Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Please Call, Tweet or E-Mail Your Rep in Legislature

Update: Here's an interesting tweet from Rep Chris Reykdal:
 "68 tweets tagging me to support charter schools. Not one of them calls for fully funding our public schools. Sad!"

Yes, that is sad but not surprising.  What's really sad?  That if the charter bill passes, the charter schools WILL reap the benefits of McCleary when it's fully enacted and they didn't publicly lift a finger.  Not one school, not WSCSA.

end of update 

The Legislature is going to discuss this charter bill tomorrow and probably vote.

If you believe that McCleary was mostly ignored, they need to hear from you.

If you don't believe in charter schools, they need to hear from you.

If you believe that 1M Washington state students who have been waiting years for fully-funded schools should be trumped by 900 students in schools open less than a year, they need to hear from you.

Info on contacting your legislator is here.


Teacher Greg said...

Has the vote been postponed? The legislative website is showing both the finance and budget meetings as cancelled today. Caucus meetings and transportation are all that seem to be in the agenda.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Hmm, Greg, I'll have to find out. Thanks for the update.

Anonymous said...

I also called Governor Inslee's office, at 360-902-4111, and told the staffer that if a charter school bill passed a floor vote in the House, I would hope and expect that the governor would veto it. I reminded him that Gregoire had admonished the House and Senate that if such a bill came to her desk, she would veto it, and suggested that a statement by Inslee to that effect would be most welcome, especially because the Legislature was still not in compliance with McCleary.

-- Ivan Weiss

Charlie Mas said...

You tell 'em, Ivan!

Anonymous said...

TG, the finance committee and capital budget committee meetings have been cancelled. There is a House Session/Caucus on the calendar.

If you go to House Floor Activity, you'll see SB 6194 is on the floor calendar. The striking amendment has been added.

Once the bill is on the Order of Consideration, you'll know the vote is coming.

--- aka

Melissa Westbrook said...

I just checked and AKA is correct.

The order of consideration today is:
1) HB 2968 Kindergarten, K-3 class size
2) HB 2988 Budget stabilization T.O.
3) ESSB 6201 Supplemental capital budget
4) ESSB 6194 Public non-common schools

Thank you, Ivan. I have made it pretty clear to the Governor myself. He is being quite unclear on his stance on charter schools and it's troubling but that's his call during an election year.

His office told me this to my query:

"His position hasn’t changed.Innovation and accountability are both important to him. If legislators reach agreement and send him a bill he’ll look at it but so far they haven’t done so."

You can't hedge much more than that.

NO 1240 said...

I agree with Ivan.

This is a sad day for Washington state residents. We will watch an elected body seek to circumvent the constitution, and do so in a way that lacks transparency and public input.

I fully expect Gerry Pollet to make an amendments.

Anonymous said...

NO 1240, what are you talking about? The action that is being taken today is in no way an attempt to "circumvent the constitution." SB 6194 had public hearings in two committees of the Senate and the House Education Committee. What is being offered today is called a "striking amendment." Striking amendments are used on dozens (if not hundreds) of bills each and every session. Striking amendments are certainly allowed and anticipated by our state constitution.

Actions taken on the floor of each chamber are taken by elected representatives after public testimony and input. We elect these members of the state legislature to represent our interests. Floor amendments, including striking amendments, are our representatives doing just that.

--- aka

Anonymous said...

And as much as I cringe every time my buddy Bob Murphy attacks his WEA leadership for being gutless, I will join him if this bill passes and they don't urge every teacher in this state to phone-bomb, e-mail bomb, and otherwise carpet-bomb the governor's office demanding a veto.

Inslee owes this state's teachers, big time. They put their efforts into electing him when they could have been concentrating on stopping I-1240, which barely passed. Now it's his turn to help them (and us), and they (and we) had better not let him forget it. After his shameful, unconscionable sellout of the Machinists' pension while he groveled to Boeing, he needs to re-establish at least some credibility with the unionized workers in this state.

If you're a teacher and you're reading this, you know what to do. Send your leadership a message.

-- Ivan Weiss

Melissa Westbrook said...

Unfortunately, AKA, voters did not vote in a blanket charter law. I-1240 WAS for charters but for a very specific manner. This bill changes a lot of that and with no real chance for public input.

Anonymous said...

I've said this in emails to my Legislators and to the Governor today - but what this comes down to for me is - does one believe that the "needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" or not. 1 million plus kids, many in severely underfunded schools, should count for more. Fix that first. Fix the McCleary issues first. Then we can talk about alternatives.


NO 1240 said...

