To the editor:
The League of Women Voters of Washington opposes I-1240, privately run but publicly funded Charter Schools, for the following reasons:
• Private boards selected by corporations rather than publicly elected school boards would govern charter schools, even though the Supreme Court has ruled that “common schools must be subject to and under the control of the qualified voters of the school district.”
• A new politically-appointed state commission would be created to authorize and oversee charter schools rather than the constitutionally mandated and publicly elected Superintendent of Public Instruction and would not be accountable to voters or elected officials.
• Although proponents of the initiative promise “at risk” students and those from low-performing schools will be served by charter schools, nothing in the initiative requires it.
• An existing public school could be converted to a charter school by a petition signed by a majority of teachers or of parents. The school district would lose the state funding but be required to provide the existing facility rent-free, be responsible for repairs and upgrades, and be required to allocate levy moneys to the converted charter school.
• Research by Stanford University shows that overall charter schools do not perform better than public schools, and nearly 40 percent of them do worse.
• The Supreme Court has ruled that Washington is failing to fund the education of all students required by the Constitution. The state isn’t funding the current 295 school districts; adding 40 more school districts will just make it worse.
Let’s work toward full funding for all students in all schools rather than be distracted by charter schools that would only serve a limited number of students chosen by lottery.
Please join members of the League, state PTA, NAACP, El Centro de la Raza and many others across the state in voting NO on I-1240.
Education Chairwoman, League of Women Voters of Washington