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Friday, June 01, 2012

Latest In State/Local Charter Misinformation

Looking at what editorial boards from around the state are saying about charters, it would seem most of them are fairly uninformed.

The Spokesman-Review:

In Washington, charter schools are like most late library books: overdue without a good excuse.

They seem to forget that voters did address this issue already three times. 

Forty schools won’t upset the state’s vast public school system, nor will they transform the quality of education. However, it is a nice number with which to test the arguments for adding more choices to improve outcomes, and to persuade more parents to entrust their children to public education.

Interesting theory.  We pass a law (not a pilot program which the Legislature could do) to try them but they may or may not be quality schools nor will they have significant outcomes to the state?

Parents who are not pleased with their students’ current setting might be attracted to charters because of a customized curriculum that emphasizes what they value in education.

They have absolutely NOTHING to back up this claim.  There are very few charters that will make a claim of "customized" anything.

The experience of other states is that some charter schools shine, while others flunk. We think broadening the choices for parents fosters trust.

Is this really a selling point?  "Some flunk?"

So a coalition of respected educational interests, including the League of Education Voters, has filed this initiative.  

DFER Washington, one of the members of the coalition, just got started in this state so how can the S-R claim they are "respected?"

Everett-Herald:

If the WEA and its legislative supporters think they can win increased funding for education without significant reform, they're dreaming. If voters are to go along with a new, stable funding source to meet the McCleary mandate, they're going to have to be convinced the money will be spent effectively. 

Is that a the threat?  No additional funding for education without charters?  Because of that's true, then that's a sad state of affairs.  We will spend more money on schools for a small number of students in the name of innovation that has a low rate of success?  How does that make sense?

Lastly, over at Crosscut, they had this about new polling for the race for governor:

Voters support charter schools, 51 to 25. McKenna has come out strong for charters. Inslee has come out against.

Now initially, there was no info about where this polling came from.   It came from Strategies 360 and they don't say who they did the polling for.  Not exactly an unbiased source.

So here was the question asked on page 22: Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose public charter schools?

What is interesting (and to the credit of Strategies 360) is that the title of the slide is:  
"Uninformed Charter Opinion is 2:1 supportive but with a great deal of soft support."

Here are the numbers:
Strongly support -    16%
Somewhat support - 34%
Somewhat oppose -  16%
Strongly oppose    -    9%
Need more info     -   24%

Very telling.  First of all, nearly one-quarter of the 500 people queried would not give an answer based on lack of information about charters.  That is a big number of uncertain people who didn't even want to venture a guess.   

So Crosscut saying voters support charter schools 51%-25% is misleading given the huge number of uncertain voters AND the high number of squishy voters (either for or against). 



2 comments:

Seateach said...

Oh my God. I'm all for the ads, and kudos to you for raising money for driving all over town, but you've got an ad up now that's for "gunsmithing" and that isn't even edited well. "Gunsmith's are in demand." And the other ads are for criminal arrest records, with really excellent mugshots.

It's kind of funny.

Melissa Westbrook said...

That is funny. I'm still new to figuring out how to block certain topics so bear with me.