Support Your Local (Charter School)

F– USE, a local progressive organization, has refused to take a stand on Initiative 1240 .. the intiative to allow a small number of charter schools in our state.

I think F– USE made a wise decision.  Unfortunately one of my liberal correspondents in upset:

David Spring writes: “For F– USE to fail to oppose 1240 is simply one more in a long series of examples that they are not a progressive organization. They are standing against the entire Democratic Party and against one million school children and against our State Constitution on this one. “

Well, I will not comment on the party activists in either party.  What is obvious is that David can not be speaking for the Presidential campaign since the President does support charter schools.

Charter schools are now accepted in all but a few states.  The opposition here is largely by the unions who object not to the word “public” but to the idea that any system, other than union work rules, can determine how teachers are evaluated and what they teach.

I am very supportive of unions and would support an effort to unionize the private schools as well. Teachers need unions t prevent wage exploitation.

However, supporting the right to a fair wage is very different from supporting the kind of professionalism our schools need.  If anyone has  a doubt that unions can work in settings other than what we have now in the public schools, look at the success of faculty unions at such superb colleges as Western Washington and Evergreen!

As for David’s claim about the state constitution, that is specious.  The constitution requires that the state fund education … something it is not now doing very well.  It does not, however, stipulate anything about how those funds are to be used .

Another way of looking at this is from the point of view of a parent in White Center vs a parent on Mercer Island.  Why should the parent with the $$$ to live on Mercer Islans be able to determine how her schools are governed but the parent on White Center be forced to send her kids to a school run to meet other people’s needs?  If funding were adequate, why shouldn’t White Center have the ability ot create its own schools.

For that matter why shouldn’t the Norwegian/American community be able to create a school that teaches Norwegian culture?  As long as the money that is used is no more than any other school gets, as long as enrollment is is truly open, and as long as teachers right to a wage are protected … why not offer choice?

That concept of choice is the central concept in charter schools.

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