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I-1240: Charter schools would drain resources

Letter by Marie-Anne C. Harkness, Auburn on Sep. 4, 2012 at 1:53 pm with 23 Comments »
September 4, 2012 1:58 pm

This charter school Initiative 1240 appears to be written by liberal politicians with wealthy supporters who wish to take my hard-earned tax money earmarked for public education and use it any which way they please with no control by local voters.

Do not buy the claim that “the state money will follow the students at no consequence to the local schools.” When students leave one school, that fixed-cost school facility (maintenance, heating, playgrounds, janitorial services, etc.) will lose students, creating empty classrooms and cost more per student to operate if it is not shut down.

A Charter School Commission by law would be appointed by the governor and loaded with those who supported I-1240. Even the Washington State PTA does not support I-1240 as written because it takes money away from public school students and places a hardship on local school districts.

Don’t be fooled by the slick supporters with the fantasy that no public schools would be affected. I am for publicly controlled alternative schools like Federal Way Public Academy, where curriculum and teachers are regulated by my elected school board members. That is the kind of innovation we need in Washington schools.

Leave a comment Comments → 23
  1. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    Lets see, take money away from failing union run government schools and give it to non-union charter school??

    And you see a downside in that plan.

    I want choice on where I send my kids and I want to send them and my tax dollars to non-union schools where they will learn something.

    If union run government schools were soooo good there would not be a need for I-1240.

    Washington States public education has had sufficient time to improve their efforts to give our children a good education. For the most part they have failed, and thus Charter Schools should be allowed and evaluated to see if they can produce the results public schools have failed to do.

    Just look at who is against I-1240. It’s a long list of supporters of the status quo. Teachers unions, all other unions, the progressives in the PTA, etc. If they are against it, I am for it. I want some choice in my schools and my kids and I want freedom.

  2. Despite their diversity brag, there were few black delegates at the Convention.

    Peanuts anyone?

  3. GHTaxPayer says:

    Dems vote to stop the people from sending their children to the best schools, yet these same Dems send their children to Private Schools.

    When Obama took office he banned a successful charter school program in Washington DC to appease the rich teachers union bosses, forcing many minority children to have to go to some of the worst schools in the nation.

    Allowing parents the freedom of choice should be a no-brainer, but the Dems seem to have no brains, and refuse to allow us the freedom of choice that are protected under our Constitution.

    Hay, anyone?

  4. GHTaxPayer says:

    And who wouldn’t want their kids to go to public schools where they will be abused, molested, bullied and given a sub-standard education?

    While the teachers union laughs all the way to the bank with their cadillac healthcare and caviar retirement funds!

  5. thisyoungvet says:

    That is funny you would say that the liberal politicians, because although I do not call myself a liberal because I am very moderate, I have been leaning more to the left recently and I do not support charter schools. I have many good friends who you would call liberal and they don’t support them. The only people I know who support charter schools are the friends of mine who are conservatives. Now that is not to say that there are not liberals behind this piece but I would be cautious in saying all are supporting this.

  6. MyBandito says:

    This isn’t about education. It’s about union busting. Go back and read the first comment, then the third comment and the forth comment. The common denominator is union busting, not education. They want to suck the life out of public education for their own personal profit.

  7. BigSwingingRichard says:

    The primary resources being drained are the union bank accounts which are funded by teacher salaries which are funded by taxpayers.

    The way I see it, I-1240 is a benefit whether it passes or not. If it passes, another alternative for parents exists to improve public education.

    If the initiative fails, at least it burns up WEA and NEA cash which would have been used to continue to diminish public education.

  8. BeamMeupKirk says:

    Ms. Harkness, It’s important to get some facts straight on a gross distortion in your letter. I-1240 does not take any money away from public school students. Funding for public schools in Washington follows students and would continue to under this initiative, just as it should. The effect of kids enrolling in public charter schools on a given public school’s funding is no different than if a child moves to a school in a different district or even a school within the same district, or even the “alternative” schools you cite in your letter.

    Are you also advocating by implication that we should revoke the right of parents to relocate to new neighborhoods? If your core fear is that changing enrollment puts schools in jeopardy, I think you should consider that exposes a major flaw in the current education model in that it is inflexible to the day to day realities in society.

  9. MyBandito says:

    If 1240 passes, all of those who now pay tuition to private schools will want to enroll their kids into the Charter Schools to avoid the tuition.

    Cool, Huh?

