

aka,

First of all, I posted the language from the Washington State Wire and I believe the Washington State Wire is an informed publication. Secondly, I don't think you understand the process, completely.

NO 1240 said...

I asked Frank Chopp to oppose SB 6941 and his office responded. I'm not sure why Chopp gave SB 6194 a hearing. According to his response, he does not believe SB 6194 is constitutional. Here is the response:

Thank you for taking the time to contact our office to express your opposition to public charter schools. SB 6194, the bill that pertained to charter schools, passed out of both houses this week and has been delivered to the Governor for his signature. Speaker Chopp voted against the bill, as he believes it to be unconstitutional.



If you would like more information on what the bill does, please see the bill report prepared by our nonpartisan staff here: http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2015-16/Pdf/Bill%20Reports/Senate/6194-S2.E%20SBR%20FBR%2016.pdf



Thanks again and have a great day,



Katy Payne

Legislative Aide – House Leadership

House Democratic Caucus

Anonymous said...

Charter Chad, the Washington State Wire link you provided is dated February 16, 2016. Both bills have passed the legislature in the meantime.

And believe what you want about what I know about the legislative process. I've been legislative committee staff, but that probably counts for little. Experience is often of little value on this blog.

--- aka

Melissa Westbrook said...

AKA, not sure what your post means but you can tell us all about the legislative process. I'm certainly no expert. But being snide about it? Not so attractive.

NO 1240 said...

The Stranger captures great quotes from Robert Cruickshank and Melissa Westbrook. The House Ed. Committee held-back SB 6194 and Chopp pulled the bill to the floor for a vote.

Here are the quotes:

"State Democrats are "breaking the number one rule in 21st century politics," said Robert Cruikshank, a senior campaign manager Democracy for America. "Never alienate your base." "

"For all the weirdness that's going on with the Republicans," Westbrook said, "one big schism within the Democratic party that no one wants to talk about is public schools... On the one hand, you have a lot of big money people, like the Gates Foundation [in favor of charter schools]."

On the other hand, she explained, the State Democratic party officially opposes charter schools. Inslee, who is running for re-election this year, has repeatedly said he opposes them—though his praise of a Tacoma charter school in January raised questions over whether he was preparing to flip-flop. His Republican challenger, Bill Bryant, is running on a pro-charter schools platform."

https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2016/03/11/23698617/washington-public-schools-are-criminally-underfunded-but-governor-inslee-wont-commit-to-vetoing-charter-school-law

Anonymous said...

Quote below is from the national Democratic Party platform. I'm not going to comment on the weird politics of the state party platform, but the Democratic Party supports charter schools on a national level:
"President Obama and the Democrats are committed to working with states and communities so they have the flexibility and resources they need to improve elementary and secondary education in a way that works best for students. To that end, the President challenged and encouraged states to raise their standards so students graduate ready for college or career and can succeed in a dynamic global economy. Forty-six states responded, leading groundbreaking reforms that will deliver better education to millions of American students. Too many students, particularly students of color and disadvantaged students, drop out of our schools, and Democrats know we must address the dropout crisis with the urgency it deserves. The Democratic Party understands the importance of turning around struggling public schools. We will continue to strengthen all our schools and work to expand public school options for low-income youth, including magnet schools, charter schools, teacher-led schools, and career academies."

- Friendly disagreement

Anonymous said...

Friendly disagreement:

I don't know what makes it "weird politics" for the Washington State Democratic Party platform to oppose charters. Maybe you could enlighten us. Each state party, whether Democratic or Republican, writes its own platform without any interference from the respective national committees.

Clearly Obama's people have dictated or heavily influenced the national platform. That is as usual, with all planks in all national party platforms. Most Democrats in WA (and I think I can say this with some authority), certainly including me, think Obama's position on public education is identical to Bush's, and therefore abominable, intolerable, and a disgrace both to sound public policy and to the Democratic Party. I hope this is helpful.

-- Ivan Weiss

Anonymous said...

Ivan Weiss -

I wish I could enlighten you of the politics of the state party committee, but I can't - they are confusing to me. Perhaps confusing was the word I should have used rather than weird.

Your assertion about the position of "most Democrats" in Washington is concerning. That's a lot of vitriol to put into the mouths of a broad group of people. I'm a Democrat and I completely disagree with you. I know other Democrats who also disagree with your statement, but that certainly doesn't lead me to assert anything about a large chunk of our state population. Are you speaking from a position of such authority because you have access to widespread polling that I don't, or are you speaking from anecdotal evidence from the circles you frequent? If it's the latter, I'd ask you to consider rephrasing - perhaps, "all the Democrats I personally know."

- Friendly disagreement

Melissa Westbrook said...

As someone who ran one of the No on 1240 campaigns, I was fortunate to see some of the data after the election. It indicated that the majority of Dems in Seattle did not vote for charter schools.

Anonymous said...

There are two wings of the Democratic Party, One is the neoliberal wing - DFER, hedge funders, etc. - who see privatization of public education as a good thing. Well-rounded public education for the wealthier kids, corporate charters w/broken windows discipline policies/extended school days for children of color and those from low-income areas.

The other wing believes in well-funded, integrated public schools - schools that take all kids, and have numerous options within the public system. The national Democratic Party is the former, the WA State Democratic Party is the latter.

Obama/Duncan took the Bush GOP education policy, which was completely based on ideology and added a neoliberal bend to it with the ridiculous Race to the Top/Bottom. WA State had a few gutsy legislators who spoke up against it, but many of the state Dem legislators fully subscribe to that neoliberal ideology. Look for the ones taking contributions from DFER, LEV, Stand On Children, and all those other pro-privatization/anti-public education/anti-union groups.

Problem is, most of that neoliberal ideology is just that - ideology. There is no peer-reviewed research showing that treating poor kids and children of color like criminals simply because their shirt is untucked is an effective means of decreasing the dropout rate. Yet a large number of charters that serve these populations insist on policies like these, then hide their attrition rate and claim 100% graduation because all 12 of the 8th graders they have left (out of an original cohort of 60) made it through their 8th grade year and graduated. What happened to the other 48? They are conveniently not mentioned. Charters are miracle workers! 100% graduation rate!

Then there are the charters that are white flight schools. Arizona is a prime example of these. Basis and Great Hearts charter chains get high test scores, yet when you look at their student population, the majority is white or Asian, and a very small percentage might be black or Hispanic, not representative at all of the surrounding population. Though the charters are pushed by the GOP there, a good number of so-called Dems fully support that segregated environment.

