Resolution Against Charter Schools

WHEREAS Article III, Section 13 of the platform of the 36th District Democrats specifically opposes charter schools (1);

WHEREAS the voters of Washington State have defeated charter school measures three times (2);

WHEREAS charter school operators have “become increasingly hostile to unions” (3);

WHEREAS teacher turnover is higher in charter schools than in traditional public schools, and increases administrative and training costs, creates organizational

disruption, and makes it difficult to maintain a high level of instructional quality (4);

WHEREAS peer-reviewed research shows that charter schools overall perform no better, and often worse, than comparable public schools (5);

WHEREAS charter schools overall serve far fewer children with special needs than comparable public schools, and especially children with the most severe disabilities (6);

WHEREAS charter school populations are more segregated and less diverse than public schools (7);

WHEREAS charter schools often shift publicly funded district moneys to private interests (8); and

WHEREAS charter schools represent a privatization of public schools, such action is explicitly opposed by the platform of the 36th District Democrats;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that we urge Senator Kohl-Welles, and Representatives Carlyle and Dickerson not to sponsor or support any charter school bill submitted before the 2012 Session of the Washington State Legislature.

Sponsored by Toby Thaler, Policy Director


1. 36th District Democrats Platform, Section III.13 “Education. We are committed to promoting, supporting, defending and financing public education, and to providing equal access to its resources and benefits. “It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provisions for the education of all children.” … Washington State Constitution (1889)

“Oppose privatization of public education; oppose vouchers, charter schools.”

2. Referendum 55 (2004), 58.3% No, 41.7% Yes; Initiative 729 (2000), 52% No, 48% Yes; Initiative 177 (1996), 64% No, 36% Yes.

3. Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. (New York: Basic Books, 2010), 124.

4. David A. Stuit and Thomas M. Smith, “Teacher Turnover in Charter Schools,” National Center on School Choice, Vanderbilt University, accessed January 2, 2012,

5. “Charter School Performance in Pennsylvania,” CREDO at Stanford University, accessed January 2, 2012, FINAL.pdf.

6. “Special Education in New Orleans Public Schools,” Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed January 2, 2012,

7. Gary Miron, Jessica L. Urschel, William J. Mathis, and Elana Tornquist, “Schools Without Diversity: Education Management Organizations, Charter Schools, and the Demographic

Stratification of the American School System,” Education and the Public Interest Center, University of Colorado at Boulder, accessed January 2, 2012,