State Rep. Pettigrew: Charter Schools Will Help Children Now Falling Through the Cracks

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SEATTLE—

State Rep. Eric Pettigrew represents a southeast Seattle legislative district with five of the lowest-performing schools in the state. He’s unsuccessfully tried to get charter schools passed in Olympia and he’s pushed for stronger teacher evaluations. …

Pettigrew represents a small but growing number of legislators who are part of a group called Democrats for Education Reform.

“Education reform is really just forcing the status quo to look at itself,” he said. …

“You can go to different parts of the country, different parts of the world, where they don’t have much in resources as we do,” he said, and schools are “as successful if not more successful in some of those places.”

Pettigrew said charters schools, which are publicly funded but privately run, will help students who are now falling through the cracks.

“There is a group of kids where they are round pegs and people are trying to force them into a square hole,” he said. “That doesn’t work.”

Pettigrew has had a lot of contact with kids in his south Seattle district from his years as a coach of Little League baseball and basketball.

“The other day somebody asked me to take a tour of the King County Jail,” he said. “I don’t want to go in there and see those third-graders that I saw a few years ago. If I’m not doing everything I possibly can do right now to help those students in school today, then I’m not doing everything I need to do, and I should not be a representative.” …

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