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Saturday, February 11, 2012

No to Charters

Marcie Maxwell is a legislator -- a member of the House of Representatives in Washington State where once again the question of authorizing Charter schools is being debated.  Marcie is a former school board member who continues to be deeply interested in the education of the young in this state.  She has given me permission to share her list of 21 reasons why Charters should not be supported.

What are your reactions to her objections?  Take a look at her list and share your thoughts by clicking on comments below. 



1.  Charters have NOT outperformed public schools - the majority of charter schools have performed equal to or poorer than public schools.


2.  Charter schools too often increase segregation of minority students and students of poverty.


3.  Charter school legislation has led on to voucher systems which are funding religious schools or anything that looks like a school - see Florida and Indiana.


4.  Many charter schools in New York are run by unelected boards full of "hedge fund managers".



5.  Our neighborhood schools build strong communities that support the greater needs of families, schools, and businesses.



6.  Washington State's K-12 schools mobility factor is near 40%.  In high poverty schools that mobility factor is too often 70-80% which means students and families at risk are moving their households frequently.  Charters do not help students who are on the move - improving all public schools in our state that student may attend will help these students.



7.  Academic improvement is happening in many schools and districts.  Adults throughout the system are being held accountable and this is good for students.  Renton is an excellent example, diverse ethnic and economic populations, achieving 93% extended graduation rates - and there are many others, Toppenish, etc.


8.  Local governance should be by locally elected school boards responsible for vision, accountability, and governance for public education in their school districts.  Charters are often governed by a group of unelected parents - yet all voters, parents or not, should have the right to elect school board directors who govern all public schools and public school dollars.



9.  Education professionals know what works - and when the state lives up to its responsibility to fund basic education those education administrators and classroom professionals in collabortion with elected schools boards and communities are able to help all students succeed.



10.  Public schools are not in the business of non-profit or for profit business ventures. 



11.  Public schools educate all children - special ed, gifted, poverty, typical, etc.  Too many charters are not inclusive of real student populations.



12.  Washington K-12 public schools must work for one million kids - not 10,000 kids.



13.  Charter management companies don't even agree on what works.  Rocketship's founder will tell you that KIPP doesn't work, isn't sustainable, and he wouldn’t send his kids there.



14.  Public schools are what America is built upon - access and opportunity for all.



15.  Washington state school districts and schools already have and are using many available opportunities for flexibility and waivers that allow and encourage innovations and choices that work for students and families.



16.  Washington is one of fewer states that offers Running Start college opportunities to high school students.


17.  As stated by charter operators, their charter framework does not often work well in rural areas and is “targeted” to urban areas.


18.  This is not an issue about teachers unions and WEA……  Innovation schools and successful school programs are working right now in collaboration with local education associations – and for the right reasons, student achievement.


19.  Charters draw funds away from public schools, from public schools levies and bonds, and from vital shared school district resources.


20.  Unclear liability issues may arise in charter schools and transformational zones, and since school districts are likely seen as deeper pockets in potential lawsuits, districts would likely be targeted as part of those lawsuits.


21.  The most at-risk students whose parents can't or won't step up to greater advocacy or involvement that some charters demand are left out or pushed out.  Our public schools enroll and teach all students.




2 comments:

  1. It seems to me that it is time to have a candid discussion about how public schools can better serve the whole child and reduce the opportunity gap -- and how the legislature can support that work -- instead of constantly trying to defend the work the public schools are doing. Yes, there could be improvements in student performance, yes, there is always a problem with funding sources, but does the legislature always need to turn the discussion to charter schools? Couldn't they focus on supporting and ways to improve the education sytem they have created over the years?

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