Let the Legislators Know TODAY

The next couple of days are very important to get bills out of committee in the State Legislature.  If you believe charters would be wrong for our state, please contact the following members of the Legislature:

Hotline number - 800-562-6000 to leave a message for any legislator or committee

House Education Committee:
House Bill 2428

santos.sharontomiko@leg.wa.gov;  She is the Chair and could be the most valuable to contact.

Senate Committee:
Senate bill 6202

Vice Chair
Committee Members

What should you say?  Here are some suggestions:

- The Legislature has been cutting K-12 funding the last few years.  The state Supreme Court just ruled that the State is not fully funding our existing schools.  How is bringing on-line more underfunded schools going to help?
- Where is the money (roughly $10-15M) to support this bill going to come from if you are cutting programs and there are no additional revenues coming in?
- This bill is really three bills in one - a charter bill, a "transformation zone" school bill and a parent trigger bill.  Let them know that initiatives and referendums can't have multiple topics and neither should legislative bills.

This bill (among other things):
  • will cost school districts money.  If a school loses students, they will lose teachers as well as money for other staffing positions like librarians, counselors and nurses
  • the bill does NOT provide enough measures to make sure that the majority of charter schools would be of the best quality to serve educationally disadvantaged students
  • the "parent trigger" portion of this bill is not strict enough.  In California, it takes a majority of parents AND teachers to convert an existing public school to a charter.  This measure only takes a majority of either group.
    • This legislation does NOT provide for background checks and child abuse registry checks for charter school board members.
  • Allowing for-profit companies to run/manage public schools is a bad idea.   
  • There is no clause for a trigger for review of a charter school if it drops below a certain number of students.  Most charter laws do have a limit somewhere around 100 students. 
  • It creates more administration at the state level.  That's money that is NOT going into classrooms.  
  • The bill allows for several types of authorizers but those authrorizers can then contract out their responsibilities to other employees or contractors.   With this system, how does the public know who read and reviewed any charter proposal? 
  • There is virtually no mention of parental involvement in this bill.  There is no requirement for parents to be part of the process whether it is parents in a neighborhood where a school is to be located OR for parents whose child attend the school.
  • In talking about providing a plan for educationally disadvantaged students, the bill mentions, “student discipline for Special Education students.”  Why are these students are called out specifically for discipline issues?

    Charters have the right of first refusal to purchase/lease at or below fair market value, a closed facility or property OR unused portions of a public school facility or property if the district decides to sell or lease the facility or property.  This means district-owned buildings would pass out of the hands of the district.


KG said…
The voters said no to Charter Schools 3-times. What part of NO do they not understand in Olympia?

Three strikes you are out.

Anonymous said…
Also, check out the post "Serious Substantive Flaws With Charter School Bill HB 2428" for even more reasons why this charter school bill is NOT what we want for our students and our schools.


Time is of the essence so please contact the House and Senate ed committee representatives today.

Sahila said…
try this tactic/argument:

Sacramento Assembly Roadblocks New Charter Schools

"...The Assembly passed union-backed legislation today that would allow charter school petitions to be rejected if they negatively affect a school district's finances.

The measure, Assembly Bill 1172, was approved by the bare minimum number of votes required, 41-27. No Republicans supported the bill by Assemblyman Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia.

Supporters, including the California Teachers Association, contend that the bill is needed to help schools avoid fiscal insolvency, according to an Assembly analysis of AB 1172.

Opponents argue that the bill is too broadly written and that most school districts could claim a negative financial impact under it, the analysis said.

AB 1172 now goes to the Senate."

something of a blow to the ed deformers, seeing Sacramento is home turf to $tudent$Fir$t's Michelle Rhee and her husband, sexual predator, public-fund stealing, Arizona Suns basketballer, mayor Kevin Johnson...
Anonymous said…
Over at League of Education Voters, 6 of the last 9 stories push charters. Most of those are stories of parents in California or elsewhere.

Why is LEV pushing this so hard, when there are so many other education issues in Washington?

Why do LEV people think happy stories from other states will change anyone's mind?

I don't get it and I don't think this is strengthening LEV's reputation.

basically said…
Thank you so much, I am going to cut, paste and send. I am curious to see who I will hear back from!!
Anonymous said…
Thank you - cut and pasted the emails and the text and sent to both House and Senate.

Also forwarded to friends...

Parent at Lincoln
Christina said…
Thanks, copying and pasting polite notes and questions to the House and Senate kept me busy for awhile today. I did get an automated reply from a senator, apologizing as he was deluged with e-mails, so that was uplifting. I recognize that millions of Washingtonians are sharing their thoughts about additional legislation, however.
Nancy b said…
Thanks for putting this together!