  10. BeamMeupKirk says:

    MyBandito — The reasons that parents enroll their kids in private schools do not only include a chance at a higher-quality education than what’s available in the traditional public school their child would be assigned to. Private schools will always be able to provide religious education where public charters are specifically required in I-1240 to be nonreligious and nonsectarian.

    This is really a side show issue. Parents in Washington should be allowed to have the option that parents and students in 41 other states already have to attend public charter schools.

    Yes on 1240 is my vote and I think when people get more of the facts about how public charters really work–as opposed to the distortions and lies being spread by the opponents–a majority of voters will agree.

  11. itwasntmethistime says:

    Bandit — The majority of the children I know who attend pivate schools do so because of the religious immersion. The small class sizes are just an added bonus.

  12. MyBandito says:

    Small class sizes. What a bonus that would be to our public schools. Much better than Charter Schools.

  13. MyBandito says:

    You want to fix public education don’t destroy it by your lame attempt to break the union.

  14. itwasntmethistime says:

    Hey Bandito, you know what would free up enough money to shrink class sizes in public schools? If parents would take care of the children they produced and not expect the schools to pay for babysitting, counseling, and a host of other expensive endeavors such as driving foster kids from Gig Harbor to Graham every day. And if the teachers didn’t have to attend countless workshops to deal with kids with crappy parents they’d have more time to teach.

    But seriously, there won’t be empty classrooms. People who are happy with their local school won’t move to a charter school. Schools will only lose kids who aren’t doing well there, which isn’t a bad thing for that school. If there is a mass exodus from a school it would be because that school is a complete disaster so how could you argue with the need for a major change there anyway?

  15. MyBandito says:

    itwasntmethistime- So, how do you perceive that Charter Schools are going to be the answer to those who aren’t doing well in their present school? What does the Charter School have to offer these students that’s any different than their public school besides non-union teachers?

    Read the first comment in this thread. That should answer all of your questions.

  16. itwasntmethistime says:

    Bandito — Clearly taxed hates unions, but he(?) doesn’t speak for me. This isn’t a union issue in my opinion, so my thoughts on unions are relevant.

    The picture in my head of how a charter school can educate students better than a traditional public school is based on accountability from the student, parent, and teacher. Right now, if a kid doesn’t do his homework and doesn’t know the material, he holds the entire class back and there isn’t a darn thing the teacher can do about it, except take the blame for the low test scores. With a charter school, if the parents and kids aren’t on board with keeping up with the rest of the class, they have to leave. Some kids need more help, and that can be accommodated, but a charter school won’t let a relative few students hold back an entire class.

  17. MyBandito says:

    Will they expel a student who holds the class back? Does that expelled student get to go back into public school?

    But those details aren’t known until it passes. Then they’ll tell us what we voted on.

  18. itwasntmethistime says:

    I don’t know. I would think that if a kid got way behind it would either be because he wasn’t ready for the material so he might be better off going back a grade, or because he wasn’t doing his homework so the charter school wouldn’t be a good fit anyway.

  19. Good letter. But for the record, liberals are strongly against I-1240, too. We need quality schools for all, not a privileged few.

  20. As for GHTaxPayer. . .

    Yes, charter schools offer a choice. A worse choice. For every one student who does better in a charter school, more than two do WORSE. This was the conclusion of the CREDO study, done by Stanford University. It’s the most extensive study of its kind on charter schools, reviewing test score from 40 states and Washington DC. The result? Charter schools are FAILING nationwide. Why? Because what started our as a parent-run idea has become a corporate-run idea. Do you really thinking corporations are pumping millions into I-1240 out of the kindness of their hearts? I-1240 has nothing to do with improving our children’s education and everything to do with improving corporate profits. Don’t be fooled by the hype. Supplementing our struggling, underfunded public education system with a poorly performing charter school system is not a solution.

  21. itwasntmethistime says:

    Inubav — I hear what you are saying, but it raises another question. Why would parents who made the choice to move their kids to a charter school keep them there if the school ends up being worse than the public school they came from? That doesn’t make sense to me. You’re at a charter school by choice. If it sucks, you can leave. There must be another draw besides raw test scores that attracts people to charter schools, then keeps them there.

  22. Your assumption is flawed. Not all parents make the choice to move their kids to a charter school. Many times, their local public school is taken over by a poorer performing charter school.

  23. itwasntmethistime says:

    But then the next closest school becomes their local public school so they still have to actively opt in to the charter school that took over their old school.

    I hear the argument that it is devastating for a child to have to change schools when their local public school closes down. They close schools when enrollment drops drastically so evidently all the people who left already don’t think it’s devastating to change schools.

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