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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William Lay

I am a charter school developer for one of the schools applying to open in SEP 2014.  I believe our school is the one your article is referring that is from Oregon.  There are several facts about our program that you apparently are not aware of.  First our school works only with at risk youth who are failing in their district schools.  Second, because most of our students transition back to their district schools after they have recovered their academic standing, we do not get credit for their improved grades nor for their graduation.  We have been in operation for twenty years and serve seventeen districts over three counties in Oregon.  We have the support and encouragement of the districts we serve because they are aware we will help the students who are currently failing and given them the best opportunity for future success. If you would like to learn more about this very unique program please feel free to contact us.  There is much more to us then is revealed in statistics.

November 8, 2013 at 4:41 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Published Author RR AndersonRegistered

somebody came into the shop and was trying to get us to sign their carter school petition thing.  annoying!

November 9, 2013 at 8:01 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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fred davie

what’s a carter school?

November 9, 2013 at 2:25 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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It’s a school where the curriculum concentrates on how to plant street trees and raise your taxes

November 9, 2013 at 9:27 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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I think it’s the kind of school that was in “Welcome Back, Carter”

November 11, 2013 at 2:05 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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