Other education reforms are more urgent than charter schools. Washington could have a fantastic public school system without them.
But we don’t have a fantastic system, and one of the reasons is a reactionary K-12 establishment that can be counted on to resist efforts to bring rigorous standards and greater accountability to public education.
Charter schools aren’t a magic cure for all that ails the schools, but the fact that they are prohibited here – while allowed in the vast majority of other states – is another symptom of the backwardness of “progressive” Washington.
Initiative 1240, which would legalize charters in Washington for the first time, has just officially qualified for the ballot. The usual suspects are lining up against it, notably the Washington Education Association – which tore into the measure like a pit bull the moment it got traction.
The WEA’s mother organization, the National Education Association, takes a more nuanced position on charter schools.