Community Post

Charter School Initiative 1240

Initiative 1240, which is a resolution to set up charter schools in the state of Washington,

circumvents our State Constitution because it would set up an alternative state school system not under the supervision of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Randy Dorn, Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction, July 2012

Bill Gates and the Walton’s are waging a campaign against democracy and public education and for the privatization of our schools through the tool of Initiative 1240. Bill Gates, the Walton’s and others from the “business community” in our state, have financially backed a campaign to get enough signatures for Initiative 1240 to be on the ballot in November and now are financing the push for the votes through faux roots organizations such as Stand for Children and the League of Education Voters.

For a description of what charter schools are and what they aren’t, see What is a charter school? which is posted on this blog.

To read this article in full, go to Seattle Education: News and Commentary.

13 thoughts on “Charter School Initiative 1240

  1. The anti-charter crusaders and home bloggers are waging a campaign of fear and misinformation. Charter schools are public schools, funded just like traditional public schools, and free and open to all students just like traditional public schools. The truth is that 41 other states have the option of public charter schools, and many public charter schools are performing very well and are helping to close the achievement gap for low-income students and students of color. There’s is nothing more democratic than having more choices. It’s time for parents and students in Washington to have a choice and have the option of going to a better school. Vote yes on I-1240!!

  2. “The truth is that 41 other states have the option of public charter schools, and many public charter schools are performing very well and are helping to close the achievement gap for low-income students and students of color. There’s is nothing more democratic than having more choices.”

    The TRUTH is over 20 years and 41 states, charter schools have NOT fulfilled their promise of better outcomes and accountability. The best study showed only 17% of them do better than traditionals, 46 do the same and 37% do WORSE. With scarce education dollars, we need to invest in what works.

    Stories of success are NOT data. There is no real data that charter succeed better.

    But to the initiative, there is NO mandate to serve st-risk students. In fact, if there are more proposals than the 8 per year authorized, they ALL go into a lottery. There is nothing to make sure that ANY charter will serve at-risk students. And that “choice”?

    There is NO mandate for transportation in this initiative – if you are a poor or busy parent, your “choice” is ended if you don’t have any way to get your child to school.

    Don’t be fooled – charters do NOT perform better, this initiative does NOT have mandates for at-risk students and we already underfund the schools we DO have.

    Say no (again) to charters in Washington State – No On 1240.

  3. In Seattle we have the mechanisms to create schools that provide alternatives – democractically and with accountability. Problem is, this ‘community’ does not always stay involved to the level required.

    If this initiative passes, when them with some $$ and spare time take over your neighborhood school, I submit that the education of the children will be in the hands of a non accoutable few, along with resources that I fund through my tax dollars.

    I have one question and one comment. The question is: Where were you when the African American Academy had problems? The comment is: If you choose to not engage for the good of ALL the students and youth in our city, choose not to engage with the those elected, with the teachers and with the administration and want to go your own way and steal the resources that I contribute to with MY taxes, I have two ‘choices’ for you – “Home School” or “Private School”. I say this with kindness. I attended Catholic Schools and my parents supported every school levy because they knew that an educated citizenry is the best protection we have for our democracy. I also have many family and friends who have created networks of home schoolers to focus their children on the learning environoment they preferred for thier child at a given age, but who gladly support public education and make use of the after school, athletic, and other programs.

  4. ktkeller, I think we agree on Charter Schools. I am not sure where your comments are directed. There are many people in this community who have volunteered and still volunteer much of their time trying to ensure good schools for all and have been involved around the issues at African American Academy, MLk, TT Minor and Madrona and making good neighborhood schools. I have no reason to believe that anyone of the people who commented here have not been engaged. Engaging with the schools can be very time consuming and most have to prioritize where to put energy.

  5. joanna, I am speaking to the notion that some are clinging to that somehow there will be choice with Charter Schools. I think it will end up being schools run with less involvement and oversight and with no place for parents to take any issues.

    We all know that there are some who put in blood, sweat and tears to make the schools better and have seen that only the community coming together over time can make sure that schools operate as desired. There are enough hard lessons learned about how to preserve and improve the systems we already have and avenues that can be persued.

    My perception was that we did not do enough to keep the African American Academy, and it goes all the way back to who we elect to the School Board. But, I shudder to think of a world where people get a chater school, the school has problems, the children’s education is affected, and there is no recourse or way to help at all.

  6. that is, about what will constitute strong robust neighborhood programs. Think BEX IV, which will be a vote in February. Think about the fact that both robust neighborhood programs and option programs need a good number of students, along with family and community support. Building too much capacity is as destructive as crowding. Yes, the African American Academy lost more due to politics than due to performance or need. Certainly the same can be said for MLK and TT Minor. I don’t think it is due to a lack of caring by most, but a lack of being organized and the fact that many of our communities have been seriously fractured by the continuing destabilization of programs, sometimes by outside forces and sometimes internal. All neighborhoods deserve good programs and good services.

    Yes, charter schools will further destabilize the communities. Outside forces could plop a school anywhere determined ok by a Charter friendly Washington State commission and then receive Seattle Public School Capital and Operational Levy funds for the program. Even our elected officials would not have to ok these. Schools and other such services are not suppose to operate for the profit, but in the public interest. The Charter legislation implies non-profits with private boards will run them. Remember that often the non profit then contracts with a for profit company to run the institutions. Sometimes this is a close call even in publicly controlled schools. At least the public can see where all the $$$s go in detail. Remember the example of Edison Schools in Philadelphia , along with…
    read more
    long dirty laundry list of Charters that perform worse than public schools, while experimenting with the most vulnerable populations. Google “Edison Schools” if you are not familiar. And, then serve them even less well. Our most vulnerable populations should not be the subject of experiment after experiment. They deserve to be a part of stable sustainable neighborhood and option schools,as do all students.

  7. I guess I am not sure if you are aiming your comments at the group here or somewhere else. There is a lot to be done. Did we fight hard enough or smart enough for any of our schools? I don’t know. However, I do want everyone to vote on this issue. Of course, I hope “NO.” VOTE.

  8. Options are a good thing. Yes, some of those options will be bad options. It is up to the parents to choose a school that provides the right educational opportunity for their kids.

    Seattle Public Schools are a bad choice, yet, not really a choice for most. Let’s say we get on charter school that is even worse than SPS. And let’s say we get one charter school that is good.

    You see – then we have choice. Some students will be well educated. SPS will learn a lesson – get better or shrink. Parents that sent their kids to the even worse school are bad people. They should have paid better attention and moved their kids back to the horror that is SPS.

    See – choices. Thing about it is you have to be engaged with your children to make the right choices. Otherwise you get a shoot em up hood like Seattle South of 520. A war zone. The choices today are not good enough. Any new options welcome. People are dieing here.

  9. There are great progressive alternative schools in Seattle that are innovate and the best part is that they have a proven track record. Also, anyone in the city can attend these schools.

    Charter schools so far have a faulty track record and are not worth losing public funds for.

    See, What is a charter school?, and then watch The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman,