Public weighs in on charter schools bill
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Lawmakers in the House are going over a bill that many believe could be the salvation for charter schools. And (Friday) the public weighed in. Ruth Johnson reports from Olympia.
Sherline Wilson, charter parent: “Charters are not the silver bullet and we shouldn’t expect them to be.”
Johnson: Sherline Wilson is a mother of three. She voted ‘no’ in 2012 when charter schools were put on the ballot. But she had a change of heart.
Wilson: “The progress shown by 11 hundred kids in charter schools can’t be overlooked.”
Johnson: Wilson, whose son is excelling at Rainier Prep, a charter school in Seattle, was joined by other supporters of a bill they believe could salvage charter schools.
Magendanz: “Charter schools drive innovation. They’re less restricted by collective bargaining agreements, by burdensome state regulations. They’re more accountable than regular schools, because if they don’t produce results, they’re gone.”
Johnson: And that, says Republican Representative Chad Magendanz, forces charter educators to think outside the box. It is something lawmakers also have had to do since the Supreme Court declared the funding mechanism for charter schools unconstitutional.
The bill under consideration creates a new funding stream: lottery monies through the Opportunity Pathways Account. Additional support would come from the general fund.
Jaden Isabel, charter student: “Summit Sierra saved my life and my school has a chance to save so many others.”
Johnson: Charter students testified in favor of the bill.
Tatiana Cueva, charter student: “Before Olympus, I didn’t even dream of college, and saw no value in it. But since coming to this school, college is a real possibility for me.”
Johnson: The bill is not without critics. Magendanz immediately tasked the House policy and research staff, asking for a ‘deep dive,’ to ensure this legislation is the answer.
Ruth Johnson, Olympia.
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