Letter to the Editor: Lisa Macfarlane - Dec. 12, 2012
The passage of Initiative 1240 is an historic victory for students in our state and across the country. Strong public charter schools are at the core of improving our public education system from coast-to-coast. Washington joins 41 other states in allowing charter schools and is the only state to do so through the initiative process rather than the legislative one. The fact that our voters approved I-1240 in an election with a surge of Democratic voters, after previously turning down three prior charter school ballot measures, is a strong signal that they want more options for students and faster change than what the legislative process has been yielding. I commend The League of Education Voters, Partnership for Learning and Stand for Children for their tireless leadership in supporting this charter school measure from conception through Election Day. Now that I-1240 has passed with a comfortable margin, our coalition efforts are focused on full and faithful implementation of this voter initiative. We will be working hard to ensure that Washington’s charter schools are high quality, and focused on serving low-income and minority children.
While our public school system works well for many students, far too many are also being left behind, unprepared for college or careers. Sadly, some 14,000 kids drop out of Washington’s public schools every year. These new public charter schools will be especially important for students who are not succeeding in traditional school district settings, or who need a different learning environment to reach their full potential. Public charter schools are leading the way to universal improvements in public education around the country. As a longstanding education advocate, I am proud that my home state has finally made the decision to provide additional educational opportunities to our children most in need. Washington’s new charter school law is strong on oversight and accountability and it has received very high marks from the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools, which grades states on the quality of their charter school laws. In states across the country, public charter schools are already working to reduce achievement gaps alongside traditional public schools. The success of our students, our state and our country depends on a world-class public education system, and Initiative 1240 is a big step in the right direction.
Washington state director,
Democrats for Education Reform
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