Growing up in Phx, back when Arizona was a Democratic state, my public schools were always about 50% white, 48% Hispanic, maybe 2% Native American and/or black. They were pretty well integrated. Last time I visited my old elementary school, it was primarily Hispanic and special ed. Why? A charter had opened up nearby and done the whispering campaign about test scores, ELL kids "dumbing down" the learning for others, special ed kids hurting test scores, etc., and as a result, the alarmed parents left the public school for the charter school, which is about 90% white. The public school was decimated. Where there had once been 3 classes per grade level, now there was one large one at each grade level. The school lost its art specialist, music specialist, and had a librarian 1 day a week because of funding and population loss. The neighborhood is now fractured, with the charter school kids and parents looking down on the public school kids and parents. That this is OK with anyone calling themselves a Democrat is beyond my ability to comprehend. Yet there are many so-called Dems that think this is just grand. They don't look beyond the propaganda pushed by the billionaires who want to shape society to fit their belief system. They don't look beyond the test scores, or the uniforms, or the automatons blindly reciting facts as a teacher snaps at them as if they were dogs. They don't look at attrition rates, the civil rights violations, the fraud, or the fabric of a neighborhood that is destroyed by their neoliberal policies. They don't want to look too deeply because they might find out 1) they are wrong and 2) they don't want to admit that many of the social policies they put into place have caused many of the woes public ed is blamed for.

CT


Anonymous said...

Friendly disagreement:

I don't know what makes it "weird politics" for the Washington State Democratic Party platform to oppose charters. Maybe you could enlighten us. Each state party, whether Democratic or Republican, writes its own platform without any interference from the respective national committees.

Clearly Obama's people have dictated or heavily influenced the national platform. That is as usual, with all planks in all national party platforms. Most Democrats in WA (and I think I can say this with some authority), certainly including me, think Obama's position on public education is identical to Bush's, and therefore abominable, intolerable, and a disgrace both to sound public policy and to the Democratic Party. I hope this is helpful.

-- Ivan Weiss

Anonymous said...

CT - Thank you for explaining your position. I won't dispute that there are two wings of the Democratic Party, though I would disagree with your judgments about them.

One note, as Arizona has been used in various places on this blog as a cautionary tale when it comes to education. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Arizona high school graduation rates (4-year ACGR) for White students, Hispanic/Latino students, Black students, low-income students, and students with disabilities are higher than Washington state's.

- Friendly disagreement

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sad that some would rather be immature than be with their family on a Friday evening.

Melissa Westbrook said...

CT, I grew up in Arizona and try to go back at least once a year. I was there when I got the news that the charter law had been overturned. My friends thought we were so lucky to not have charters because, to a person, they believe the charter industry has hurt Arizona education. And, they concur about schools being a lot more segregated.

Anonymous said...

"Then there are the charters that are white flight schools. Arizona is a prime example of these. Basis and Great Hearts charter chains get high test scores, yet when you look at their student population, the majority is white or Asian, and a very small percentage might be black or Hispanic, not representative at all of the surrounding population. Though the charters are pushed by the GOP there, a good number of so-called Dems fully support that segregated environment."

Boy, that sure sounds familiar! We've got that in Seattle without charters.

--about time

Anonymous said...

Friendly - I wouldn't trust AZ's K-12 data. The charters have been playing games for years, and the Arizona Dept of Education is an absolute mess, especially with the latest idiot elected as Supe (and there's been a long line of idiots) and all of the infighting and nastiness going on at ADE. I have a friend down there who saw that her high school had a reported graduation rate of 98%, yet she could come up with at least 30 kids who had dropped out. Her semi-rural high school had less than 500 kids. Even her principal commented to her that he had no idea how the state had come up with that number. The Feds did make some changes to the reporting requirements to try to eliminate some of the system gaming that's been going on, but it's still happening. Rod Paige and his Texas Miracle really brought gaming the system to the forefront, and charters learned to use that tactic well.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/the-newest-problem-with-graduation-rates/2012/04/12/gIQAwsH2DT_blog.html

Regardless, even if AZ shows a higher HS graduation rate, their college graduation rates as listed by the Feds are abysmal - almost the worst in the country. With such a discrepancy, I'd start questioning the data.

CT

Teacher Greg said...

CT, Excellent writing and insightful comments. I heartily concur with your neo-lib vs Democrat analysis. Thank you for posting.

Anonymous said...

How many of you are fans of soccer or football or baseball or basketball or ... ??
How many of you know fans who seem to enjoy arguing the calls of the referees more as much as or more than watching the game?

There is a branch of the Democratic Party which prides itself on their smarterer erudicticalism about processes and rules. These are the same people who will listen to convoluted twisted tortured sets of excuses from Chopp and his eruditical excuse makers about how he voted against it before he voted for it ...

WHY was this garbage up for a vote in the House? The Speaker is actually NOT on the PRO public school side? The Speaker thinks citizens are too dumb to figure out his both sides of the fence ploy? The Speaker knows that the toothless Washington Education Association "leaders" are more concerned with their access to him than with actually fighting for anything? The Speaker knows that the smarterer branch of the Democratic Party will NEVER hold him accountable?

While I would not give the Speaker a penny or a dime, a second of time, or a vote - his both sides of the fence baloney actually

MakesSense

NO 1240 said...

Two legislators claim that legal staff found charter legislation unconstitutional. Yet, we have 10 democrats voting in favor of unconstitutional laws. Remember their names.

Anonymous said...

CT -

I am not extolling the virtues of Arizona's K-12 OR Higher Education systems. I don't know as much as you do about Arizona. However, some reflection is warranted before using Arizona as an example of "terribleness" - simply because they have charter schools and Republican leadership.

You are correct that they have lower 6-year graduation rates of bachelor's students than WA, per NCHEMS. However, they have a higher 3-year graduation rate for associate students, as well as a significantly higher percentage of high school graduates going directly to college.

Again, not saying the numbers in Arizona are good, just saying that by many measures, Washington state's are worse.

- Friendly Disagreement

Anonymous said...

Melissa, I do apologize for the snide remark. It was the third time in a week that a commenter stated that I didn't know what I was talking about in regard to legislative process and state law and it hit a nerve. I'll do better to let it slide in the future. My apologies.

As for the latest comments, I do find this discussion interesting. As a life-long Democrat, I have struggled with this party as of late and this thread shows why. It's like the entire state party is divided between left progressives OR neoliberals --- that you're either one or the other. The fact is that those extremes don't define most Democrats, here or across the nation. Seattle Democrats are certainly left of the rest of the Democrats of the state. Unfortunately, those Seattle Democrats are actively working to expel any Democrat who doesn't share their far-left ideologies and that has created the schism and led directly to Republicans gaining the majority in the legislature.

Robert and Andrew would have you believe that the reason Democrats are losing swing districts is that they don't run left enough. That is an arguable point, but one which I disagree with. Progressive Seattle politics doesn't play well everywhere in this state and candidates in the suburbs and elsewhere are turned off by that brand. If this party is going to regain legislative majorities, it's going to need to temper its far-left progressive platforms and run more moderate, business-friendly candidates. Robert and Andrew would have the party double down on on progressivism. I respect that they have this opinion and it's possible that they are correct. I just don't think they are.

And that's where charter public schools come in. There are many Democrats here in this state and certainly in other states, given that many blue states have charters, who believe in public schools and the full funding of public schools AND believe in charter public schools. Many on this thread would call these people immoral and would seek to expel them from the party. For those that follow the Washington's Paramount Duty Facebook page, you probably noticed that those people who supported full funding and charter schools eventually left the group. Why? They were vilified.

