This article in Education Week brings the charter school initiative, I-1240 once again to the front page of my thinking. I know that, like football, this has been a recurring theme in previous posts, but it is an education issue of significance and may be as some are beginning to suggest the first step in a broader plan to change education in this state. Much in the article is a rehash of other articles, but there are for me some new and interesting twists. First for me was this information from a recent statewide poll asking if education issues favored one governor candidate over another.
When Elway Research, a Seattle-based polling firm, asked state residents whether education issues in the state gave Mr. Inslee or Mr. McKenna a bigger advantage, 31 percent gave the edge to Mr. Inslee, while 30 percent gave it to Mr. McKenna. The rest gave neither an advantage on the issue.
It appears that education issues may not be playing a significant role in this critical election. The charter initiative is certainly one of the main education issues where the candidates hold different positions with McKenna firmly in the “Yes” camp and Inslee in the “NO” camp. The poll would suggest that the candidate's position on this issue is not resulting in a significant benefit for either of them.
A second new twist for me is the reference to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker that is beginning to emerge in the “No” campaign. As can be seen in the excerpt below, McKenna is being likened to Walker and some see charters as the first step in a plan to take on other education issues as Walker did once he was elected. Mr. Holmquist, quoted in the article, has been a public school teacher for 25 years.
As for Mr. McKenna, who supports performance pay and abolishing last-hired-first-fired labor rules, Mr. Holmquist saw parallels to another Republican governor elected in 2010, and fears Mr. McKenna would move against collective bargaining itself. "He's going to talk one way and behave another way if he becomes governor, just like Scott Walker did in Wisconsin."
The last piece of interesting information is the comparison between how much money was raised in the “Yes” and “No” campaigns today and in 2004 when we last voted on it. There is far more money today for the “Yes” group and far less money today for the “No” group. Will this be the deciding factor or are there other variables that will ultimately decide this issue? Are you ready to share your "guess" on the outcome?
Total contributions to the "Yes on 1240" campaign add up to $8.3 million, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics, a non-profit based in Helena, Mont. In fall 2004, pro-charter donations totaled $3.8 million, the Seattle Times reported that year.
The two anti-charter campaigns, meanwhile, have raised $275,000 between them, including donations from the state teachers' union, an affiliate of the National Education Association. That pales, however, in comparison with 2004, when $1.3 million had been raised by early October to fight charters.