Give me a break, aka. If the striker isn't adopted= there are multiple title-only bills in play. If you don't believe the title-only bills won't be manipulated then I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

As well, the public did NOT have an opportunity to weigh-in on the striker bill and the bill will be in play...less than 24 hours...after the bill was released to the public. Please.

NO 1240 said...

I will also note, aka, that SB 6194 was not passed out of the House and the legislature is attempting to create a parallel system of education via a striker. There has been NO opportunity for public input and that is wrong.

I look forward to your comments if title- only bills come into play and that IS the plan.

Anonymous said...

Is it me or is it odd time for Knapp to step out of SEA right when the heat and fire is exploding like Greenwood.

Ah the SEA right where they need to be.. nowhere

- Union Member (not for long)

Joseph Rockne said...

I called and emailed Gov. Inslee this message:

Please, would you please stand up for the public schools in our state, and the 1,000,000+ public school children that are waiting for the legislature to meet their constitutional obligations?

The private operators of the charter schools that are serving only 1,000 students should not be allowed to jump to the front of the line.

Please, stand up and state your clear and unequivocal support for our public schools and tell those few to wait their turn. Let them know that you will veto any legislative "fix" for the few that comes before a fix for the many.

Anonymous said...

NO 1240, I don't think the title-only bills will come into play. SB 6194 is the vehicle for a charter schools bill, as I understand it.

And again, there are dozens if not hundreds of striking amendments every legislative session. And those striking amendments are dropped sometimes minutes before a vote. This is not a charter-specific scenario.

Finally, not everything that occurs involves direct democracy. We are a republican democracy and we depend upon our elected representatives to serve our interests. The public is not going to have direct input into every action of the legislature.

--- aka

Teacher Greg said...

There is a hefty list of amendments proposed. Some interesting, some frightening.


NO 1240 said...

aka, you don't understand. If SB 6194 gets off the floor..it will go to the Senate. The Senate may or may not agree with amendments. That is where the Senate may try and unravel Springer's Striker and it will be an ugly fight.

I will no longer engage with you. Geesh.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Teacher Greg, what a lalapalooza of amendments! I went thru them all. Fascinating.

- a couple would strike the "emergency" clause
- a couple would put back that there can only be 40 in five years
- one saves only the 8 charter schools
- one would hold districts harmless if they lose more than 10 students in their state allocations
- one would add the McKinney-Vento Act to federal acts (M-K is for homeless students)
- one would put no more than 3 charters in a single district until 2020 and then, removed if no financial/performance audit issues for those charters
- one would remove lottery preferences for sibs and employees' kids
- one would have the charter lose its contract if it has an at-risk student try to enroll and is not accepted
- one would require monthly reports of all revenue and sources of for every charter school
- one would require that charter students who access a district's athletics are restricted to only those sports that a district offers.
- one would require charter students who access a district's athletics to pay full costs minus student fee
- one would require charters to notify prospective, new or current families of any on-going litigation
- one would have members of the Charter Commission and charter boards file financial disclosure statements
- one would have one school board member of district where charter resides serve on charter school board
- one amendment attempts to protect the funds in the Opp fund
- one amendment would require the majority of a charter school board to be parents at charter school
- one amendment would not require school districts to have info on charters at their enrollment centers
- one would have teacher evaluation 4-tier process for both cert and non-cert charter teachers
- one would put State Superintendent and Ex Director of BOE (or reps) on Charter Commission and take out clause that there can only be up to five members of the same political party on the CC

This could take a long, long time to go thru these.

Melissa Westbrook said...

So it's now 2:30 pm on the day before the session closes. The House is still in caucus so we can't see anything that is going on. I have to wonder if this can all rationally get done in time, given that yes, there are other issues before them (not just charter schools.)

One thing, though. If this bill gets thru and goes to the Governor, I hope he will have the good grace to tell people what he will do and not leave people hanging. He's been very coy so far and, for me, it's not serving him well.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure, NO 1240, what you think I don't understand. I clearly know the legislative process, so know that a Senate bill that House amends must go back to the Senate for concurrence or dispute. Vice versa with House bills the Senate amends. That's how the bill process works.

Am I missing something else?

--- aka

NO 1240 said...

You are correct, aka. The problem will occur if the House and Senate have a dispute.

Teacher Greg said...

I didn't know about this, so perhaps others might not as well. There is a live feed you can watch...but when they are in caucus its not all that exciting. I am really looking forward to seeing the debate on this topic.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Magendanz says it is still 40 schools but clearly some legislators read the bill as I did and thought it was 48. That said, I don't trust Magendanz.