Charters are going to happen in this state. The Democratic Party (and its predominant financial supporters) would be wise to get with the program and look to ensure they are quality and to hold them accountable. The current path of antagonism is a loser. Melissa is right --- as she stated in a separate thread --- public education is creating a schism in the party and it has the potential to do some serious damage.

--- aka

Anonymous said...

I am interested in the discussions on this blog. It is way more info than I glean from the Seattle Times, which I subscribe to, and read daily. Or from SPS,which only says good things on their web site. If we want to form our own opinion, we need to know various opinions. However, if people don't like this blog, why don't they start their own blog instead of criticizing the owner? It reminds me of having a guest for dinner and they complain about what I made. Really it is either thanks or, no thanks, but don't criticize me in my house since the guest can go out any time. My personal opinion.
NEmom

Melissa Westbrook said...

Aka, thanks for that.

I do think the education divide among Dems IS across the country. I see it constantly in the feeds of various education Twitter feeds that I follow.

Well, and just as old time liberals want to get rid of some Dems, neo-liberals do as well (and have more moneyed people to help do it.)

But yes, this state is not the same from end to end and what matters in Seattle may not matter in Walla Wall. As to what the political strategy should be, look at the presidential races - apparently NO one knows what to do except Trump and Sanders who - for better or worse - are their authentic selves and running on it.

Until I see full funding of our schools and that it is TRULY going to get done, I can't be for charter schools. I was pretty sanguine after the charter initiative election, tracked the Charter Commission and applications and was pleased at the "go slow, go careful" track of the CC. I said good things about them and their work.

But when I see McCleary not getting done and the Republicans can't even get the supplemental budget get done over taxes, well, what will come NEXT year? I have my suspicions about how it will all work out and yet, paramount duty.

As to why people who support charters AND full funding left? There's your answer.

But again I note - the charter schools and groups have not publicly stood - not once, not in their ads or their work at the Capitol - for McCleary. And yet, if they survive, won't they be benefiting from OTHER people's hard work.

They could have stood up once and didn't. Maybe that's why I don't see the ability for charters and McCleary to get done at once.

Anonymous said...

aka - that is some fascinating political analysis about the Democratic Party!

" ... it's going to need to temper its far-left progressive platforms and run more moderate, business-friendly candidates."

Any of these purported 'far-left' policies you're concerned about aren't presently salable because too many string pullers of the Seattle crowd, too often, can't sell water to a thirsty man. Their incompetence marketing policy doesn't mean the policy is bad, it means they're incompetent marketing outside preaching to the choir.

For decades, the right wing has defined what is 'far-left' so that the average busy busy busy working stiff is too busy to figure out how what is 'moderate' keeps marching right. What is most fascinating about your political analysis is that you accept all these right wing lies about what is 'far-left' and pass them off as some kind of scientific analysis!

Someday, we'll have some kind of competent messaging and economic analysis, and people will laugh the plundering managements of Boeings and the Microsofts and the Amazons and the Wellpoints and ... out of ALL towns for their economic policies turning family wage jobs into serf jobs. Someday, you'll be rewarded for how many family wage jobs you create, because family wage jobs are the foundation of the community, instead of being rewarded by your cronies for how much you and your cronies can steal from the community.

Oh well, I'm back to my

DayJob

Anonymous said...

Melissa, I've read this issue of charter supporters not standing up for full funding before. I went back and read the bill reports for SB 6195 and HB 2366 --- and I watched the hearings on the bills on TVW. Based on the bill reports, LEV and the Washington Roundtable both testified in support (with concerns) for these bills. Now these bills might not be what you and others were looking for but that's all that was going to happen this 2016 session.

Leadership from both parties made it very clear that they were not going to finish McCleary or even make a significant investment this year. NO ONE in leadership,, including the governor, was going to raise taxes significantly in a presidential election year. That was NOT going to happen. And no player in Olympia, except for the education alphabet soup, was going to spend political capital this year on a lost cause. That's a political reality. Speaker Chopp is your representative, is he not? Did he ever sign the WPD resolution? He didn't. He wasn't going to go out and commit to raising taxes this year.

I disagree with you that charter supporters weren't there on McCleary. LEV and the Seattle Times have historically supported full funding. Also, LEV was all over support for simple majority on bonds, full funding for CTE, etc. BTW, I am not a member of LEV. But I know they've been there on full funding. Charter supporters can be both.

--- aka

Anonymous said...

Thank you, DayJob, for making my point.

--- aka

Robert Cruickshank said...

aka, your description of my political analysis is flawed. You are falling into a right-left trap. To win elections, WA Dems need to embrace progressive bottom-up economic populism. Organize and fight for diverse, working people against elites who don't care about them. Go all out to get people of color to show up and vote. Embrace message of Elizabeth Warren and anti-establishment ethic of Bernie Sanders. That plays well around the state, especially with Dems outside Seattle who remain New Deal Democrats yet have often watched frustratingly while their party embraces corporate policies.

I stand 100% by my statement that to win in 21st century politics, you must keep your base happy and never, ever turn on them. There is a lot of empirical research that proves this to be true. But you misunderstand what I mean by "the base." Here in Washington State, the base is people of color, young people, working class people, and yes, progressive people who live all over the state - not just in Seattle.

That means fighting as hard as possible to fully fund K-12 public schools. Nobody here can say that Democrats in this state have done so. Republicans actively oppose funding our schools and plan massive cuts at the first opportunity they get. Democrats, however, are fiddling while their majorities burn.

As to charter schools: I don't have any problem with people who support charter schools. But Charter school PACs and organizations did not lobby at all this session for fully funding our public schools, and that has been noticed by a LOT of people. It has done significant damage to the charter movement's reputation.

It's also revealing of the deeper truth that charter schools and public schools are not compatible. All over the country, from Oakland to Los Angeles to Chicago to Boston to Philadelphia and more, we see that charter schools defund public schools. Public school teachers get laid off, schools closed, programs cut, and more, because funding follows the student and whenever a student leaves a public school for a charter school, that means money leaves the public school.

Whenever I pointed that fact out, as respectfully and nicely as I could, charter school advocates got upset and defensive. Ultimately some, like Robin Lake, preferred to leave the FB group rather than acknowledge that, yes, charter schools do indeed make the state's public school funding crisis worse by draining public schools of funds.

I am all for innovative, creative schools. That is precisely why I fight to fully fund public education: so we can have those diverse kinds of schools within the public system, rather than against it; under democratic control rather than corporate control.

I mean, Rainier Beach HS is doing some amazing things but they have no money to build upon that success. They barely had money for textbooks! Why not fully fund RBHS, or expand the number of kids who go to Nova, or create three more Center Schools, or double the capacity at Aviation, or expand Montessori classrooms at elementary schools all over the city, or restore and expand Middle College? We don't need charter schools to give all kids a great education. But we know, for a fact, that where charter schools exist, public schools suffer.

