In fall 2015, three charter schools are expected to open in Tacoma. However, certain members of the Tacoma school board are worried that “too many area families may try to send their children to local charter schools.” So, they want to the state Legislature to “make it illegal for educators to open more than two such schools in any district.”
The Washington Policy Center points out, “Tacoma school board members see charters as competing with the schools they run directly.” The school board members fail to recognize that “charter schools are public schools, so children that attend them are receiving a public education – one selected by their parents.”
The reality is that, compared to traditional public schools, charter schools have a lot to offer students and parents—Tacoma serves as a perfect example. The Washington Policy Center,
Charter schools promote direct parental involvement, while traditional schools discourage too large a voice for parents, often involuntarily assigning children to a particular school.
Charter schools have higher graduation rates and often give children a better chance to go to college. Each of the charter schools opening in Tacoma plans to offer a rigorous academic program, promote a culture of hard work and high expectations, and seek high-quality teachers…
The Tacoma School District “operates some of the lowest-performing schools in the state, according to the State Board of Education.” Additionally, “13 of Tacoma’s 62 schools rank in the ‘Lowest 5 Percent’ category, placing some 6,800 school children at risk. Federal reports show that “69% of Tacoma’s teachers are absent from class more than 10 days a school year, and that about 30% of students fail to graduate”—those statistic have become a cause for concern for many families in Tacoma.
The three new charter schools offer a promise of improvement for Tacoma parents—especially for “children from low-income and minority families, who see access to a good education as the best way to escape poverty.”
Washington voters see charter schools in the same light—that’s why they voted enact charter schools in our state. Tacoma school board members who care about the future of children would not object to educational improvements offered by charter schools, they would embrace the “new learning options for children, rather than trying to protect the status quo.”