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Monday, August 13, 2012

Updates on WA State PTSA Opposition to I-1240

The Seattle Times had an update to its news that the Washington State PTSA reviewed I-1240 and, despite their past support for charters, stated it was opposed to I-1240.  (Note: Ramona Hattendorf, WA State PTSA, let me know that they are not going to actively campaign against the measure but do not support it.)

Apparently Stand for Children thinks that the folks at the WSPTSA can't read.

Shannon Campion, a spokesman for the initiative, said she was surprised by the PTA’s decision.
“We respectfully disagree with the PTA board’s position and view it as essentially a misreading because of the strong parent involvement in this initiative,” Campion said.

Really?  Because:

- the word parent is in there 16 times and only once used as a suggestion for charters to include parent engagement in their proposals (not that they have to nor that it will be enforced)

- parents get two things in this charter initiative.  One, the ability to flip ANY existing school, failing or not, by signing a petition from an approved charter group.  Two, the ability to choose to apply to a charter.

As for the first one, after you sign that petition, that ends your ability as a parent to influence anything at that school.  There is nothing in the initiative that would allow parents to be part of what happens or is presented at a charter.  There would be one single public meeting for input.

As to the second one, the ability to apply is somewhat negated by the fact that you may have to fill out a long application that may include essays and recommendations, you may end up in a lottery and not get in at all, and lastly, even if you do get in, you may not be able to access the school as no charter has to provide transportation which is likely to be a barrier to many parents who may be seeking change.

- parents won't be asked for any input on a renewal or non-renewal of a charter

So Ms. Campion (or anyone else), tell me where in the initiative all this "strong parent involvement" is.  Saying it does not make it so.  (And I will be happy to provide citations from the initiative for all I have pointed out.)

Again, kudos to the WA State PTSA for doing the right thing and saying no to I-1240.

1 comment:

Jan said...

Exactly right, Melissa. In this legislation, parents are no more than "simple tools" in the hands of corporate ed reform. They come in -- pitch to a group of disgruntled or disheartened parents the benefits of "choice" and independence -- and then, once the parents have carried the water of "flipping the charter switch," they are gone -- dismissed from the equation. Unnecessary -- and unwelcome (at least in terms of governance, stuff like deciding what kind of education they want for their kids, or how to accomplish it -- they still have a role to play helping the charter "enforce" its rules by buying the uniforms, enforcing the homework policies, filling out the apps, providing the mandatory volunteer hours, etc.)