Honestly, I'm incredibly personally perplexed by the legislature's reliance on charter schools as evidence that they've improved basic education in common schools. I'm nearly at a loss of words. So, I will rely on the legislature's words here.
On page 6 of the report, the legislature lists the charter school bill as an example of "enacted policy legislation to support basic education and other legislative education priorities."
Even worse than that is the legislature's statement on page 25: "First, [the state's] budget assumes that there will be a decrease in the caseload number of students enrolled in common schools as those students move from existing common schools to charter schools, so it makes a downward adjustment to funding for common schools and add corresponding funding for charter school enrollments."end of update
There I was, all ready to go to bed, when I get a text from Washington Paramount Duty co-founder, Summer Stinson. Summer, who apparently doesn't sleep, had attended the legislature's "work group" on McCleary meeting and was letting me know a couple of items mentioned. She then sent me a link to this article in the The News Tribune.
A big step? That's the understatement of the year?Obviously we still have a big step to go, and I think we can continue to make progress as we go forward.
State Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island
“Whether or not the court recognizes that, I think we have set up ourselves to get this solved, finally, in the next session.”I'll proffer a guess....no? Between working their tushes off to pass charter legislation and then, kicking the can down the road with yet another "task force," I'm thinking the Supreme Court, like Queen Victoria, will not be amused.
State Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island
Between now and June 17, both the state Attorney General’s Office and the McCleary plaintiffs will file briefs with the court, arguing whether or not the court should lift the contempt sanctions.
The issue is the legislature seemingly has no idea how much levy money is being used "unconstitutionally" to pay for school staff. (That "unconstitutionally?" Lies right at the feet of the legislature. Districts wouldn't have had to resort to doing that if their schools had been fully funded.)It’s now up to the Supreme Court to act for our children, because it’s evident the Legislature will not do so.
Summer Stinson, founding member of Washington’s Paramount Duty, a group asking the Legislature to fully fund public schools
And, they need to hire a consultant to do it. That part kind of baffles me. Doesn't OSPI exist and have contact with each and every district in this state? I can see needing a consultant to massage the data into a readable form and I hope that's all. The report is to get to the legislature by ...November. November! Doesn't leave much time for thinking about solving that problem, does it?
I found this quote laughable (as I find much of what Senator Fain says to be laughable):
“I’m not going to try to read the court’s mind,” said Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn. “The job that we have to do to pick up the state’s full responsibility for basic education exists in our constitution. No matter what any particular court of law says, we have to solve this problem.”There is no mind-reading involved. The court told the legislature what to do. The constitution tells the legislature what to do. The numerous studies paid for by the state on school funding have told the legislature what to do. All anyone is waiting on is for actual WORK to be done.
Here's their draft of their latest report to the Supreme Court:
They note that the Legislature had been "struggling with the impact of the recession" but then, when they want to prop themselves up, say
Beginning with the 2013-15 biennial budget and continuing through the 2015-17 biennial budget, the Legislature has committed substantial state funding to fulfill the state's statutory obligations under ESHB 2261 and SHB 2776.
without acknowledging that schools had also been struggling with those recession impacts and that some of that "substantial state funding" was backfill, not new money. (I note that LEV refuses to acknowledge this in their own writing.)
They list their accomplishments - fully-funding all-day K, construction dollars, etc. They go on to talk about other issues and then we get to "Strategies to Close the Educational Opportunity Gap."
That's where they talk about suspension issues, youth in juvenile justice systems, cultural competence training for school staff and board members, endorsements for ELL teachers, etc. Included in this list are charter schools and they finally address the court "monetary sanction" of $100K per day.
They just brush that fine right off because they is so much left in the General Fund plus reserves that - if I read their intent correctly - the $27.9M accumulated so far is just chump change. So boo on you, Court.
And remember that 1,000+ charter kids we were told existed? As of Feb. 2016, there were 780 students in eight charter schools. (How many there were in Summit is unknown but not enough to kick it to 1,000+.)