The first members of Washington state’s new Charter School Commission are due to be appointed Wednesday. The commission will be able to approve some of the 40 charter schools allowed under the law voters passed last fall.
The initiative to allow charter schools in Washington is narrowly passing with 51 percent of the vote. This was the fourth time the state’s voters considered charter schools. Supporters said charters would expand students’ educational options because charters aren’t bound by district or union rules.
This fall, voters in Washington will decide whether to legalize charter schools in the state for the first time. Washington voters have considered charters three times before. But the details of charter school funding, oversight and independence can be confusing. So we took a red pen to claims by supporters and opponents of Initiative 1240, and gave each claim a grade to see who gets to go to the head of the class – and who needs to go back and check their work.
The Seattle School Board said a unanimous "no" to charter schools last night. The board members approved a resolution against Initiative 1240, which would bring up to 40 charter schools to Washington over five years.
The campaign to bring charter schools to Washington state has now raised more cash than any other measure on the ballot. Donors have contributed more than $8.9 million to the Yes on 1240 campaign. Of that, 91 percent came from just ten people, according to the Public Disclosure Commission website.
This November, voters once again have the chance to weigh in on whether to set up charter schools in Washington state. Forty-one states currently allow charter schools; Initiative 1240 is the fourth attempt since 1996 to pass a charter school law here. Supporters of charter schools say they will allow for more diversity and flexibility in education. Opponents argue charters lack a record of success and will mean a loss of revenue for public education.