As to the political future of charter schools: it doesn't actually look good. Democrats are turning against them in increasingly large numbers as they see how they defund public schools - and how some charters engage in actual child abuse, such as the odious Success Academy in NYC. There is a ballot initiative in Massachusetts to repeal their charter law. A similar effort is active in California. The most prominent advocates of charter schools in America at this moment are Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Once more people see how charter schools siphon taxpayer money out of public schools for private profit, they will turn against them and insist that public money go to expand the quality and the diversity of actual public schools, that are under public and democratic control.

Anonymous said...

Many people (including actual progressives) are very aware of the hypocrisy of some "progressives": "Do as I say, not as I do." That might actually be a succinct analysis of the underlying anger of the presidential campaign for both sides of the political spectrum. When politics becomes fixated on winning or losing, it can be more a horse race than actually looking at the coherence of your own positions.

Until this blog takes a stand against the segregated schools in Seattle (including the HCC program and "neighborhood" schools) and PTA funding, and puts the same gusto into providing an equitable education for the actual students in this district as they do for the hypothetical students (and students in charter states) they are claiming to protect against charter schools--you have no credibility on this issue.

What you are purporting to protect the vulnerable children against in this campaign against charters--segregation, lack of funding compared to other schools, programs and schools with low numbers of Special Education and ELL students--is playing out in real time in this district. On your blog, you are either defending it (in cases like HCC), playing lip service to it (and blaming segregation on past redlining while shrugging your shoulders about dealing with the segregation of neighborhood schools), or being completely silent (on PTA funding inequities which happened on a recent post).

You can't have it both ways...You are either against inequity for vulnerable children or you're not. That you have made such a strong case against charters through print and hard work is something many people (including me) appreciate.

Credibility as a spokesperson on this issue? No, you don't have that.

--about time

Anonymous said...

BTW, Ivan Weiss and Robert C.: Where are your voices on these actual diversity and equity issues when they are addressed on this blog? How are you fighting to get rid of the glaring inequities in your own school district? Or is it more sporty to put your efforts into the horse race while Rome is burning for the children being educated in SPS under these conditions?

People are not fooled by "all talk", especially the people living it in real time. How about real life "bottom up"? The base is not happy when they see such hypocrisy in their so-called political operatives.

--about time

Anonymous said...

AKA-

I also disagree with what you think will work here with WA Democrats.

You said WA Democrats should run: "business-friendly candidates." I see that phrase as a euphemism for a candidate who will run on a platform of giving Boeing more tax breaks and it is a huge, bright red warning sign to me.

The republicans are obviously having their moment of inner collapse, and I think democrats are doing something similar, though much more civilly. The democrats exciting the party right now are the Sanders and the Warrens, not the "business friendly" ones.

I think it comes down to whether you think government generally does a good job or not. There are things I would like to see fixed and some priorities changed, but I do think government does pretty well generally. I am 100% opposed to charter schools because I don't worship at the alter of the "private sector." I think this issue is a divide in the democratic party around the country.

We should not be selling off the business of educating our children. No corporate entity should be making money from something so fundamentally important as the education of kids.

-fritter

Teacher Greg said...

I'm with fritter, privatizing public services does not serve the common good. Creating a separate and unequal quasi public education complex does nothing but enrich those who want to live off the public teat. They have no long term skin in the game and can always fold up their tent and walk away from the children they claim to be fighting for. Say what you want about SPS, orbdoubly for Highline, but as public institutions you know they are ours... The taxpayers, voters and students. Charters belong to corporations and individuals who are unaccountable to the people they claim to serve, yet they are more than happy to take our money. Why anyone supports charters, other than those who are making money off this idea or generally loathe the idea of public institutions, baffles me.

I hope their idealistic underpaid workforce walks away for a much better job at an actual public school.

Anonymous said...

about time asks:

"BTW, Ivan Weiss and Robert C.: Where are your voices on these actual diversity and equity issues when they are addressed on this blog?"
--
Robert can, and will, speak for himself. For my part, when I don't have all the facts on a subject, I have the sense to keep my mouth shut. I can't keep up with ALL the issues, and I don't pretend to.

The supporters of Middle College High School will tell you I have spoken out plenty on their behalf, here and in other venues, and will continue to do so. Director Harris has told the SPS top level of bureaucracy that she will not stop until Middle College is restored to full status, and with it the Ida B. Wells social justice curriculum. She keeps me in the loop. I hope this is helpful.

-- Ivan Weiss

Anonymous said...

@ about time,

I asked you this elsewhere but you may have missed it: Since our HC underrepresented groups are disproportionately impacted by poverty, and since poverty negatively impacts child brain development, why exactly should we expect our HC programs to reflect the area's racial demographics? Or is the new requirement a form of mandatory gifted ed affirmative action?

And is it possible that, if we were to control for poverty status (another demographic), our HCC program actually IS reflective of the local demographics?

Input Output

Anonymous said...

There's a part of Robert Cruickshank's argument that confuses me. As I read it - he suggests that the party swing further left in order to start winning (move toward Bernie Sanders' on the issues). But here in Washington, Democrats aren't losing seats to *more* liberal/progressive candidates, we are losing seats to Republicans. Wouldn't that indicate that many voters are looking for moderation, and seeing it more among Republicans in Washington than Democrats?

It's possible that the base that Robert speaks of has simply been frustrated and therefore not voting. If the Democratic presidential candidate is Hillary Clinton, will that also be a depressing factor for the liberal D vote? If so, does that mean even more losses in the state house for Ds who won't respond to the more moderate *wing* of the party?

- Friendly Disagreement

Anonymous said...

fritter, my comments regarding candidates is Washington state specific. While I agree with you that Republicans on a national level --- particularly presidential politics --- is collapsing, the Republicans here in our state are winning legislative seats and have been for some time. And the Republicans are winning those seats with socially liberal, business-friendly (more specifically, small business-friendly) candidates.

--- aka

Anonymous said...

Could someone tell me which a Democrats voted in favor of the charter bill? - NP

Anonymous said...

Friendly Disagreement -

WHERE is the middle and where is the 'left'?

if you asked a true sampling of WA residents the following questions:

1. do you support having your neighbor's guru, reverend, priest, rabbi, minister, pastor, ... holy person dictating your healthcare?


2. do you support having your neighbor's guru, reverend, priest, rabbi, minister, pastor, ... holy person dictating your child's education?

3. do you think people should be promoted to the highest paying jobs based on their ability to back stab coworkers, take credit they don't deserve, and use people like tissue paper?

4. do you think people should be promoted to the highest positions because of family and financial connections?

You'd have 75% +++ answering 'hell no' and 1/3 of them would be getting a gun. What is the right messaging for the bottom 80% of us? Beats me, I have a day job.

This is my 10 tenth trip around the POTUS election sun. One of The Best / slicker than snot ways of manipulating millions of us is getting millions of us to NOT vote in our best interest, because 'we're wasting our vote' or because '____ isn't electable' or because 'I'm worried ____ will scare the middle and we'll lose' or because of infinite combination of all of the above.

The right wing definition of 'left' benefits the liars on the right wing, not those of us with

DayJobs

Anonymous said...