I've shared this on my Facebook page, it was already shared on our school's FB page where I first read it - so share it any way you can(FB, twitter, email, etc.)
Anonymous said…
Charters died in committee!!!! Just got an email from a friend letting me know.
seattle citizen said…
If it's true that charters died in committee, then the Seattle Times last entry in its Reform Propaganda Campaign is a day late and a dollar short*:

In Katrina's wake, New Orleans' schools reinvent themselves around competition

This op-ed (education is a competition!) by Paul Pastorek, former Louisiana state superintendent of education, is, evidently, an "invite" of sorts to Washington Policy Center's education luncheon Wednesday. He's the kynote speaker. Someone should go and report on this Reform Extravaganza, or at least just heckle.

*I have to give the Times credit for running ONE anti-charter op-ed (I know, it's astonishing!), yesterday's The false promise of charter schools.
anonymous said…
Um, KG, the last time charters came up for vote was 6 or 7 years ago. Alot has changed in SPS since then (think a crippled economy, major budget cuts, standardization, school closures, large class sizes, limited access to advanced learning, horrible math materials, Readers and Writers workshops, etc). And on the national level we now have President Obama and Arne Duncan pushing for charters and the monetary incentives that come with them. I wouldn't rely so heavily on a past vote down of charters that came during the days of a solid economy, and much autonomy for our alt schools. It might look VERY different this time. That's why I really hope the MOU on school autonomy passes - it might be our last defense against charters. But alas, this is Seattle. The culture of no. The MOU probably won't pass and charters will get in one way or another.

"one way or another" - Yes, it is likely that either way, yay or nay, the charter issue will go to a vote of the people.

But I fear that even less. I'm not sure what a charter initiative would look like but if it looks anything like this bill, people will say no (if they take the time to understand it, that is).

My analysis on the bill to come, probably tomorrow. But there is not enough tweaking that could save this thing.
Custom Writing said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
How about contacting your representatives saying that you support teachers and are very concerned with the other bill in legislature that would reduce their health care benefits (pass on costs to teachers, to community, and less coverage) and you don't like it!

It would help teachers stay in the profession if we were treated like professionals and could take care of our families.

Anonymous said…
Here is a call to action note that might be of interest to your readers....

Dear SEA Sisters and Brothers,

If you sit on your hands we will lose much of what we have gained over the years.

One of the reasons you forego the higher salaries of the private sector is that being a public school educator has good benefits. Senate Bill 6442 and it companion, House Bill 2724 would put an end to that. These bills would have the state take over your benefits. With our current collectively bargained benefits we already have better benefits at less cost than other state workers. Please click here for more details about the drawbacks of the proposed take over.

I am citing an email from one of your peers to show you how easy it is to contact your senator and representatives on this issue. Please take the time to craft a similar message and send it to your legislators. It takes just a few minutes. Once you have written the message you should save it and resend it daily until you get a firm commitment from your legislator not to support these bills. Click here for the Legislator contact list for Seattle legislators.

Here is what Jennifer Matter from Madison Middle School said to Senator Adam Kline.

Dear Senator Kline,

I am a teacher in Seattle Public Schools and a resident of the 37th Legislative District.

I am writing you today because I feel adamant that SB 6442 should not pass. It is my understanding that the bill will not only increase what taxpayers would pay but also reduce healthcare benefits and take away choice. I am concerned about having a state-wide agency controlling my healthcare benefits instead of my local union in which I have a voice.

Most everyone has been hit hard by the downturn in the economy. I'd argue that as educators we have been hit hardest. Not only have there been more demands made of public school employees for less compensation, but the families that we serve have less and rely more on public schools to provide what they cannot for their children. SB 6442 feels like another hit to public school employees. Please vote against SB 6442.

Thank you for your consideration.


Jennifer Matter

Please join with Jennifer and voice your opposition to these bills. Right now there are enough sponsoring senators to pass the senate version. We need to contact them in big numbers in order to get them to rethink. Please do not let this slip through the cracks; you must take action.
Anonymous said…
First, not a teacher. But a life-long union supporter (though last time in union was in '81...!) I welcome more autonomy, but do not feel that teachers should have to give up ALL collective bargaining rights, nor should the Board be cut out of the accountability equation.

Sahila said…
Yeehaa!!!!! WA State Bill Approving Charter Schools Killed in Committee Today!!!

Take that Bill Gates, Eli Broad, Waltons, Mike Milken, DFER, LEV, S4C, A4E etc.... Hard work pays off!!!
KG said…

The people should not have to vote on Charters again and we should not even be discussing charters.
We cannot afford to put charters on the ballot.

Let's put something on the ballot that stops large airline corporations and yes WAR MONGER corporations from taking our tax dollars that was intended for Education. I will not mention the name of this corporation but 2-sub par board members work there.
Anonymous said…
Charters apparently are not entirely off the table for this session.

And you can bet that even if they are, they'll be back on the docket, or in an initiative, soon. Corporate interests don't intend to lose.
Anonymous said…
The above post was from EdVoter.
Chris S. said…
Another change from the last time voters were asked about charters: more results and data from the charter experiment around the country, most of which are not encouraging. Yes, maybe SPS schools are "worse" than they were, but charters don't look as shiny as they once did, either.
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