Last week, state House Democrats serving on the House Education Committee demonstrated how beholden to the Washington Education Association (WEA) they really are when they blocked SB 6194, the public charter school fix already passed by the state Senate.
In a 10-10 vote split along party lines (the bill needed a 11-vote majority), the snare bill failed a roll-call vote.
Democrats’ stance against voter-approved charter schools prompted an almost immediate reaction by advocates. As the Washington Policy Center reports, a couple of hours after the bill was blocked more than 600 charter school students, families, and teachers rallied within the Capitol in Olympia petitioning Democrats to support public charter schools.
Editorial boards in newspapers across the state, including The Seattle Times, The Yakima Herald and The Olympian, joined charter school supporters in their plea to Democrats. The Seattle Times wrote,
“Voters wanted charter schools as an option in this state. The Senate approved a bill that answered the Supreme Court’s concerns. The House Education Committee has deliberately let the issue languish and now seems to be obstructing a solution.
“Which brings us back to those 1,200 charter-school students. Without a remedy, those schools will be decimated, unable to plan, apply for grants, keep their fine teachers. That is unacceptable.
“Time for Speaker Chopp and Rep. Sullivan to make sure the full House gets to vote on this charter-school remedy.”
The question is whether or not it’s all too little, too late with the 2016 legislative session coming to a close. Charter school advocates have done everything in their power to convince Democrats to do what is best for underprivileged students rather than the special interest groups that fund their campaigns. But, by and large, the media cannot say the same.
News outlets have been woefully complacent concerning the future of voter-approved charter schools in our state. Sure, most of news outlets have stated their public support for them, but they have also utterly failed to call out individual Democrat lawmakers standing in the way of charter schools.
Democrats have either stated their outright opposition to public charter schools or they have been shamefully passive, refusing to take a stance. In either case, news outlets have failed in their responsibility to hold these lawmakers responsible to their constituents.
So, in order to fill that void, we’ve made a list of Democrats that must be called out. They have taken a position that is contrary to the will of they constituents for no other reason than to satisfy the WEA’s wishes. These Democrats must be exposed for their special interests-driven agenda.
- Sam Hunt (Olympia): Hunt is the epitome of a politician who responds with cowardice to the dilemma of doing what is best for his political career vs. doing what’s best for his constituents. Hunt, a member of the House Education Committee, did not even bother to vote either way for the bill.
- Sharon Tomiko Santos (Seattle): If Hunt exemplifies cowardice then Tomiko Santos is the picture of hypocrisy. Tomiko Santos, chair of the House Education Committee, once that the Democrat-controlled state House approved a bill that claims to “close the education opportunity gap in Washington.” Yet, she’s rather proud of the fact that she and her fellow Democrats blocked public charter schools that offer underprivileged students an advantage they otherwise would not have in a system controlled by the WEA.
- Larry Springer (Kirkland): With only a few days left in the 2016 legislative session and knowing that his party stalled the bill for weeks, Springer voted “no” during last week’s vote. Springer’s “no” vote came despite the fact that he co-sponsored the legislation in the House. He justified his “no” vote with a weak explanation about wanted to make changes to it. As the Washington State Charter Schools Association pointed out, anything that doesn’t align with the Senate bill would likely fall short of keeping charter schools open.
- Gerry Pollet (Seattle): In perhaps the most arrogant response to charter schools, Pollet actually bragged about the “learning moment” he gave to public charter school students who came to the capitol to try and save their schools. He taught them about their “privilege.” He even told parents, “WEA is the greatest advocate in Olympia for providing the training needed for special needs students.” His outrageous attitude revealed just how out-of-touch he is concerning the state of education in his own legislative district.
- Noel Frame (Seattle): Frame recently revealed just how disturbingly apathetic Democrats can be when it comes to the plight of failing public schools. After her fellow Democrats blocked the bill, she told a concerned mother that who was petitioning her to support Rainer Prep in Seattle that “some students simply lose when it comes to public schools” and that perhaps she should “consider private school.” Frame’s callous attitude leaves a taste of just how far Democrats are willing to go to adhere to the demands of the WEA.
- Speaker of House Frank Chopp (Seattle): Presumably in an attempt to avoid upsetting the WEA in a time when Democrats need all the campaign help they can get in order to hang on to the state House in 2016, Chopp has remained largely silent on what he believes should be the fate of charter schools. Though he has supported them in the past, Chopp has been content to sit on the issue of voter-approved for as long as possible, running down the clock of the 2016 legislative session. He hasn’t acted like a leader, fighting for the will of voters. Instead, he’s acted like a duplicitous politician deprived of a backbone.
- House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan (Covington): Speaking of politicians without backbones, Sullivan has been busy covering the tracks of his fellow Democrats who voted “no” last week. He has suggested that Democrats merely want to ensure the bill would withstand another court challenge (of course, it would). The truth is probably more along the lines of a preference by Sullivan and other leaders to let the bill die in hopes of avoiding voter accountability while also appeasing their million-dollar campaign donor, the WEA.
The list could go on. Recently, Rep. Roger Goodman (Kirkland) has been the subject of public charter school advocates’ ire. Check out the ad below,
Unfortunately, the fate of public charter schools in our state rests with the Democrat-controlled state House. That’s not a good position to be in, especially considering Democrats’ special interests-driven agenda. For its part, news outlets have not done enough to hold Democrats responsible to their constituents.
FC White says
You people are so full of it. The Privatizers outspent their opponents by 17 to 1: That’s right, Seventeen To One, in 2012, with record spending in an attempt to brainwash and manipulate voters into supporting the truly heinous and revolting I-1240.
Would it be fair if the Seahawks faced 17 men on the field, for every one of their own? Would it be fair if their opponents were given a six touchdown lead before the opening kickoff?
BUT, most telling—even WITH this vile, sickening, unfair 17 to 1 advantage—The Privatizers, largely supported by just FIVE billionaires who pushed this disgusting, unconstitutional ballot measure, could ONLY manage a statewide statistical tie! It took almost a full month before they could barely squeeze out a “victory” through this horrific PURCHASING of this awful law.
God Bless The Supreme Court of Washington, Governor Inslee and ALL of the brave legislators who REFUSE to kowtow to those who detest our public schools, our children and their teachers.
We’ve won already. Charters are dead. You just refuse to admit it. Get used to it. And move to Louisiana if you love charters so much…it’ll be Heaven On Earth for you there…unless, you have children, that is…