Robert, I certainly can respect your opinions on elections, as that's your forte, but you're dead wrong on charter schools. There is a common refrain about charter schools draining resources from traditional public schools. The fact is that this is a false premise.

Under your scenario, we should also deny parents the choices of private schools, parochial schools, and homeschools. In all of those circumstances, those students are not enrolled in the public schools and would, under your scenario, drain resources from the public schools. Are you suggesting that we deny parents those options?

That fact is that traditional public schools receive funding for each and every kid enrolled, regardless of charter schools. And once charter schools are established, school districts will get better at enrollment projections and will staff their schools accordingly. I almost said that school districts like SPS will get better at enrollment projections, but I have no faith that will happen anytime soon. This district has always been terrible in this regard. State funding will continue to flow unabated to the traditional public schools. No funding is diverted to charter schools. The state funds for public schools, in other words, is not like a checking account with a set amount and they do not diminish because of charter schools.

--- aka

Melissa Westbrook said...

AKA, LEV and Seattle Times? You obviously are ignoring what I wrote.

NO charter schools and NO charter group in this state has stood up publicly for McCleary. That's a fact. They want their schools, their money and will benefit of the hard work of public school parents who DID stand up for full funding. Shame on them.

I have consistently supported kids of color in this district. My record reflects it and if someone hasn't kept up, that's on you. The segregation in the district is NOT all the fault of the district. They do not determine where people live. You might know that the district lost a U.S Supreme Court case on this issue and is probably - like most urban districts - pretty gun-shy on this issue. You don't like the make-up of HCC? Neither do I and I have advocated for change. Over and over. (Ask any current or former member of the last three School Boards. I'll wait.)

Clillborn , Kagi, Sullivan, Springer, Pettigrew, Hurst, Sawyer, Senn, Lyon, Morris are the Dems who voted for the charter bill.

That Republicans fought against financial disclosure conflict of interest forms for charter school boards should tell you something about charter schools. They don't want to be public when they don't want to be public. But when they want the money, THEN they are public schools.

AKA, feel free to keep up that "charters dont' take money from public schools." Ever heard of infrastructure and staffing? Why would so many states and even Tacoma SD be calling foul if they were not losing money? It is categorically NOT false.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your work on behalf of Middle College, Ivan. I would recommend keeping up on SPS in order to understand the basis for which Middle College is a manifestation--namely, that SPS has systemic issues with diversity and equity. Not keeping up is a choice. Working at the state level against charters while not dealing with what is driving demand locally is not effective politics. Charters will have strong demand in SPS as a result of the inequities.

Input/Output: The brain damage from poverty argument is the new eugenics argument; substitute poverty for black and the argument is dead-on. Stating that an entire demographic is brain damaged and using it as an excuse to not identify students who are eligible for HCC identification and services is way beyond the pale. In fact, that mindset is why there needed to be a state law put in place regarding HC.

--about time

Anonymous said...

Melissa, as long as you restate on your blog--for years and as recently as last week--that HCC (and Spectrum) is equally open to all applicants, and that HCC is therefore not an exclusive program, then you are supporting a segregated HCC (kudos for whatever you've said or done behind the scenes). In fact, you often use this argument as a response when people are concerned about the segregated programs in order to tell them they are not exclusive programs.

Yes, it is very much the fault of SPS for having segregated neighborhood schools. Louisville had a completely different response to the same Supreme Court ruling. I linked an article about this issue two weeks ago when you were defending the segregated neighborhood schools on this blog. The article stated all the ways districts can/should decrease diversity, no matter the housing patterns. In fact, you recommended this article. And now you say it isn't the district's fault. Here it is for a refresher: http://tcf.org

Credibility is earned.

--about time


Anonymous said...

correction: increase not decrease

--about time

NO 1240 said...

Melissa, Is it not the policy of this blog not to name individuals or give away their identity? If so, please consider deleting aka's comment which was made at 5:07.

As to this comment:

"Charters are going to happen in this state". Think again. There have been attempts to get charters into Washington state since the 1990s. It has become clear that it is difficult for privatizers to get around the Washington state constitution and for good reason.

aka- define too far left.

I've heard individuals proclaim themselves to be Democrats. Yet, they support charter schools. I GUARANTEE that if these individuals sought endorsements from Democratic districts across the state- they would not freely admit to being charter supporters during the endorsement process. If they did....they would not receive support from democrats. Sure, these people would just head over to FUSE- an organization that is supported by Hanauer for their support. My advice to these people- get your own party....Gates and Hanauer will support you.

NO 1240 said...

"Until this blog takes a stand against the segregated schools in Seattle (including the HCC program and "neighborhood" schools) and PTA funding, and puts the same gusto into providing an equitable education for the actual students in this district as they do for the hypothetical students (and students in charter states) they are claiming to protect against charter schools--you have no credibility on this issue"

Give me a break- about time. The issue of poverty extends beyond Seattle and there are places in Washington state with higher rates of poverty.

I do share your concerns regarding brain damage and poverty. However, with 30,000 homeless students in Washington state- it would be impossible for charter school to meet the vast needs of this population. Homeless advocates will tell you that first individuals need a roof over their head. It would be my hope that philanthropists would begin to support the basic needs such as housing. As well, I do share Robert's concerns. Charter schools drain funding from public schools and cities across the country are asking for relief.

Due to lack of funding, Wa. state education system is fragile. With charters, dollars would just get shifted and weaken an already fragile system.

Robert Cruickshank said...

@Friendly Disagreement: You say this: "here in Washington, Democrats aren't losing seats to *more* liberal/progressive candidates, we are losing seats to Republicans. Wouldn't that indicate that many voters are looking for moderation, and seeing it more among Republicans in Washington than Democrats?"

No, that's not what it indicates. WA faces the same turnout problem as the rest of the country. Democrats aren't doing enough to inspire their base to vote. It's not about swing voters, as this recent article illustrates: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2015/11/03/the-astonishing-decline-of-the-american-swing-voter/

@aka: it is not a false premise, it's a fact that charter schools drain money from public schools. That's the entire point. Here's a good overview from NPR about how it affects Philadelphia: http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2014/11/04/360146623/philadelphia-schools-another-year-another-budget-crisis

Note, however, that I'm not saying charter schools should close. But I view them as being no different from private schools like Lakeside or Bush, or parochial schools like Holy Names or Bishop Blanchet. I will never criticize any parent for sending their kids to a school that's not a public school - parents have to do what they feel is best for their child. But just as we wouldn't give public money to a private or parochial school, we shouldn't give it to charter schools either. The Gates Foundation, the Walton Foundation, and others have plenty of money to keep those schools open and tuition free.

That said, one reason I fight to fully fund public education is so we can have a diverse set of schools within the public system. We have some good options in SPS but they need to be available to every kid. Right now things like HCC or the option schools or EEU are effectively rationed because there's not enough money to make it available to everyone, which has equity implications. So let's fully fund the public system - lavish it with money - so that we can actually provide every single child in WA with the kind of high quality, whole-child education they deserve.

NO 1240 said...

