After Washington State voters passed Initiatives 1240, the state Charter School Commission began the process of establishing charter schools. This September, the first charter school—First Place Scholars—opened in Seattle. First Place Scholars aims to help “homeless and low-income children gain access to a good public education.”
Charter schools are in the works for Spokane, Seattle, Kent, Tacoma and Highline—a total of eight schools are set to open in 2015, “including one approved earlier this month in Spokane.” Washington State law allows for 40 charter schools over five years. Today, the Charter School Commission “will hold a public meeting and decide on four applications: Bilingual Academy in Clark County, Green Dot School in Seattle, Sunnyside Charter Academy in Yakima and Village Academy in Pierce County.” According to the Washington Policy Center, “all four schools are targeted to communities with high drop out rates, significant achievement gaps and a large share of students eligible for the federal free and reduced lunch program.”
As SHIFT reported in the past, charter schools—despite their noble purposes—are facing fierce opposition from powerful sources in Washington State. Specifically, our state’s powerful teachers’ union, the Washington Education Association (WEA), is “pursuing a lawsuit to get charter schools closed and to bar students from attending them.” Meanwhile, the WEA is attempting to pass a self-serving initiative under the guise of smaller class sizes. The state Supreme Court will hear the case on October 28th.
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