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Topic: charter schools
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October 24, 2013 at 7:30 AM
Call Embert Reichgott Junge the mother of all charter schools and you’re not far off the mark. The Democrat was in the Minnesota state Senate in the early 1990s and helped write and pass the nation’s first charter school law. That legislative feat led to the expansion of charters across the country.
Washington state was one of the last states to adopt a law allowing charters and with the news this week that 23 organizations have advised the state Charter School Commission of their interest opening a school here, it seemed useful to look at where charters have been to get a gauge on where this state is going. Junge was in Seattle this week speaking with pro-education reform groups and pushing ”Zero Chance of Passage,” her account of the bipartisan effort to pass the first charter school law.
Talking with Junge, one thing quickly becomes apparent. The political history of charter schools is sorely misunderstood. The non-traditional public schools have been cast by opponents as a tool used by the political right to privatize education. The truth is charter schools grew out of the political center. The victory in Minnesota was led by moderates. There was Junge but also the state’s Democratic governor, Rudy Perpich; Albert Shanker, then president of the American Federation of Teachers; and civic leaders looking to improve public schools. Everyone was drawn to charters for different reasons. Perpich wanted to expand school choice. Shanker and other union leaders were drawn to charter schools’ promise of autonomy which they interpreted as allowing teachers more control over school decisions. Now fast forward 20 years later. (more…)
March 6, 2013 at 10:46 AM
Gov. Jay Inslee this morning announced the appointments to this commission this a.m. in a joint statement with Lt. Gov. Brad Owen and House Speaker Frank Chopp.
Gov. Inslee’s appointees are: Former Seattle School Boardmember Steve Sundquist; Doreen Cato, executive director and chief professional officer of the United Way of Grays Harbor. Seattlelites will recognize her name because she is also the former executive director of First Place, a kindergarten through sixth grade nonprofit school for at-risk children and families and Chris Martin, an advocate for gifted education and founder of PRODIGY NW .
House Speaker Frank Chopp appointed to the Charter School commission Trish Millines Dziko, co-founder of the TAF Academy, a school operating under the auspices of the Federal Way School District; Former state Rep. Dave Quall , once a Mount Vernon high school teacher; and Dr. Margit McGuire, Director of Teacher Education in the Master inTeaching program at Seattle University.
Last fall, voters approved Initiative 1240, making Washington one of the last states in the nation to legalize charter schools.
“Creating a new system for charter schools is a heavy lift, and maintaining a high level of accountability and transparency is key,” Inslee said in a statement released minutes ago. “These are people who understand what our students need to succeed, and how to manage people and resources to meet the needs of a diverse student population.”
The standard term on the commission will be four years, though the length of the initial appointments will be staggered so everyone does not leave the board at once. No commission member may serve more than two consecutive terms.
The commission, filled with smart, accomplished people, must begin its work. First up, elect a chair.