Legislative Action Alert: Grading schools, closing schools and converting them into charter schools: SB5328 and SB5329


This is a one item agenda, grading schools, then transforming the schools with the lowest test scores into charter schools or closing them and providing the option of…a charter school or a public school outside of the student’s neighborhood. If you don’t understand the devastation that starts with high stakes testing and ends with school closings, check out the recent weekly update, The Weekly Update: Eli Broad’s how-to guide on closing schools and disaster capitalism up close and personal.

Stand for Children, with their bought and paid for representative State Senator Steve Litzow, and the League of Education Voters have pushed through two bills in the Washington State Senate and they are now headed for the State house.

Senate Bill 5328 grades schools based on student test scores.

Senate Bill 5329 then proposes to take the schools with the lowest test scores and “transform” them based on the Race to the Top turnaround model that is not fully described in the bill that was sponsored by Litzow.

This is the “transformation” model that is referred to in the bill but not clearly stated by Litzow; from the Department of Education’s website:

      • Turnaround model: Replace the principal and rehire no more than 50% of the staff, and grant the principal sufficient operational flexibility (including in staffing, calendars/time and budgeting) to fully implement a comprehensive approach to substantially improve student outcomes.
      • Restart model: Convert a school or close and reopen it under a charter school operator, a charter management organization, or an education management organization that has been selected through a rigorous review process.
      • School closure: Close a school and enroll the students who attended that school in other schools in the district that are higher achieving.
      • Transformation model: Implement each of the following strategies: (1) replace the principal and take steps to increase teacher and school leader effectiveness; (2) institute comprehensive instructional reforms; (3) increase learning time and create community-oriented schools; and (4) provide operational flexibility and sustained support.

That’s what Litzow & Co. want for our students. Litzow lives on Mercer Island with many of the 1% and will never see a “transformation model” in his neighborhood, but as we have seen time and time again, what’s best for the rest of us doesn’t work for the leaders and shills of the ed reform movement.

It doesn’t work for anyone else either as we have seen this idea unfold around the country with horrific results.

Please call you representative, e-mail them or meet them in person and let them know what you think of these bills.

There are Town Halls coming up this weekend and that would also be a great time to have a few words with your representative.

By the way, these bill cost money and even though Litzow’s paramount duty is to ensure adequate funding for our schools, he is instead pushing bills with untold costs if you consider the expense of the transformation model.

There is a petition online to remind representatives like Senators Tom and Liztow that they were elected with the understanding that they would represent the rest of us, not just the wealthy few.

Dora Taylor


7 thoughts on “Legislative Action Alert: Grading schools, closing schools and converting them into charter schools: SB5328 and SB5329

  1. The main problem is people who (still) believe that competition leads to better results than cooperation. Maybe it does, but what is the cost??? I know my views are different because I moved here from Finland, but I still think the value of an educational system can (and should?) be measured by the support provided for those who need most help in their learning. Of course celebrating few extraordinary students is better PR, and easier to focus on, but is that really a sustainable way to develop the biggest factor of our future – education? We can provide every student with successful learning experiences if we make better choices. Getting rid of public school is certainly not such choice.
    ~ Nina

  2. We’re seeing a lot of education bills, but hearing very little about funding full day K or even 6 periods of middle and high school per day. I agree, there should be a rating for legislators. Maybe we could get Diane Ravitch’s new network to rate questionable legislators.

    1. This is not a partisan issue. It has to do with money, with privatizing of our schools, putting public funds into private hands with no public oversight.

      Obama made the grave error of bringing in Arne Duncan as the Secretary of Education, a know-nothing dupe with no background in education who was used by developers in Chicago to convert public schools into charter schools during a time of the gentrification of the South side of Chicago. For more on that, see: Arne Duncan and the Chicago Success Story: Myth or Reality?, https://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/05/29-10.

      That will give you a sense of why we are where we are now in terms of education.

    2. Obama’s policies on public K-12 education are indistinguishable from those of George W. Bush. I challenge you or anyone else to disprove that. Just because Obama ran for President as a Democrat doesn’t make those policies any less pernicious. They are to be opposed no matter who pushes them.

  3. Here’s what I put on the WEA’s facebook – in case it disappears in the unity and solidarity censor ether.

    What’s up with all the Democrats who voted for SB 5329? When WEA leadership allows these kinds of garbage bills to move forward, the terms of debate change. There should be a VERY public scoring system for legislators, and people like Frockt should LOSE support in future elections for this stuff. Do the math – the Tea Party represents …6% ? 12% of the public, and they allow NOTHING good for the 99%. WHY do we allow people like Frockt to play footsie with SFC & LEV & DFER without politically punishing the Frockts (and Hunters and Ruevens) -Start with loss of primary support, then incremental support for ANY non-drooling primary opponent, then NO general support, then … – if he wants DFER & SFC & Bill Gate$ rich toadies for friends, he doesn’t have ME. This is a lot like 5895 of last March – we working stiffs will be hired and fired like short order cooks, AND, the union will still get its dues!

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