YES Vote on Charter Schools Measure a Worthy Choice for Better Education in Washington

Jul 25, 2012 | Featured, News, Opinion

Initiative 1240, which would legalize charters in Washington for the first time, has just officially qualified for the ballot. The usual suspects are lining up against it, notably the Washington Education Association – which tore into the measure like a pit bull the moment it got traction.

The WEA’s mother organization, the National Education Association, takes a more nuanced position on charter schools. Here’s a line from its position paper:
“NEA believes that charter schools and other nontraditional public school options have the potential to facilitate education reforms and develop new and creative teaching methods that can be replicated in traditional public schools for the benefit of all children.”
The NEA does qualify this endorsement. It’s a labor organization, and its job is not to shrink its local affiliates. It more or less insists that charter school faculty be unionized – “subject to the same public sector labor relations statues as traditional public schools.” …
As for the bad ones, charters can be revoked. The public can easily pull the plug on a failing charter school. It’s hard to even find the plug on a failing conventional school.
The most disturbing argument against charter schools in Washington is the claim that this state’s public schools are doing fine without them. Hello? In many districts – emphatically including Tacoma Public Schools – our students are not doing just fine.
In Tacoma, the dropout race is catastrophic among blacks, Latinos and children of low income. If you factor in the academic deficiencies of those who do graduate and the sheer loss of life potential, it amounts to a massive social tragedy. …