Vote No on I-1240, Creating a new Charter School System
We need proven solutions for all children before unproven ideas for just a few. Here are a few reasons why I-1240 is not the solution.
Washington has the 4th most-crowded classrooms in the nation, outdated textbooks and technology, too few remediation and enrichment programs and not enough teachers to give students the individual attention they need. The Legislature cut $2.5 billion from education in the last three years alone. Before spending millions on I-1240’s charter schools that admit only a tiny fraction of students, with no guarantee of improved performance, let’s ensure the Legislature does what the state Supreme Court told it to do: Fund K-12 education so all our children can succeed.
I-1240 diverts millions of tax dollars into an expensive system of privately operated, but publicly funded, charter schools. Most of Washington’s children won’t have access to these schools, and those who do would have to win a lottery to get in. We should be taking care of the schools we currently have — giving all our children a chance to succeed — not taking funding away from them to pay for unfunded, unproven experiments for a few.
I-1240 doesn’t pay for itself — the new charter school bureaucracy alone will cost taxpayers at least $3 million. Political appointees to an independent state commission must have a pro-charter bias just to get appointed and will not be accountable to voters or elected officials.
Washington voters have already said No to charters schools three times — and for good reason: The most extensive study done so far, conducted by Stanford University, shows that 37 percent of charters perform worse than traditional public schools. I-1240 offers nothing new and would create 40 new school districts, taking funding away from our 295 current school districts.
Private boards selected by corporations rather than publicly elected by citizens will govern charter schools. Voters will lose their right to elect (or unelect) representatives to oversee the spending of their taxes. Your property taxes through a local levy would pay for a charter school in addition to your current schools.
Let’s work toward full funding for all students in all schools rather than be distracted by charter schools that would only serve a limited number of students.
Please join the Washington State PTA, the League of Women Voters of WA, the NAACP and many more education and community organizations across the state in voting “NO” on I-1240.
Catherine Ahl, League of Women Voters of Washington Education Chair