For the news and views you might have missed
When: Thursday February 15 at 4:00-5:30pm
Where: The construction site of the future Rainier Valley Leadership Academy Middle/High School (6020 Rainier Ave South, Seattle, WA 98118)
The Green Dot corporation, a Los Angeles-based charter school conglomerate, is coming to the Rainier Valley. They are currently operating their first class of sixth grade students near the Othello Light Rail Station. While Rainier Beach High School has waited more than ten years since all other high schools had major reconstruction or renovation, Green Dot is building a new, multi-story high school just one mile north of Rainier Beach on Rainier Avenue S.
They are promoting their school as “AP for All”, echoes of Rainier Beach’s effort to offer the International Baccalaureate program to all students (all of whom currently receive IB in Language Arts and History). This school will seriously cut into student populations of Rainier Beach, Cleveland, and Franklin. It is just two blocks from Aki Kurose Middle School. South End schools have historically had to slash classes like electives and World Language due to population declines. For Rainier Beach, the last three years have seen an increase in student population to over 700. Green Dot’s locating of this charter school will surely have a negative impact on staffing efforts at these schools.
The City of Seattle has not yet granted Green Dot a variance for the size of their construction. The Seattle School Board last week voted unanimously to urge the city to reject this variance. Charter schools, initially seen as an opportunity to have community control, have proven to be the opposite. They are private, for-profit entities with the ability to use public funds. Many of these schools end up hiring teachers with no certificates and limited training. Also, their staff aren’t represented by an educators’ union. Advocates tout the use of technology (as opposed to classroom instruction.) “Especially encouraging are the software programs the charter networks are developing to reach students in ways they prefer to be reached.” (Richard Whitmire 2017)
In addition, charters can pick and choose their students and are not required to offer the same services as common schools. Please, join SEE members as we protest the construction of this school which will cause serious impacts on our South End Public Schools.
If you cannot attend please call the Mayor (206-684-4000) and let her know Seattle needs to enhance the schools we already have, not siphon our resources to private entities.
by Mark Epstein, educator at Rainier Beach High School
The event FaceBook page is here.
For more on Greendot charter school and charter schools in general, see:
Signing Their Rights Away: A series of court rulings suggests that students who attend charter schools do not have the same rights as public school students…
The Racist History of the Charter School Movement: Touted as the cure for what ails public education, charter schools have historical roots that are rarely discussed.
Charter Schools: What is a charter school?