Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Are Charters in the future . . .

I thought I would share this article from Education Week, partly because of the content and partly because I don’t recall seeing anything in the local media about. Based on the article and quotes from Senator Rodney Tom, a charter school bill will be introduced later this week in Olympia.

Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, said charter schools have proven to be effective in nearly every other state. In many cases, a stampede of parents have tried to get their kids into charter schools, he said.

"That should be the attitude we have at every school," Tom said. "Why would you want to prevent schools that people are clamoring in other states to get into."

The legislator’s passed a charter school bill in 2004 that was later rejected by voters that followed a voter rejection of a charter initiative in 1996. Though we have this history in our state of turning down charters, Toms believes that it is a safe topic of discussion.

Now that most other states are successfully using these alternative public schools to raise student achievement, Tom says it should be a safe topic for Washington again. He said he expected a bill to be introduced on Thursday.

Do you believe that this is an appropriate subject for conversation in this short legislative session?


Scott Mitchell said...

I have two thoughts on this topic.

First, I do not think we should in this short session because until we are funding basic education and allowing our schools to do the things that are required, how can we fairly think of spending money on new thoughts. WEA has been against charters for two reasons; charters take funds from the rest of the schools and then does not have to follow the same set of rules, and it eliminates unionized educators.

My second thoughts are not though in line with your typical WEA stance and therefore will be an internal WEA debate in the near future. These thoughts stem from recent discussions with colleagues.

1. If the charter schools are still public, and still have to have to answer to the locally elected school board, and are much like the current 500+ “innovative schools” then the argument becomes as follows: “Well, we are already doing things just like this in the current system so charters are unnecessary.” v. “We, we are already doing things just like this in the current system so why resist charters.”

2.     If charter schools maintain unionized staff with just a requirement to negotiate contract waivers similar to School Improvement Grant schools then we now have a history of doing that so why would we not support them.

I do not imagine that this will pass in this short session but the new debate I discuss above will need to be had.

Boy, I sure cannot believe that I actually spent a whole day door belling for Rodney Tom years ago with other TEA members, he will definitely not be receiving the friend of education award anytime soon.

Jonathan said...
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Jonathan said...

We know, as public schools have been underfunded for years and years, charter schools are exceptionally well funded.

Doesn't it make sense that they may be effective?

Jonathan said...

Here's an interesting article about the worth of teachers. It's discussing a research study by Harvard and Columbia university economists.

Maybe you could address this in a blog entry?