A Window of Opportunity

After pondering the events of my Yogi Berra thread where we learned that something is afoot about the charter school legislation AND that a better kind of "pilot program" bill has been reintroduced, I think there may be an opening here to get a push going this weekend.

My belief is that the original charter bill is dead. I can't find a listing for it to come before the Legislature under any agenda for the next couple of days.

But I also think there may be a truncated version somewhere just waiting to be tucked into a budget bill. I can't find it (and neither could the legislative help desk staff yesterday when I called) but it just might not have made it in yet.

If you do not think charter schools are a good idea for Washington State, I urge you to contact the following legislators this weekend:




Also, consider contacting your own legislators about this issue.

Ask them to say NO to any inclusion of charter school legislation in any budget proposal.

If you agree with HB2799, the newest proposal for pilot schools (low-performing schools paired with colleges of education over five years), include that thought as well. Tell them there are other options to charters such as allowing the two innovation schools laws AND the lighthouse school law passed last year the time to work.

If these legislators get a rush of e-mails this weekend, it may help guide them in these last couple of weeks of the session.


Anonymous said…
In theory, I like your idea of pairing low-performing schools with institutions of higher learning (education). In practice, however, I'm wondering how that would look? Getting more interns into fewer buildings for more hands on help to students with every teacher mentoring them. Lots of interns collaborating together with teachers for agreed-upon goals could be fantastic.

I have an intern and her time in the classroom is surprising low and interrupted. She is preparing for the TPA - a new way of assessing/evaluating her. In some ways, having her has made my job more difficult rather than easier.

I guess I'd like to see a plan in place to make this a really practical experience for both the school and the interns.

After saying all this, I haven't read the bill. Maybe it's there?

I read through the bill quickly but I didn't see anything about interns. I think it is much more about creating a program - together - and carrying it out, then assessing and tweaking the plan.
Anonymous said…
I don't think there are many ways to tweak the current program. It is working for many students. The achievement/opportunity gap needs more people and more time all focused on achievement.

If you look at the successes in charter schools - Kipp for instance - it wears people out with the amount of work. More people would go a long way to solving that problem and would train teachers at the same time. We've just about exhausted examining pedagogy. In fact, I would say we are going in circles where that is concerned.

Everything old is new again.

Sahila said…
achievement gap cant be solved in schools because it is not an ACHIEVEMENT gap... its an OPPORTUNITY gap, and until we as a society are willing to deal with how we have structured ourselves, and the poverty that is integral to that structure, none of this will change...

and since capitalist plutarchs wont give up their power and control, there are only two ways to change any of this - either we keep going the way we are until we have exhausted the planet and its resources and we all gradually die, OR we have some sort of revolution and the global adoption of a completely new social/economic paradigm, including for example, a resource-based economy...
Anonymous said…
As a Seattle public school teacher I have been somewhat supportive of charter schools and constantly find our union's rigid opposition disturbing.

During break I spent some time out of state including some time speaking with a high school student who credits her charter school with her academic turnaround... just happened to be one of several school-aged children at a friends of family even and being a teacher others asked me to speak with her. I was quite impressed, although I recognize that the charter school she went to clearly was designed around struggling students such as this near-dropout student.

By no means "the" solution as if there is just one, but I would seriously consider some charter school options either for myself as a teacher and/or recommending for some students. We need more tools, not fewer.

Sea Teacher
dan dempsey said…
Dear Sea Teacher and Sahila,

(1) Sahila wrote:

its an OPPORTUNITY gap, and until we as a society are willing to deal with how we have structured ourselves, and the poverty that is integral to that structure, none of this will change...

I disagree that none of this will change. Project Follow Through showed that substantial positive academic change can occur for educationally disadvantaged learners in grades k-3 by using certain instructional practices. The SPS ignores such practices and nothing changes.

Auburn is not using the Top Down management approach that the SPS prefers and has produced substantial improvement in grades 3,4,5 MSP scores at Auburn Elementary schools.


(2) SEA Teacher, you are definitely correct in that there is no one "The Solution". I can add that one size fits very few in many cases.

Far too many teacher are trapped in an irrational system ... "Leadership and Management" are failing and yet teachers are blamed.....

Teachers are instructed to use defective materials and poor instructional practices and then the results are lousy .... the Top Down answer is that the teachers did not do it right and need more professional development.

Well guess what?
Hattie tells us that these materials and practices that are not producing results for us .... are not producing results throughout the world....

So are all the world's teachers that use these practices defective? Or is it the management and leadership that is defective for refusing to use instructional practices and materials known to produce positive results? {{Ask Enfield about Math}}

I put the State Legislature, the SBE, OSPI, right in there with the no results leaders in the SPS. Toss in the wait until 2018 WA Supreme Court as well.

(3) I worked in a High High profile California Charter school ..... in fact it was the Time Magazine School of the year a few years before I was there. First thing that happened was a Top Down decision to switch to Everyday Math and Connected Math Project materials because the consultants who wrote "Understanding by Design" really find Connected Math to be the best. ..... Dan left shortly thereafter.

(4) It is really sad that the teaching profession is being deprofessionalized and teachers are not allowed to make instructional decisions based on real research. These days teachers are to a much greater extent under attack than before which leads to a poisonous working environment.

To get started at the very top with a correction DUMP DUNCAN.

Given that it takes about $500,000 to even get started with a successful bid to become SPI .... I think that Randy Dorn will likely be the best we can have. The folks with the real money to make it happen .... would put someone in place as SPI far worse than Randy.

Good that Enfield is leaving the SPS ....

What do those headhunters look for in a candidate during a Superintendent search?

Given Enfield is a finalist in Bellevue and Highline, my guess is that academic improvement for the kids Sahila referenced is not considered at all.

Note that many of the really high performing charter schools that are producing results with Low Income kids are doing so with an extended school day and an extended school year...... So why is the legislature talking about charters instead of funding an extended school day and an extended school year? THIS SYSTEM IS FILLED WITH DECEPTION and NONSENSE .... write your legislator Ha Ha.
Charlie Mas said…
sea teacher,

First and foremost, I am absolutely delighted that a child who was close to dropping out got the support she needed and is now on a more positive path.

But let's be clear. What helped this student what not governance and ownership of her charter school but the work done in it by the teachers and staff. That work could have been done at a public school.

I certainly agree that we need more tools. But we don't need a special school for those tools. Those tools could be used in our existing schools.

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