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Friday, February 03, 2012

Contact Senate Ed Committee Members Today

Today is the last day to bring bills out of committee and there still has not been movement on the charter bill in the Senate.  I urge you to express your opinion as soon as possible.  Below are the members of the Senate committee.  Chairman Rosemary McAuliffe needs as much support as possible.  One of the sponors of the bill, Rodney Tom, is on this committee.

I have heard rumblings that if Senator Tom does not  get this out of the committee, he will use some other maneuver to get it out to the Senate later on.

I had a conversation with Senator Tom on this bill (and I appreciate him taking the time to talk with me).  My suspicions on who wrote this bill were confirmed; he said it was written with a "broad coalition."  When I questioned him on some key sections of the bill, he said that they were probably written with legal issues in mind and in other sections where you would expect more detail, he said that most charters take care of those things on their own.

I will go into detail on this bill this weekend but frankly, I do not trust anyone to do the right thing on their own.  That's why we write laws.  I also think that Senator Tom and others who keep saying, "Just try this" are being disingenious.  this is a law, not a pilot project out of OSPI.  That's why we elect people to carefully consider what becomes part of our legal code.

The Washington State Senate Committee on Early Learning and K-12 Education:
Chair - Rosemary.McAuliffe@leg.wa.gov;
Vice Chair - Christine.Rolfes@leg.wa.gov;
Members
Steve.Litzow@leg.wa.gov;
Tracey.Eide@leg.wa.gov;
joe.fain@leg.wa.gov;
Nick.Harper@leg.wa.gov;
andy.hill@leg.wa.gov;
Steve.Hobbs@leg.wa.gov;
king.curtis@leg.wa.gov;
sharon.nelson@leg.wa.gov;
Rodney.Tom@leg.wa.gov

15 comments:

Nancyb said...

Great work, Melissa! I really appreciate the effort you're putting into this.

Folks - share this alert with your friends.

Here are the phone numbers -
The Washington State Senate Committee on Early Learning and K-12 Education:
Chair - Rosemary McAuliffe (360) 786-7600
Vice Chair - Christine Rolfes (360) 786-7644
Members
Steve Litzow (360)786-7641
Tracey Eide (360)786-7658
Joe Fain (360)786-7692
Nick Harper (360)786-7674
Andy Hill (360)786-7672
Steve Hobbs (360)786-7686
Curtis King (360)786-7626
Sharon Nelson (360)786-7667
Rodney Tom (360)786-7694

Charlie Mas said...

I find this bill and this idea very disturbing.

There is nothing that a charter school can do that a public school cannot do.

I have said that countless times and no one has disputed it. It's a fact.

The problem, and I'm not blind to it, is that public schools, although they CAN do what charter schools do, often DON'T do what charter schools do. The problem, charter school proponents attest, is that public schools do not implement the strategies that work - especially for historically under-performing groups like students living in poverty.

Think about that for a moment.

Charter school proponents, such as the League of Education Voters, are telling us that school district officials know about these strategies, know that the strategies work, and yet refuse to implement them. They say that public school principals know about these strategies, and know that these strategies work, and yet refuse to implement them.

That's not only an incredible indictment of our school district leadership and school leadership, it is also an indictment of our democracy. Because these groups are saying that even at the school district level, the most local form of democracy we have, the leadership is not responsive to the needs of the community.

I feel a little funny about this issue because I feel like I have switched sides with the LEV. I feel like they have switched sides because they had fully supported Dr. Goodloe-Johnson, who was all about central control and standardization and now they want to break central control and standardization. Also, they are the people who are all about trying to control the political process and now they are saying that the political process doesn't work.

I feel like I have switched sides, too, because I have long complained about how the District isn't responsive to the needs of the community it serves, and now I'm saying that we shouldn't take a short cut around them and their non-responsiveness.

It's weird being on this side of the net. It's weird being the one asking "Why do you hate America?"

Anonymous said...

Nonprofit charters slurp public $. WA cannot afford this.

Send the WA Senate this link from an investigation by Minnesota's biggest paper:

"Minnesota's charter school movement...has been infected by an out-of-control financing system fueled by junk bonds, insider fees and lax oversight....Consultants have found a legal loophole, allowing proponents to use millions of dollars in public money to build schools even though the properties remain in the hands of private nonprofit corporations..."

And let me say again that I am horrified by LEV pushing this issue. Stand 4 Children too, though I expect as much from an organization with union busting at its leadership heart.

EdVoter

Anonymous said...

I already emailed everyone in the house and senate list from the post on Tuesday. Do we need to email a second time do you think?

-KM

Anonymous said...

I called the office of my Senator, Sharon Nelson (D-34), who is on this committee, and is a steadfast and relentless opponent of charters. Her legislative assistant told me the committee had been scheduled to meet in executive session at noon, but as of now that wasn't happening. That's for what it's worth.

-- Ivan Weiss

mirmac1 said...

Right on Ivan. Sharon's my Senator too and she's the best!

Anonymous said...

