-- LaDonna Sterling, Richland
No I do not support charter schools because they are simply a new system for charter chains to profit from a symptom of a larger "illness" in our state, which is a lack of dedicated, targeted, adequate funding for our existing public schools.
The charter chains say they can do more with my hard-earned taxpayer money, but I'm not so sure that a politically appointed board residing somewhere else would know anything about the needs of kids in our area. The charter chains don't exactly say how they can save money running the schools, but I'll bet it has something to do with hiring inexperienced teachers with no guarantees of adequate salaries or benefits, and a "fire-at-will" contract.
Graduates of our public schools in Washington have consistently outscored other states on SAT tests, so I know we must be doing something very well in our public schools. A Stanford study of charters show that only 17 percent of them do any better than public schools, but a whopping 83 percent do about the same or worse than public schools. That doesn't sound like good bet with my money, and I don't believe we should be gambling with our children's futures.
Charter chains say "41 other states have charters," but that simply reminds me of the story about lemmings running off a cliff.
I support the public education reform efforts being piloted all across our state, as there is always room for improving our schools, but it cannot be done with charter chains supported by the Koch brothers and ALEC, and the idea that all we need to do is compete with each other. True reform in education needs to continue to be driven by education experts, not by testing companies out for a profit. Public education should be supported by a belief that all schools and all kids deserve a great education, not just those that can afford it, or are chosen by a lottery.