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…based on our state constitution.
Here is the decision written by the Washington State Supreme Court, http://www.courts.wa.gov/opinions/pdf/897140.pdf.
To follow is the first post I wrote as our first article on the original Seattle Education blog in 2009. It was about charter schools when we discovered that our Broad superintendent, Marie Goodloe-Johnson, was part of a strategy to bring charter schools to Seattle by first closing successful schools in our communities, grading schools as failing and bringing in charter schools. Because of what we discovered had occurred in Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia and New York, we knew it was coming our way.
The basic difference between a traditional public school and a privately run charter school is that with a charter school there is complete control of the school by a private enterprise within a public school district. Although taxpayer-funded, charters operate without the same degree of public and district oversight of a standard public school. Most charter schools do not hire union teachers which means that they can demand the teacher work longer hours including weekends at the school site and pay less than union wages. Charter schools take the school district’s allotment of money provided for each student within the public schools system and use it to develop their programs. In many systems, they receive that allotment without having to pay for other costs such as transportation for students to and from the school. Some states, such as Minnesota, actually allocate more than what is granted to public school students.
The money that is allocated for each student by the school district, stays with the charter school whether the student remains in that school for the entire school year or returns to a public school.
A charter school can expel any student that it doesn’t believe fits within its standards or meets its level of expectation in terms of test scores. Because it is a charter school, parents and students do not benefit from the regulations and oversight that would protect them in a public school.
The reason for the emphasis on test scores is because when a state agrees to provide a charter, there are requirements for that charter school to meet or exceed a certain level of performance in terms of test scores. Therefore, charter schools establish unspoken policies in terms of the admission of ELL or IEP students as well as students who the charter school doesn’t believe will meet the state standard.
Also, according to a recent study by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), charter schools do not necessarily perform any better than public schools. In fact, 37 percent performed worse. Forty-six percent demonstrated “no significant difference” from public schools. Only 17 percent of charter schools performed better than public schools.
The post eventually resonated with many in our community and the rest is history ;-)
And remember this?
Dec. 5, 2012
To Superintendent Dorn:
Parents Across America of Washington State, the local chapters of the national organization dedicated to the preservation of public education, has concluded that Initiative 1240 is in violation of the Washington State Constitution on multiple counts.
We therefore urge the Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to pursue a legal challenge to I-1240, based on the following grounds:
As the extremely close election demonstrated (50.7 – 49.3%, despite the enormous financial advantage of the “Yes” campaign, which outspent both “No” campaigns by a margin of 17-1), clearly charter schools remain a divisive, controversial and unpopular concept in Washington State. (See:http://vote.wa.gov/results/current/Initiative-Measure-No-1240-Concerns-creation-of-a-public-charter-school-system.html Also: Map of votes for/against I-1240
Parents Across America of Washington finds I-1240 to be an extremely flawed, unconstitutional and undemocratic proposal which circumvents genuine public oversight, and is full of troubling loopholes and opportunities to divert public funding away from our existing schools to private enterprises for proposed outcomes that statistically are no better than existing public schools 83 percent of the time (See: CREDO Report by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes:http://credo.stanford.edu/reports/National_Release.pdf).
Therefore, as parents with children in Washington State public schools who will be affected by this initiative, and as supporters of public education, we urge OSPI to legally challenge 1240.
Susan Peters, Dora Taylor, Joanna Cullen, David Spring, Steve Nesich, Linda Gower, Anastasia Samuelsen, Susan Ryan, Pat Griffith, Chris Van Vechten, Demian Godon, Parents across America, Washington State (Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane, and Tri-City chapters)