Opinion

Washington educators oppose and challenge charter school initiative

Editor's Note: This release was sent by the Washington Education Association.

Representing nearly 82,000 public school educators, the Washington Education Association Board of Directors has voted to oppose Initiative 1240, which would divert taxpayer funding from existing public schools into a new system of unaccountable, experimental charter schools.

Today, WEA filed a legal challenge contesting the ballot title and summary proposed by the state attorney general. The current proposed I-1240 ballot title language is inaccurate and fails to fully describe the initiative. The challenge was filed in Thurston County Superior Court, which has five court days to issue a final ballot title and summary. Once that happens, initiative backers have until July 6 to collect nearly 250,000 valid signatures from Washington voters to qualify for the November ballot. It is unclear who will fund the expensive paid signature drive, which could cost millions of dollars because of the short timeline.

The WEA Board voted to oppose I-1240 because it will divert millions of dollars from existing public schools – ignoring the state Supreme Court’s recent ruling that the state is failing to adequately fund public schools as mandated by the state Constitution.

Also, research shows nearly 40 percent of charter schools perform worse than local public schools and only 17 percent provide better education opportunities for students. Washington voters have rejected taxpayer-funded charter schools three times in recent years.

“Charter schools fail to meet the needs of most students,” said Mary Lindquist, WEA president. “Washington’s teachers care about allstudents in all public schools. Instead of diverting scarce funding from public schools and spending it on a failed experiment like charter schools, we should be investing more in the innovative public schools we already have. I urge public school supporters to decline to sign Initiative 1240.”

Read a list of innovative Washington public schools. Or watch a YouTube video about the Lincoln Center, a successful non-traditional high school in Tacoma.

 

 

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