I was just reading the thread and I wanted to add one more comment:

"Under your scenario, we should also deny parents the choices of private schools, parochial schools, and homeschools. In all of those circumstances"

False. Charter schools seek to set-up a parallel system of education and there are some cities that no longer have public schools. As well, some in small districts throughout Washington state do not want to eliminate a public option.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, LEV and the Washington Roundtable ARE charter groups. Act Now for Washington students --- a charter support organization --- is made up of the Washington State Charter Schools Association, LEV, Stand for Children, DFER, and the Washington Roundtable. These are all charter groups. The leadership from these same organizations serve on the board of the charter association. These groups are all charter groups. That is clearly what I thought you meant.

And you can count on me correcting people who mistakenly (or purposely) claim that charter schools divert funds from traditional public schools. The few numbers of charter schools in our state will not affect infrastructure and staffing in our districts, especially if the state meets its McCleary obligations for K-3 class size reductions.

--- aka

Anonymous said...

Robert, you're now making a different point. You claimed earlier that charter schools diverted funds from public schools because students left the traditional public schools for charters. The same is true for students leaving for private schools, parochial schools, and homeschooling. School districts no longer receive funding for them. How is this not the same under your earlier scenario?

You are now making an ideological argument. I don't share your anti-charter school ideology.

--- aka

Anonymous said...

NO 1240, I have no reason to define "too far left." I never made any such statement.

--- aka

Robert Cruickshank said...

@aka, the difference is public funding. Private and parochial schools offer alternatives to public schools but because they don't get public money, their impact on public schools and their funding is very limited. But in cities and states where charter schools do exist, they have a much more damaging effect on public school budgets because the taxpayer is now subsidizing a parallel education system that competes in a zero-sum game.

Cities have had private and parochial schools for decades. But it was only when charter schools came along that we saw the serious financial crises that urban districts like Chicago or Philadelphia now face. If we were only talking about just the eight existing WA charter schools, that's one thing. But in every state where charters are allowed, charter promoters are extremely aggressive about relaxing or eliminating caps on the number of charters permitted, without any concern for the effect on public school budgets.

The only charter schools I have an ideological argument with are the "no excuses" charter schools like Success Academy, but that's because I happen to believe that child abuse is one of the worst crimes any human being can commit. Call that an "ideological argument" if you wish.

Melissa Westbrook said...

AKA, being disingenuous doesn't suit you but if you think there will still be "a few" charters in a couple of years, you are not paying attention. What cost to the state AND to districts do you think 40 charters will cost?

Washington Roundtable, DFER , STand and LEV are charter supporters, not groups. That is not their main mission. You are wrong on this point and I hope you can show me their mission statement that states their goal is charter schools.

AKA, you want us all to take you seriously and yet you don't sign you name. Again, courage of your convictions if you believe you are right.

Anonymous said...

Let's be real --- none of the arguments that I've made changed a single mind of a single reader of this blog, I imagine. Signing my name won't change that.

--- aka

NO 1240 said...

Looking for clarification:

"If this party is going to regain legislative majorities, it's going to need to temper its far-left progressive platforms and run more moderate, business-friendly candidates. "

Anonymous said...

"about time" says, in response to my comment:

" Ivan. I would recommend keeping up on SPS in order to understand the basis for which Middle College is a manifestation--namely, that SPS has systemic issues with diversity and equity. Not keeping up is a choice. Working at the state level against charters while not dealing with what is driving demand locally is not effective politics."
--
You have no idea what I am "keeping up with" or not. You have no clue what I work on or don't. I said I couldn't keep up with all of it, and it's a damn sure solid lock that you don't, either. Not even Melissa can. Melissa is welcome to delete my comment if it is "inappropriate," but unless and until you put your real name on your comments so we can have a real discussion, don't you presume to lecture me, bucko. Before that you can kiss my you-know-what.

-- Ivan Weiss

Anonymous said...

When you're actively campaigning against charters on this blog (which is how you've made yourself known to me) and then claim that you're not keeping up on inequity issues in SPS, save Middle College, I stand by my comments.

Whether your name is Ivan or Jimmy makes no difference.

--about time

Anonymous said...

I am really appreciating this discussion.

Robert Cruickshank, district financial crises existed long before the advent of charter schools. State underfunding of public schools has been a problem for a long time. I believe our state (and the Seattle school district) is a prime example, and charter schools have only existed here for couple of years.

State funding for public education is based on the number of students enrolled in public schools. So, aka is correct, if students enroll in a private school, that effectively removes "potential dollars" - the state no longer provides funding for that students. So if a school district loses students to ANY other form of schooling, it is a EQUAL loss to the district, regardless of the destination of the student.

The difference arises when you talk about the state. The state is obligated to pay for the education of public school students, but not of students enrolled in private school (except in certain circumstances). So, because charter schools are public schools, and charter school students are considered public school students, that becomes a state obligation. But here's the thing - the state's obligation is based on the number of students - NOT a defined total dollar amount. The more students they have to fund, the more they are obligated to pay. It's a formula. I may have misunderstood, but it seemed like you were saying that the fewer children enrolled as public school students (because some have left the system for private or home school), the more money available for the state to allocate to the remaining students - but that's not how it works. Those students leave, and the state's obligation is reduced.

This is where the argument that charter schools drain money from public education rings false. It is possible that individual DISTRICTS will lose funding if students transfer to a charter school - in the exact same way they lose funding when a student exits the district for a different district, a private school, or home school. But the state's obligation grows or shrinks depending on the total enrollment count.

- Friendly Disagreement

seattle citizen said...

I wonder how much Gates, et al, are spending in wages to have their people comment on this blog. $50,000,000 spent in WA to advance charters, $500,000 to Seattle Times, $400,000 to Crosscut...I guess a few thousand to hire blog commenters is chump change.

Anonymous said...

seattle citizen - It is an unfair and unfounded accusation when people claim that Melissa gets paid to express her opinion here, just as your accusation is unfair and unfounded. People have opinions and Melissa has created a platform here that allows those opinions to be expressed. Simply because you do not share them doesn't make them mercenary.

- Friendly Disagreement

Anonymous said...

"about time":

I never said I wasn't keeping up with equity issues in SPS. I said I couldn't keep up with *all* of them. I can't, and you can't. I read this blog several times a day, and whatever equity issues are discussed here, I know about them. So *my* statement stands, and my name is on it as always. Either sign your name if you want to have a meaningful discussion, or go be an anonymous troll somewhere else.

-- Ivan Weiss

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

The idea that charter schools don't take money away from public schools makes zero sense to me.

First, I will work under the assumption that everyone believes that WA State does not have an unlimited amount of money and that they must make hard choices about what gets funded and what doesn't.

Second, I think we all agree that our current state government will not raise taxes no matter what.

So, if we can agree on the two points above, where does the charter school money come from?

Most of us have monthly budgets that we must follow for our own households, and the government is the same. If I decide that I want to spend $300 during a month on gambling, I have $300 less to spend on other things. The state legislature is trying to add a new budget line (charter schools) so that money, which is not new, must come from somewhere and it now cannot be used for other things.

