This November, we will be asked to vote on Initiative 1240 to create an expensive, new system of privately operated but publicly funded charter schools in Washington. I say no to I-1240 because it doesn’t address the primary problems faced by our public schools: overcrowded classrooms and underfunding.
Our schools have the fourth-largest class sizes in the nation. Teachers must spend more time on crowd control and less on teaching.
The state Supreme Court recently ruled that the Legislature is not meeting its constitutional duty to fully fund basic education. Washington is ranked 42nd in the nation in funding for schools. Instead of creating more underfunded schools, let’s fully fund existing schools and restore music and art programs to all of them so that all students can achieve.
Despite overcrowding and underfunding, this state’s students lead the nation on SAT scores. Imagine what our students could achieve with fully funded schools and smaller class sizes.
Instead of resolving these issues, I-1240 would make matters worse by adding a new $3 million bureaucracy to regulate the new schools. The Charter School Commission would be composed of appointed officials who have demonstrated a pro-charter bias, despite the fact that charters do not have a proven track record. What kind of watchdog group is that?
I agree with the Washington PTA and say no I-1240.