-- INGE SAENZ, West Richland
I don't see the need for charter schools. It looks like a duplication of services to me. I just read the whole law. Nowhere did I see anything that suggested teachers would have any more flexibility in the classroom. There is nothing specific in the law as written. It looks like they want to segregate kids with developmental disabilities from the 'mainstream;' I think we would be in violation of the Disabilities Act if we tried that. The law also includes the 'highly capable.' We have already started a STEM school out here as part of the current school districts (Richland, Pasco, Kennewick). If we wanted another specialized school, we could create one. We have a school district (Pasco) with a huge percentage of ESL and school lunch eligible kids. They already have programs in place for these kids, too. However, the residents there have not passed levies to build new schools (except the new high school). The law does talk about using our same levy monies to support charter schools, too. Those residents may never approve a levy with charter schools included.
We already have alternative high schools in the area for kids who are at risk of dropping out. I see no additional benefits of charter schools. Maybe the reason we don't have them in Washington is because our school systems are really good. I think this law is a duplication of services and a waste of taxpayer money.