Until McCleary is complete, and all of our schools are fully funded, we are required to put all monies toward meeting that constitutional requirement.

-Leprechaun

Anonymous said...

Leprechaun, assuming the vast majority of students enrolled in charter public schools were enrolled in traditional public schools prior to enrolling in charter public schools, the state is going to fund these students regardless of whether they attend a traditional public school or a charter public school. As far as the state budget is concerned, there is no change. The state funded those students in their traditional public schools last year and they'll fund those same students in their charter public schools this year. In effect, there is no change to the state budget. Another way of putting it is that these are not new students as far as the state budget is concerned.

--- aka

Anonymous said...

aka-

Oxymoron: "charter public"

I do not believe charter schools are public schools, so this is our disagreement. Public schools take all comers and charter schools do not.

You answered my question. Charter schools take money from pubic schools.

-Leprechaun

Anonymous said...

Ah, got it. I'll check back in with you after I've noted your demand that Raisbeck Aviation High School in Highline, School of the Arts in Tacoma, and Delta High School in the Tri-Cities be closed. They don't take all comers and they receive public school dollars.

--- aka

Anonymous said...

Leprechaun - I don't want to misinterpret your statement, so is it correct to say that by your definition, everything the state funds that is not directed to a traditional public school district would be considered taking money from public education?

For example, currently less than 50% of the state operating budget is allocated to all public education, including higher education. I think the state operating budget is something in the range of $79 Billion per biennium, and currently $20 Billion of that goes into the K-12 public education system. So, removing charter schools from the equation entirely, using your family budget analogy, without raising taxes - the legislature could and should have fully funded McCleary and still had $70 Billion to play with? If that's your thought process, I can see how it is frustrating that McCleary is not fully funded. However, the state uses revenue to pay for very important other services, like health care and social services, so I don't think those decisions are easy.

Putting charter schools back in - like aka said, that money is not "new" money. If the student is a public school student, the state will spend that money on educating a student, whether that student is in a public school that is part of a district, or in a public school that is "chartered". And if all those charter school students were to be declared non-public school students -the state would not put that money into a district, it would simply reduce the funding stream by a proportional amount, because funding is done by a formula that is driven by the number of students.

I want to see state funding increased for public education, and I think that trying to cut funding for some students because their school is not part of a local district is in some ways an argument toward less funding not more. The more students that are considered public school student, the more funding we can demand. Perhaps there should be a campaign to convince families that have left for private school to come back? That would drive many more dollars into the public schools - because it would increase the state's obligation.

- Friendly disagreement

NO 1240 said...

Raisbeck Aviation is under the control of a local and elected school board- charter schools are not- big difference.

Education is underfunded and there are fixed costs. The more students a school has...the more funds it gets to provide additional supports. Students leave and dollars go with them. I will also note the amount of students that qualify for free and reduced lunch, throughout the district has decreased and the district is feeling the loss of dollars. Same is true for individual schools.

The state is not obligated to pay for students in public schools Students in mid-level private schools often transfer to charter schools. The state resumes responsibility for their educational expenses.

The privatization movement is progressive. There is NO intention of capping charter schools. We will see a continued flow of dollars out of school districts.

I'm still awaiting aka to clarify ""If this party is going to regain legislative majorities, it's going to need to temper its far-left progressive platforms and run more moderate, business-friendly candidates. "

One does not need to look beyond Tacoma. They requested legislation to limit the amount of charter schools in the district because it drained dollars away from an underfunded system. Believe what you like- aka. The Tacoma School Board shares a different view.

Charter schools drain funds from public schools. As Robert has noted, cities are asking for relief.



StringCheese said...

The siphoning of students from public schools to charters creates a unique budgeting problem for the public schools. Bear with me through this little scenario:

An elementary charter school with a capacity of 600 students opens up in an area currently served by 10 elementary schools. Each school loses 5 students from every grade to the charter school (for a K-5, 60 students per school). If each student is funded at $10,000, each of these public schools is losing $600,000. The loss of these 60 students does not decrease the school's administrative costs, they still need a principal, office staff, nurse, etc. There has been a loss of 2 teachers worth of students but it is a small number from each grade. Possibly only 2 from each classroom. Where do you take these teachers from? Do you make the entire school do grade splits? A process that any teacher and administrator will tell you is generally NOT in the best interests of teaching and learning. What the charter has done is taken $600,000 from a school with fixed costs. What do you lose? Appropriate class structures/sizes, all arts/enrichment programs, supplies, teacher support, professional development, and more. This is played out in each of the 10 elementary schools serving the area. What you end up with are schools with wealthier parents providing funds to keep the art teacher while the less well-off schools just lose, over and over again. The charter school has just decreased the quality of all of the public schools and increased the socio-economic gaps. Oh yeah, and those 60 students from each school are almost certainly not the SpEd or ELL students for whom increased services are needed that are not adequately funded by the few extra dollars the state gives to these students.

Before anyone starts coming after me for numbers, this was just an example based on reasonable numbers, not exact numbers for any of it. The point is, the moving around of funds DOES negatively affect public schools when the money follows the student.

Anonymous said...

Robert wrote "it was only when charter schools came along that we saw the serious financial crises that urban districts like Chicago or Philadelphia now face"

The school district of Philadelphia has been in financial crisis long before charter schools existed. In addition, if the school district were in WA, it would be getting 0 dollars from the state since it has never had a locally elected school board. http://philadelphiaencyclopedia.org/archive/public-educationthe-school-district-of-philadelphia/

The school district of Chicago also does not have a locally elected school board, and Chicago also has a long history of financial crises which predate charter schools.

LisaG

Anonymous said...

aka-

Yes, you are correct, there are option schools within PUBLIC school districts. The point is, the public schools are required to have a place for all students that come their way.

How about I check back with you after I have noted your demand that charter schools take all comers?

-Leprechaun

Anonymous said...

String Cheese - Bear with me, but isn't it correct that if 5 students from every grade also leave to go to a newly opened private school, those same losses occur to that school, and in fact, the money from the state that goes toward "public education" in that district is also reduced?

I'm starting to feel like the argument here isn't with charters, but with any family that chooses any route other than a traditional district school. Or, frustration that the state isn't allocating enough money across the board is being sort of unfairly directed at charter schools.

- FD

NO 1240 said...

"Most of us have monthly budgets that we must follow for our own households, and the government is the same. If I decide that I want to spend $300 during a month on gambling, I have $300 less to spend on other things. The state legislature is trying to add a new budget line (charter schools) so that money, which is not new, must come from somewhere and it now cannot be used for other things"

I agree with much of what you say, Leprechaun. There is one pot of money and one does not need to look beyond the creation of the now defunct Charter Commission which cost taxpayers $1M. As well, some in the state want to bring back charter schools which means diverting funding to staff/fund the Charter Commission- which is just a parallel system of education. Those dollars could be used to provide supports in an underfunded system.

Anonymous said...

