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The Washington State PTA Convention: Be There

The WSPTA Convention will be held on May 4-6 and everyone who can needs to attend. There will be several issues on the table that will be voted on including the charter school resolution that has drawn fire from all quarters. This resolution, if passed at the convention, would become a cornerstone of the WSPTA platform for the next 2 years.

You might not even be aware of it reading the announcements that Ramona Hattendorf has sent out but buried in the user’s guide beginning on page 12 is the charter school resolution under “Equitable Educational Opportunities”.

What I find interesting about this resolution are the “untruths”, as I will call them, that are stated in this resolution.

Let’s start with this doozy:

certain schools, including high-performing charter schools, have produced positive effects in elementary and middle schools that outpace other interventions such as class-size reduction, and can provide the equivalent of three years of schooling for students every two years

As I had stated previously, the authors of the original WSPTA platform proposal provided as their “resources” Wikipedia as well as the KIPP and Greendot websites. That’s it. No reports, no studies, nothing regarding the true performance of these schools or the fact that both of these schools have track records of cherry picking their students. See Access Denied by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

That these charter schools “outpace other interventions such as class-size reduction” is not a comparison that I have come across in any of my readings on charter schools. That these schools “provide the equivalent of three years of schooling for students every two years” is a fairy tale. Again, there is no evidence to support this that I have seen.

The authors of the original proposal  just picked words out of the air, no rather, off of the KIPP and Greendot websites, that sounded convincing.  Unfortunately it convinced enough PTA members who didn’t know any better to vote for something that they thought would help other people’s students.

Next phrase,

Washington State has accommodated innovative schools for more than 20 years yet has failed to close the achievement gaps, or successfully turned around the persistently lowest achieving schools

Actually, progressive alternative schools such as Nova have actually provided a safe and supportive place for all students to succeed. They have also scored the highest in Language Arts for the last three years.

Washington State PTA believes great educational outcomes are possible for all students, including
students of color, students of diverse cultural or linguistic backgrounds, lower income status and students with special needs

Yes, great educational outcomes are available for all students if we focus on equitable  funding of education for all students. Charter schools are not the answer particularly for children with special needs. There have been volumes written about the fact that KIPP and Greendot and other charter franchises are highly selective about the students who they take on and the students who get “counseled out” of these schools.

Needless to say, this resolution does not pass muster. Let’s not allow the few to once again manipulate the system to their own ends.

All PTA members who can must attend this critical convention. I know that attending the convention can be cost prohibitive for many so several parents and teachers are offering assistance in terms of a place to stay and even cash so that all who want to, can attend.

If you are in need of a place to stay or other assistance or can offer a place to stay, please contact me at dora.taylor@gmail.com

I wrote Ramona Hattendorf and Bill Williams to ask them if scholarships were available so that all members who wanted to can attend. Ramona replied:

That depends on the council.

Seattle Council PTSA has in the past provided grants for training or leadership development purposes – awarded to the local unit, not a member — which could be used for convention, legislative assembly or regional leadership training. http://www.seattlecouncilptsa.org/grants.shtml

You would need to contact the council in question to see if grants are available. Each council determines its fees and what they will be used for; this is decided in the budgeting process and subject to approval of members. (In a council’s situation, “members” are local units and are represented by the voting delegates selected units to represent them.)

Another option is to volunteer to work at the convention. For members who put in a certain amount of hours, the fee is waived.

The deadline for pre-registration is April 1st. The member needs to be associated with a school and their dues paid. After April 1st, the cost to register increases. For complete information on the convention, check out the WSPTA website.

If you would like to connect with others who are attending the convention who also will be voting against the charter resolution, please contact me at dora.taylor@gmail.com, and I will get you in touch with those parents and teachers to coordinate efforts.

We should not allow a few with different agendas to go to Olympia saying that they represent the rest of us.

Dora

Post Script:

While looking up articles for this post, I came across this interview that is heartbreaking and I wanted to bring it to your attention.

 

3 comments on “The Washington State PTA Convention: Be There

  1. nb
    April 7, 2012

    Yes, permanent, although they can be changed, amended or retired.
    http://www.wastatepta.org/advocacy/association_position/resolutions12.pdf
    (there’s the entire list here updated 2/12)
    “They are temporary unless submitted as a resolution and approved at the next WSPTA convention.”
    The convention is in May, so if you want the WSPTA to take your PTA’s opinion into account – your PTA must send your delegates because there is no other way to vote.

    It says:
    “Washington State PTA Board Positions are initiated and approved by the board of directors. They are temporary unless submitted as a resolution and approved at the next WSPTA convention. Any board position not ratified by membership within a year will be removed from this document.

    Washington State PTA Resolutions are issue positions adopted by membership. They are vetted by the Resolutions Committee and the Washington State PTA Board of Directors, and then voted on by delegates at either the WSPTA Legislative Assembly or the WSPTA convention. Resolutions are reviewed annually; they may be combined, amended or recommended for retirement.

    Resolutions are a resource that can be cited by members, the board, committees and staff to represent WSPTA positions.
    WSPTA’s body of positions is comprised of its board positions, resolutions, short term legislative platform and long-term legislative principles, as well as National PTA’s positions, resolutions and federal public policy agenda.”

  2. nb
    April 7, 2012

    Aren’t these resolutions permanent that will be passed at the convention – not as you say “WSPTA platform for the next 2 years” which are voted on at the legislative assembly in October?

  3. carolinesf
    March 27, 2012

    Parents and teachers of Washington state, PLEASE take back your PTA from the rogue “leadership” that is violating PTA’s principles and standards by supporting the opponents of public education. If you can POSSIBLY spare the time and costs of attending Convention, please do it!

    I was interested to read about the “supporting materials” for the rogue PTA’s pro-charter resolution. I was the “maker” (author) of a 2004 California state PTA resolution calling for healthy food in schools. Each “whereas” had to be supported by three primary sources, all vetted quite strictly by the state PTA’s Resolutions Committee. I used medical research reports and articles — in some cases contacting the lead researchers directly for a copy when the report was behind a paywall. It was a full-time job for several weeks.

    The corruption of using the KIPP and Green Dot websites as “sources” absolutely boggles the mind (along with the cluelessness of using Wikipedia).

    Please — the PTA is an essential resource in advocating for schools, families and children. Throw these corrupt sellouts out and take it back!

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