Better late than never
There’s reason for (cautious) optimism that one of the most obstinate holdouts against school choice may finally be coming around. Washington State’s PTA recently added support of charter schools to its agenda, giving reform advocates an invaluable ally in the marathon struggle to bring charters to the Evergreen State. Having the parents on board, sadly, does not guarantee that students in Seattle and Spokane will enjoy the opportunity to choose from a vibrant array of public education options. Washington is the most populous and intransigent of the nine states that still prohibit charter schools, having resisted attempts at reform for nearing two decades. The unions used the state’s initiative process to defeat pushes for charter schools in 1996 and 2004, the latter time rejecting a bill supported by both the legislature and governor. Still, the growth of organizations in the region committed to changing the status quo (Gates anyone?), combined with pressures for cost-effective solutions during a budget crunch, may give the charters the momentum they need. Parent Teacher Associations have often been leery of charters—perhaps a function of “T” overly influencing “P”—so it’s doubly heartening to see a PTA stepping up for school choice in a state where it’s needed most.
“Washington PTA wants charter schools reconsidered,” by Donna Gordon Blankinship, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 20, 2011.
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