There is a movement underfoot to take our rogue PTA back in the state of Washington.
It has been taken over with the likes of Stand for Children and the League of Education Voters (LEV) who have been setting the agenda for the WSPTA for the last two years, an agenda which includes merit pay for teachers, evaluating a teacher’s performance based on test scores and the introduction of charter schools in our state. What is even more frightening is that since Lisa MacFarland, who founded LEV, is now with WA DFER, Democrats for Education Reform, the stakes have gone up. We have been watching the basic melding of LEV and DFER in our state and it’s not pretty.
Two SFC/LEV activists who are also PTA members, Chad Magendanz and Alison Meryweather, pushed through a proposal regarding charter schools at the legislative assembly and this plank in the WSPTA platform, couched in the language of “Equitable Educational Opportunities”, will be voted on at the PTA Convention in two weeks. If this resolution is passed, it will be a part of the official agenda for the WSPTA for the next two years. That means that Ramona Hattendorf, the WSPTA lobbyist, and Bill Williams, Executive Director of WSPTA, will be speaking to our representatives and saying that they represent all of the children in our state and all of the children, parents and teachers want to privatize our public schools. That’s it in a nutshell, it’s that simple.
The motto of the PTA is Every Child, One Voice.
It would behoove all PTA members who can, to be involved in this convention and make your voices heard.
It does cost money to be a part of this convention. There is the registration fee of $190 and if you don’t live close to Seattle, there will be the cost of lodging and food. Members of Parents Across America, Seattle will be glad to house PTA members who need a place to stay to help defray the cost of attendance. Also, some PTA’s can help with fees. There is also the opportunity to volunteer during the convention which will defray the cost of the registration fee.
The Washington State PTA convention is being held on May 4, 5 & 6, 2012 at the Doubletree Hotel-Seattle Airport, SeaTac, WA.
There are many reasons why the people in our state do not want charter schools. To follow are a few of those reasons:
- It creates a separate and unequal approach to education, specifically in terms of minorities, ELL students and IEP students.
- It is a privatization of a public trust.
- Charter schools have shown to be no better than public schools and yet they drain funding away from public schools.
- Charter schools open and close leaving families and communities scrambling for alternatives.
- There is no public oversight of charter schools.
- Most charter schools do not want teacher or parent involvement in the decision making process.
- There is a high turnover rate of teachers in charter schools and many of these teachers are inexperienced and under-trained to keep labor cost down.
- Charter schools compete with public schools for classroom space and many times force out students in public schools.
For additional information on charter schools, see these papers and studies:
There is nothing “Equitable” about charter schools.
To follow is a list of state studies on the effectiveness of charter schools compiled by Dr. Michael Fabricant (Hunter College) and Dr. Michelle Fine (CUNY) in their new book Charter Schools and the Corporate Makeover of Public Education, page 41-2.
By early 2006, “only 25 public schools had opened in New Orleans. Eighteen (72%) were charter schools and 10 (40%) had selective admissions standards.” By the beginning of the 2007-08 school year, 85 schools had opened and more than half were charter schools. The assessment scores were mixed, demonstrating that, “more charters showed declines in their test scores than improvements” (Dingerson, 2008, p. 32).
In Newark, New Jersey, Barr, Sadovnik, and Visconti compared the performance of charter and public schools and found that students in charters perform less well on standardized tests than public school students, in particular on language arts tests as compared to mathematics (Barr, Sadovnik, & Visconti, 2006) .
In California, Rogosa found advantages for regular public schools in grades 7 and 8. A more recent report by Margaret Raymond of the Hoover Institute also examines the California experience with charters. Her findings for middle school achievement confirm Rogosa’s findings-the performance of public and charter elementary schools is comparable (Rogosa, 2002).
Eric Bettinger noted that in Michigan, “When charter schools are compared to public schools with similar characteristics pupils in charter schools score no better and may even be doing worse”
(Bracey, 2004, p. 19). Randall Eberts and Kevin Hollenbeck “found [that] charter students [in Michigan score] lower by 2-4 percentage points on the MEAP 4th grade reading, 4 percentage points lower on the science testing and 6 percentage points lower on the writing scores” (Bracey, 2005, pp. 19,43).
The sixth evaluation of Texas charter schools performed by the Texas Center for Educational Research concluded that “across six school years, traditional public schools have outperformed charter schools. Only 14% of charter schools earned the highest Texas accountability ratings while 86% received the lowest rating” (Bracey, 2004, p. 25).
In Ohio, the Legislative Office of Education Oversight (LOEO) concluded on the basis of their research that “14 of the 20 comparisons were statistically significant and 13 of those 14 favored traditional public schools.”
And finally, the NAACP Resolution regarding charter schools.
What we need to do is focus on bringing all schools up to a standard that provides equal opportunity for all of our students through adequate funding of all schools and programs. This is an achievable goal.