The WSPTA Convention will be held on May 4-6 and everyone who can needs to attend. There will be several issues on the table that will be voted on including the charter school resolution that has drawn fire from all quarters. This resolution, if passed at the convention, would become a cornerstone of the WSPTA platform for the next 2 years.
You might not even be aware of it reading the announcements that Ramona Hattendorf has sent out but buried in the user’s guide beginning on page 12 is the charter school resolution under “Equitable Educational Opportunities”.
What I find interesting about this resolution are the “untruths”, as I will call them, that are stated in this resolution.
Let’s start with this doozy:
certain schools, including high-performing charter schools, have produced positive effects in elementary and middle schools that outpace other interventions such as class-size reduction, and can provide the equivalent of three years of schooling for students every two years
As I had stated previously, the authors of the original WSPTA platform proposal provided as their “resources” Wikipedia as well as the KIPP and Greendot websites. That’s it. No reports, no studies, nothing regarding the true performance of these schools or the fact that both of these schools have track records of cherry picking their students. See Access Denied by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
That these charter schools “outpace other interventions such as class-size reduction” is not a comparison that I have come across in any of my readings on charter schools. That these schools “provide the equivalent of three years of schooling for students every two years” is a fairy tale. Again, there is no evidence to support this that I have seen.
The authors of the original proposal just picked words out of the air, no rather, off of the KIPP and Greendot websites, that sounded convincing. Unfortunately it convinced enough PTA members who didn’t know any better to vote for something that they thought would help other people’s students.
Washington State has accommodated innovative schools for more than 20 years yet has failed to close the achievement gaps, or successfully turned around the persistently lowest achieving schools
Actually, progressive alternative schools such as Nova have actually provided a safe and supportive place for all students to succeed. They have also scored the highest in Language Arts for the last three years.
Washington State PTA believes great educational outcomes are possible for all students, including
students of color, students of diverse cultural or linguistic backgrounds, lower income status and students with special needs
Yes, great educational outcomes are available for all students if we focus on equitable funding of education for all students. Charter schools are not the answer particularly for children with special needs. There have been volumes written about the fact that KIPP and Greendot and other charter franchises are highly selective about the students who they take on and the students who get “counseled out” of these schools.
Needless to say, this resolution does not pass muster. Let’s not allow the few to once again manipulate the system to their own ends.
All PTA members who can must attend this critical convention. I know that attending the convention can be cost prohibitive for many so several parents and teachers are offering assistance in terms of a place to stay and even cash so that all who want to, can attend.
If you are in need of a place to stay or other assistance or can offer a place to stay, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I wrote Ramona Hattendorf and Bill Williams to ask them if scholarships were available so that all members who wanted to can attend. Ramona replied:
That depends on the council.
Seattle Council PTSA has in the past provided grants for training or leadership development purposes – awarded to the local unit, not a member — which could be used for convention, legislative assembly or regional leadership training. http://www.seattlecouncilptsa.org/grants.shtml
You would need to contact the council in question to see if grants are available. Each council determines its fees and what they will be used for; this is decided in the budgeting process and subject to approval of members. (In a council’s situation, “members” are local units and are represented by the voting delegates selected units to represent them.)
Another option is to volunteer to work at the convention. For members who put in a certain amount of hours, the fee is waived.
The deadline for pre-registration is April 1st. The member needs to be associated with a school and their dues paid. After April 1st, the cost to register increases. For complete information on the convention, check out the WSPTA website.
If you would like to connect with others who are attending the convention who also will be voting against the charter resolution, please contact me at email@example.com, and I will get you in touch with those parents and teachers to coordinate efforts.
We should not allow a few with different agendas to go to Olympia saying that they represent the rest of us.
While looking up articles for this post, I came across this interview that is heartbreaking and I wanted to bring it to your attention.