NO 1240, like my statement to Leprechaun, I'll check back in with you after I've noted your demand that the School for the Deaf and the School for the Blind be closed. Neither are under the control of a local and elected school board. Their boards are appointed by the governor. They receive public school dollars.

As for Tacoma Public Schools, if they're claiming that two charter public schools with approx. less than 200 students each is having a significantly negative affect on their budget for approx. 28,000 students, they're either budgeting wrong or they're exaggerating the affect or both. I'm pretty sure that enrollment in the Annie Wright schools, Charles Wright Academy, and Bellarmine Prep have more serious implications for the district than two charter public schools.

--- aka

Anonymous said...

I will also note that- often- parents that enroll students in charter schools are involved parents. These are the same type of parents that bring supports into our public schools.

At one point, I had a conversation with a pro=charter parent. Here is what she had to say "The parents that care about their children send their children to charter schools. Our kids won't have to deal with the trouble makers." Nice.

NO 1240 said...

Thanks, String Cheese @ 10:31!! You are spot on.

This year, Seattle lost 60 students to Summit Sierra. 60 students x $5K= $300K loss for the district. Seattle Public Schools was left to scramble. They had to cut teachers, move children and put them into even larger class sizes. Splitting of grades/ classes etc. caused quite a mess.

aka- I'm tired of arguing with you. Go talk to the Tacoma school board and the ones that requested legislative relief. I am still waiting for you to clarify your description of left and moderate business type candidates that you feel should be supported.

seattle citizen said...

aka, I'm a troll? I've been a participant on this blog since it started, just about. Ten years or so. Yes, sometimes I say inane things, such as noting an uptick in what seems to be charter chatters (copyright) but that hardly makes me a troll.
But you're right: I shouldn't accuse others of being charter shills from my position of anonymity. That wasn't right and I retract it.

NO 1240 said...

aka, I have also looked funding mechanism for schools that are funded under the non- traditional public school model. I did note that some of those schools are funded with grant dollars, and some do go through the school district etc. I will need to research schools for deaf and hard of hearing and I do believe those students need special support. However, as previous mentioned, some schools are funded with grant dollars etc. do not equate to the millions for which charter schools and their supporters seek.

Anonymous said...

seattle citizen, I absolutely do not think of you as a troll. Not in any way. I was reacting to Ivan's statement regarding "anonymous trolls." I absolutely believe that some people value the anonymity Melissa has provided here. But it's hypocritical of her to question the courage of conviction of some people but to support the same anonymity of others. I'd simply ask that she and others drop this line of challenge.

--- aka

NO 1240 said...

I don't believe charter schools would have the capacity to serve all students that need special services for deaf and hard of hearing. As well, I did enjoy a conversation- yesterday- with a teacher from Interagency/ Skyway. Glad to see that or public school system has the capacity to serve those with tremendous need with a teacher/student ration of 1:6-7.

Anonymous said...

NO 1240, OSPI identified 18 schools/programs that receive public school dollars that are not overseen by a local elected board. I wholeheartedly support these programs. I support the School for the Blind and the School for the Deaf. I support innovative district-based schools like SOTA, Aviation, etc. I support Middle College and Interagency. I support the EEU. AND I support charter public schools. Our students and their families deserve access to all of the programs. Our students' needs are diverse and we need a diverse ecosystem of publicly funded schools to meet their needs. I'm not going to call out one of them, i.e. charter public schools, as anathema within this ecosystem.

--- aka

Anonymous said...

Hey now! I have zero problem with people keeping their identities anonymous. We all have our own reasons for choosing this option. And, I can't believe I'm saying this, ;o) but for once I agree with aka - people should leave that aspect of the discussion off the plate -it's not pertinent to the issues at hand whatsoever.

My personal belief is that until/unless public education is fully funded, the creation of charter schools in WA should be delayed.

reader47

Anonymous said...

aka-

If we "need a diverse ecosystem of publicly funded schools" why not include the private schools we currently have in your argument? They, too, could be "public charter" schools if the state gave them a pile of money. We could give them state money, and they could still control their enrollment, just like charter schools will. I am sure Bush would love to get a pile of money from the state.

-seven

Anonymous said...

NO 1240 wrote "I don't believe charter schools would have the capacity to serve all students that need special services for deaf and hard of hearing."

I'm trying to figure out this sentence. Are you saying that charter schools wouldn't be able to serve "all students" just because there are more deaf and hard of hearing students than could be accommodated my a maximum of 40 charter schools? Or does the "all" mean that there would be some deaf and hard of hearing students who couldn't be served by charter schools?

Charter schools in CA serve deaf and hard of hearing students, and there is at least one school "for the deaf" charter.

LisaG

NO 1240 said...

This is my last comment.

One can not talk about charters and privatization of education without including a conversation about ALEC and ALEC legislation related to education. I do note that Inslee had a legislator, on his McCleary task force, that supports ALEC legislation. The privatization movement is progressive.

"ALEC’s education task force has pushed legislation for decades to privatize public schools, weaken teacher’s unions, and lower teaching standards.

ALEC’s agenda would transform public education from a public and accountable institution that serves the public into one that serves private, for-profit interests. ALEC model bills divert taxpayer money from public to private schools through a variety of “voucher” and “tuition tax credit” programs. They promote unaccountable charter schools and shift power away from democratically elected local school boards….

Although ALEC and other school privatizers today frame “vouchers” – taxpayer-funded tuition for private, and often religious, schools – in terms of “opportunity” for low-income students and giving parents the “choice” to send their children to public or private schools, the group was less judicious in its earlier years.

The commentary to ALEC’s original 1984 voucher bill states that its purpose is “to introduce normal market forces” into education, and to “dismantle the control and power of” teachers’ unions by directing money from public institutions to private ones that were less likely to be unionized.

Friedman was more explicit when addressing ALEC’s 2006 meeting. He explained that vouchers are really a step towards “abolishing the public school system.”

I note: DFER calls themselves "Democrats" and they push ALEC legislation and they are in Olympia, and recruiting "Democrat" candidates. You can't call yourself a democrat and support charter schools with ALEC legislation.

Anonymous said...

seven, there is a simple reason why I didn't include private schools in my ecosystem of public schools --- they are not required, as charter public schools are, to teach the state academic content standards, administer the state assessments, and to be held to the state accountability requirements.

The trail court in the I-1240 case pointed specifically at these requirements to support the court's conclusion that charter public schools fit under our state's general and uniform system of public schools.

Private schools operate under no such conditions and, therefore, warrant no expectations of public school funding.

--- aka

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Or, frustration that the state isn't allocating enough money across the board is being sort of unfairly directed at charter schools."

Nice try but that won't work.

AKA,I tend to know who the core people who come to this blog are. But I don't know who the majority are. And when I get personally attacked - not by you in this case but other times - then yes, I'd like to see people stand up for their words. You tell us all how much you know about legislative matters (inferring we know little and get it wrong). When I hear that kind of sighing "you know nothing" tone, it's a bit irritating.

We're supposed to accept everything you say. Okay, I will but only at face value which, if you don't sign your name, isn't much to me.

I think No on 1240 ends this well and so this discussion - for now - will end here.