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Charter Schools Are Coming, For Better of For Worse…
The process of charter school authorization is moving along in Tacoma, as it is in the rest of Washington State. Nearly two dozen charter school operators met the October 22 deadline for submitting a letter of intent to apply to operate schools in Washington. Those schools have until November 22 to submit their applications to the state, which will decide who gets to operate here by February 24. If all goes according to plan, those that are approved could begin teaching students in Washington by fall of 2014.
There's a lot of passion in the conversation around charter schools, and quite a few studies with at times conflicting findings that get thrown back and forth. One recent KUOW analysis of some of the data available looks at the track records in other states of some of the organizations that will be applying in Washington state. Their findings, though mixed, don't look all that good.
A half dozen of those that operate in other states fail to consistently meet standards in those states, including one, which is ranked consistently in the bottom 5% academically for schools in Oregon, and an Ohio-based school, which consistently receives an "F" rating from that state's department of education.
Some of the charter schools do better overall with their students, but fail to make adequate progress with some of the groups that need the most help: Latino students, socio-economically disadvantaged students, and English learners. When charter schools do exceed traditional schools around them, they tend to have lower percentages of low-income students than their surrounding communities.
For what it's worth, that's one study (read/hear more from KUOW).
If you have questions or opinions, you might want to check out one of a couple of upcoming charter school info sessions being hosted at Bates Technical College next week by the Washington Charter Schools Association to discuss community needs and answer questions about charter schools.
Wednesday, November 13, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. (Light dinner)
Bates Technical College Auditorium
1101 S. Yakima Ave
Tacoma, WA 98405
Note: Location may change
Saturday, November 16, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (Breakfast)
Bates Technical College South Campus
2201 S. 78th Street
Tacoma, WA 98409
What do you think? Are you considering sending your kids to a charter school when they come to Tacoma? What do you find most compelling or concerning about the idea of charter schools?
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