About

The broad coalition of concerned public school parents and activists who opposed Initiative 1240 are alarmed by the potential privatization of our state’s public schools by private charter school management companies, for-profit education service providers, and the small group of  wealthy corporate backers who paid to put I-1240 on our state’s ballot, outspending the grassroots No on I-1240 effort by as much as 10-1.

According to Stanford University’s 2009 CREDO study, the most comprehensive peer reviewed study of charter schools to date, as many as 83 percent of charters perform no better – or perform worse – than regular public schools. Why should we sell out our public schools to private interests for only a 1 in 5 chance of a better outcome for only a few students?

As the extremely close election results demonstrate, skepticism about charter schools remains high in Washington State, as does a deep, democratic commitment to keeping our public schools truly public, free of corporate and political influences, agendas and whims, and open to every child, with fair resources and opportunity for all.

The data and true democratic principles do not support charter schools as defined by I-1240.

Nor do we.

CONTACT US AT: charterwatchwashington@yahoo.com (please note updated address)

2 Responses to “About”

  1. Concerned Parent November 17, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    “As the extremely close election results demonstrate, skepticism about charter schools remains high in Washington State…”

    Yes. But actually it’s far beyond “skepticism”. It’s called rejection.

    And, no offense but your data is incorrect: They outspent their opponents by 17 to 1. That’s right. I only wish it were a misprint.

    It’s stunning to realize how overwhelming an advantage 1240 had. And still they could only manage a statewide tie.

    When the obsessed privatizers and the small elite supporting them HAVE TO literally slide the filing papers under the door, 15 minutes before midnight; when they HAVE TO pay over $6 dollars per signature to purchase ballot access; when they HAVE TO rush this before voters in a year opposition resources are focused on the race for president, governor, senator and two “high profile” ballot initiatives; when they HAVE TO make a bunch of slick, mendacious ads, all of which made this look like a “nice”, “modest”, thing to “try out” on behalf of our kids—especially indigent, underprivileged minorities—and then plaster them all over the TV and the Internet—you can’t call the election totals “skepticism”.

    No wonder they’re trying to rush this along, acting as though they just won by unanimous acclamation, hoping to shroud the fact that this was one of the closest elections in history.

    And then, they had to keep on going back to the “bottomless pit of money” from which they could build a literally record-setting 17 to 1 spending advantage. Seventeen To One! That’s not double the resources of their opponents: It’s double times eight!

    It’s shameful. It’s the stuff of Banana Republics and “democracies” run by guys in mirrored sunglasses.

    Why would anyone want their good name to be associated with this naked power play to seize control of public education?

    This isn’t the stuff of historical legacy. It’s an indelible stain on the increasingly dubious legacy of a once revered billionaire brand.

    And it underscores one thing clearly: If the playing field was still heavily tilted towards the Privatizers—but say by just a mere 10 to 1—Initiative 1240 would have lost decisively.

    And it will—next time around, when our citizens have the time to focus on the details of this deceptive and destructive initiative. Stay tuned. Details to follow. And rest assured that it’s coming.

    Now, it’s our turn.

    • smp December 7, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

      Thanks, Concerned Parent, you’re right. The “Yes” campaign did outspend the No campaign by a significant ratio of 17 to 1. (Nearly $11 million versus $627,036)

      According to the Public Disclosure Commission
      (http://www.pdc.wa.gov/qviewreports/statewideballotinitatives.aspx),
      here are the reported expenditures:

      NO ON 1240 (reports)
      1240 A $29,975.70 (raised) $23,033.36 (spent)

      PEOPLE FOR OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS (reports)
      1240 A $697,167.20 (raised) $604,002.63 (spent)

      YES ON 1240 WA COALITION FOR PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOLS (reports)
      1240 F $10,928,910 (raised) $10,801,100 (spent)

      Note that the No campaign was comprised mostly of parents and community members. The humble $30,000 it raised was truly a grassroots effort, and puts the lie to the claim by some in the media that only the teachers union opposed the initiative.

      PPS is the group that had backing from the teachers’ union. But it still puts the lie to the frequent claim of the corporate ed reformers that the teachers’ union has and uses major resources. They were far outspent by the individual millionaires who funded the Yes campaign.

      And yet, the vote was extremely close: 50.7 – 49.3%

      “Last updated on 11/27/2012 4:55 PM
      Initiative Measure No. 1240 Concerns creation of a public charter school system
      County Results & Map

      Measure Vote Vote %
      Yes 1,525,807 50.69%
      No 1,484,125 49.31%
      Total Votes 3,009,932 100%”

      (source: http://vote.wa.gov/results/current/Initiative-Measure-No-1240-Concerns-creation-of-a-public-charter-school-system.html)

      I-1240 failed in King County, home to the state’s largest school district (Seattle): 48.4 – 51.6.

      Yes
      Votes
      442,195
      Percent
      48.41
      No
      Votes
      471,316
      Percent
      51.59

      (source: http://your2.kingcounty.gov/elections/2012nov-general/results/measures/statewide/i1240.aspx)

      Clearly if there had been a level playing field financially which would have allowed both sides to advertise and explain their positions equally, or if the media had done a respectable job of fully analyzing and elucidating the contents of I-1240 to voters before the election, there is every indication the vote would have gone the other way.

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