Folks, the bill as I write this is still in committee and the following members are pushing hard for the bill. Please contact these reps this afternoon, now would not be too soon, and let them know what you think about the charter school bill:

Rodney.Tom@leg.wa.gov

Steve.Litzow@leg.wa.gov;

king.curtis@leg.wa.gov;

joe.fain@leg.wa.gov;

andy.hill@leg.wa.gov;

Steve.Hobbs@leg.wa.gov;

Dora

Anonymous said...

ON KUOW today at NOON, The Conversation with Ross Reynolds, has a big charter proponent, Paul Pastorek- Louisiana Super of public education, discussing the greatness of charters, unfetterd by bureaucracy, school board, union rules and how much charter schools have made hugh academic gains post-Katrina. He talks about setting up schools and managing them like portfolios and if they fail, out goes the principals and staff. He tells us the reason why WA citizens have not embraced charter is because our schools are not as bad, so we don't know what that is like. He has.

http://kuow.org/program.php?id=25885

FYI

mirmac1 said...

Tweet from Brian Rosenthal:

brianmrosenthal
Looks like NONE of ed reform bills (charter, eval, etc) are getting out of committee. But nothing's rly over til session ends

suep. said...

One of the various elements of this charter bill effort that I find troubling is the charter-pushers' tactic to push it through the legislature in order to bypass the voters.

Sen. Rodney Tom said as much to Brian Rosenthal in a Seattle Times article last month:

Asked why lawmakers were pursuing legislation instead of again asking voters to approve charters, Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, said he is not willing to risk defeat.

"I don't think education is something you take a gamble with," said Tom, a co-sponsor of the bills. "It's high time that we take care of that here in Olympia."


(See: Seattle Times)

Ah yes, that "gamble" known as democracy.

What that really means is, he fears that, if given the opportunity to voice their view on the matter, Washington voters would likely say no to charters again.

Meanwhile the state PTA leadership did a similar end-run around genuine democratic input in the manner in which one of their committees put charters on their agenda, even though the subject does not meet their own criteria for a worthwhile issue -- one that "aligns with their mission and vision."

How does privatizing public education via highly controversial and problematic charters "align with the mission and vision" of the parent and teacher organization I belong to?

The PTA vote on the issue was also undemocratic in that few people could afford to take a day off (on a Friday when school was out, no less) to go to the SeaTac Marriott for their legislative assembly meeting and pay $200 or so to cast their vote on the matter.

So again, these so-called "ed reformers" do everything they can to bypass a genuine democratic process, input and discussion of their agenda.

Why?

Because their agenda likely would not hold up to genuine public scrutiny.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous & the KUOW interview:

"Paul Pastorek- Louisiana Super of public education, discussing the greatness of charters..."

Louisiana? Where all the lawsuits against charter schools are?

-JC.

Anonymous said...

JC, Ross Reynolds didn't ask him any real tough questions, certainly not about lawsuits. If you listen, the guy has done these interviews enough to know the answers to the questions already. But I don't think it was a coincidence that he was on today pitching his charter portfolio.

FYI

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, I heard this interview and tried to call in. No one picked up. He certainly skirted some issues.

As for a vote, well, if these bills fail in the Legislature, it will likely go to a vote. Teach for America needs charters desperately as well as those who want to make money off public education.

A couple of pluses to a public vote (which I would not look forward to but which I also don't fear):

- they could not have the 3-bills-in-1 initiative that they have in this bill

- they want to ask people to spend more money that we don't have. Good luck with that one.

Anonymous said...

Compare and Contrast these diaries on charters from Melissa, Dora ... to what the WEA is sending its members and encouraging them to do ...

oh wait ... don't you need something to compare and contrast to!?

hello english teachers ...

if I'm going to compare and contrast A to B, doesn't B have to more than nothing ... ??

The WEA is pulling out all the stops so we teachers have the right to have 200 separate health plans among 200 separate districts ... and since hundreds of thousands of citizens are "insured" by Cross Your Fingers, or, are 2 or 4 paychecks away from "insurance" by Cross Your Fingers - this sure as hell is one solid guaranteed loser with respect to rousing the public for the poor teachers.

Funny how the WEA, politically, can't walk and chew gum at the same time. Is it any wonder how, for decades, unions have

WitheredToIrrelevance

Anonymous said...

The teacher/principal evaluation bill is next and according to the article that I just read in PI, Gregoire is for it also. http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Dem-dispute-derails-education-bills-in-Legislature-2998828.php

It's the "too big to fail" talk that they are espousing, "this is too important to not pass".

This is the next big push. This is not about the unions as these ed reform folks will couch it, it's about so much emphasis being placed on tests and outcomes particularly in reading and math, that all else gets lost, the arts, history, the humanities as well as critical and creative thinking or even learning how to think at all for oneself.

If this continues throughout the country as it is now as a trend, the only scientists, writers, philosophers, artists, architects, great diagnosticians, (I could go on but you understand what I mean) will come from the the population of the 1% who enjoy a well-rounded education in their private schools now.

Dora