Because every student deserves an excellent education.
More options for families who need them
Traditional public schools are working for many, but not all, Washington students. Charter public schools give parents more free options, because every student deserves a high-quality education that meets their needs.
One more tool in the toolbox
Charter schools simply—and critically—give us more tools in our toolbox to help our system work for ALL kids – including those who need something different than their assigned district school.
One size does not fit all
Voters in 2012 and the Legislature again in 2016 recognized that one size does not fit all, when they established a limited number of charter public schools – to serve as alternative options for families.
Washington gets charter public schools right
Washington’s charter school law has been ranked among the top three strongest in the nation for three years running, for its high level of accountability in exchange for flexibility, and its high standards for authorizing. Our state’s law is also unique for its focus on serving systemically underserved students. This translates to positive results for students who have historically been left behind.
Parents of color and low-income families are demanding more options
A majority of the students who enroll at and attend charter public schools are students of color, and a majority are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Sadly, race and family income continue to be predictors of students’ academic success. Every parent and family, regardless of their background or circumstances, deserves to access high-quality options that they want and need.
Who are Washington’s charter public schools attracting and serving?
Per OSPI, Charter public schools do not have special eligibility or entrance requirements. They are built on the belief that every student should have the chance to go to a great school that puts their needs first, regardless of zip code, income, or ability level. If more students want to attend a specific charter school than there are spaces available, enrollment is determined by a random lottery.
Washington’s charters attract and serve higher percentages of systemically underserved students. They employ 3 times the percentage of teachers of color, as compared to the statewide average.
- Students Eligible for Free or Reduced-Price Lunch
- Students of Color
- Students Receiving Special Education Services
- English Language Learners
- Teachers of Color
A January 2019 study by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Educational Outcomes (CREDO) summarized the performance of Washington’s charter public schools as “promising but not yet definitive…given the limited years of data available.”
A follow-up Stanford study in 2020 showed significantly higher learning gains for English Language Learners attending Washington’s charter public schools, especially Hispanic English Language Learners, as compared to peers in traditional public schools statewide.
The 2019 Washington State Report Card also showed gains for charter public school students.
Students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch outperformed their state and/or district peers in at least one subject area at seven of the eight charter public schools that administered statewide tests.
Every single charter school that has been operating for two or more years has shown typical to high growth for its students as compared to the state average for growth.
A study conducted by the Washington State Charter School Commission showed that on average, median rates of growth were higher at Commission-authorized charter public schools, as compared to the schools that students would have been assigned, based on their home address.
Yadira (front right) and fellow Impact parents on a recent visit to Olympia, where they shared with legislators what it means to them to have high-quality public school options.
Before Impact, I didn’t have a choice of where my daughter would go to school and that terrified me because our assigned school was not what I wanted. Impact has gone beyond the call of duty. Not only are they teaching my daughter how to read, spell, and learn science and math, they are focused on her emotional well-being too. She loves her school! Every time she is picked up she always asks for five more minutes!
By Yadira Diaz Lemus, Impact | Puget Sound Elementary