Press Editorial

September 25, 2012

By Staff

No need here for charter schools

Once again, Washington voters are being asked whether charter schools should be allowed here, as they are in 41 other states.

From some perspectives, a charter school run by a nonprofit organization with a goal of better education might make sense. But from the Issaquah perspective, charter schools are not needed. Test scores are among the highest in the state and 21 Issaquah School District students were recently named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists.

Supporters see charter schools as an alternative to a system seen as failing. The Issaquah district already strives to offer innovative curriculum for those students who need and desire more challenging classes. Witness the International Baccalaureate program at Skyline High School, the science-technology program for third graders, the Night Academy for students needing to make up failed high school classes and the Humanities Plus program for highly capable middle school students.

Some opportunities come in partnership with the Issaquah Schools Foundation. Consider the expansion of the Robotics Club to all middle and high schools to encourage future engineers and scientists, the VOICE Mentor program that matches community volunteers with students, and the after-school homework labs.

That doesn’t mean Issaquah schools can’t do better. Parents as a whole are outspoken here and demand continued evaluation of curriculum. And parents already step up with large contributions to the schools foundation to ensure that new learning tools are available in a district run on a shoestring.

We are especially concerned that a local charter school would take resources away from the district. State funding per student would be diverted to the charter school. New expenses could also be imposed on the district, but the proposed initiative does not provide extra state funds.

Many private schools have sprung up in the Issaquah area in recent years. Those schools already provide alternative educational options, without the use of taxpayer dollars.

Publicly funded private schools are not needed here. Vote no on Initiative 1240.

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6 Responses to “Press Editorial”

  1. Smoley on September 26th, 2012 5:10 pm

    >>Many private schools have sprung up in the Issaquah area in recent years. Those schools already provide alternative educational options, without the use of taxpayer dollars.<<

    So if I want to send my kids to a private school, why am I still forced to pay for your kids to attend the public schools? Give me my tax dollars back in the form of a voucher and let me choose which schools (public/charter/private) are best for my kids.

    I support CHOICE in education and will vote YES on I-1240.

  2. Barbara de Michele on September 27th, 2012 4:50 pm

    You should continue to pay taxes to send other kids to public schools because you want a functioning society, with educated police officers, firefighters, engineers, waitresses, bankers and, someday, nursing home attendants. Ninety percent of American kids are educated by public schools. You say you want choice, but there are already many options within the public school system. If none of those work, you have the option of going to a private school system outside of state regulations. If that doesn’t work you can homeschool your kids. Just don’t ask taxpayers to pony up the money for every “choice” you want to make. Initiative 1240 would turn over Washington State schools to non-profit and for-profit corporations headquartered in other states, and provide virtually no oversight for their performance or standards. You wouldn’t throw money into a pit. Why would you turn over your tax dollars to charter schools that don’t even promise to educate students to the minimum standards now required by the state? Read the initiative. It is an incredible attempt to rip schools away from local control and oversight and puts nothing in its place.

  3. Smoley on September 28th, 2012 5:14 pm

    @Barbara de Michele

    You’re either terribly misinformed or deliberately spreading misinformation in an attempt to persuade people to vote against I-1240.

    I have difficulty seeing how anyone could be against a public charter school that must adhere to the requirements listed below other than a WEA union hack.

    From the text of I-1240 (copied from

    (n) This initiative will:

    (i) Allow a maximum of up to forty public charter schools to be established over a five-year period as independently managed public schools operated only by qualified nonprofit organizations approved by the state;

    (ii) Require that teachers in public charter schools be held to the same certification requirements as teachers in other public schools;

    (iii) Require that there will be annual performance reviews of public charter schools created under this measure, and that the performance of these schools be evaluated to determine whether additional public charter schools should be allowed;

    (iv) Require that public charter schools be free and open to all students just like traditional public schools are, and that students be selected by lottery to ensure fairness if more students apply than a school can accommodate;

    (v) Require that public charter schools be subject to the same academic standards as existing public schools;

    (vi) Require public charter schools to be authorized and overseen by a state charter school commission, or by a local school board;

    (vii) Require that public charter schools receive funding based on student enrollment just like existing public schools;

    (viii) Allow public charter schools to be free from many regulations so that they have more flexibility to set curriculum and budgets, hire and fire teachers and staff, and offer more customized learning experiences for students; and

    (ix) Give priority to opening public charter schools that serve at-risk student populations or students from low-performing public schools.

    This is a good initiative for both parents and kids all across the State of Washington and I’m all for it. I’ll be voting YES! on I-1240.

  4. Brian Emanuels on September 29th, 2012 3:31 pm

    This is an incredibly elitist and selfish perspective. Kids in Issaquah may not need public charter schools, but there are certainly kids in Seattle who do, and Yakima, Tacoma, Spokane, and the Tri-cities. Perhaps parents in Issaquah who aren’t being well-served by traditional public schools can afford to send their kids to private schools, but what about those throughout Washington who can’t, and presently have no option but a failing local public school? Don’t they deserve the same opportunity to send their kids to a public school that can give them a fighting chance in life? And won’t all our public schools benefit from having a few new schools trying new approaches and pushing them to innovate and adopt the best practices they discover? My answers are yes, Yes, and YES on I-1240.

  5. Smoley on October 1st, 2012 9:14 am

    Here! Here! Brian.

    The Issaquah Press seemingly has no problems endorsing a ban on single-use plastic shopping bags in this community because of the greater good it would do outside of Issaquah, but for something like the creation of charter schools they can’t see beyond the city’s borders!

    This is a state-wide initiative and while we likely would not need a charter school here in Issaquah, there are certainly other communities that could benefit.

    YES ON I-1240!

  6. Sally on October 16th, 2012 12:44 am

    Barbara de Michele is a former hard working, well respected member of the Issaquah School Bd of Directors. For those of you throwing darts her way, I would encourage you, no, challenge you to research charter schools with critical thinking skills. It sounds good, but is it really? This is a preview of privatizing and ask yourselves who has been financing the efforts and the drive to do this? And where does he live and why is he doing this Find out for yourselves. And look closely at statistics. Do you always believe the spin?

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