Letters to the Editor

Let’s focus on fixing what we have

Do you know the truth behind Charter Schools and Initiative 1240? This initiative seeks to make charter schools legal in Washington state. A charter school is a “public” school that is funded by tax dollars but is run privately. These schools can take our tax dollars but are not accountable to the taxpayer. Who is pushing this initiative? Amazon, Netflix and Microsoft — for-profit corporations who see a way to make more money for themselves. Don’t be fooled into thinking their number-one priority is educating our children.

I have been a public school teacher for 15 years. Every school I have worked for has been a school dedicated to educating all children. A true public school takes everyone and makes room for all. A charter school takes public money but does not educate all students. Special education students are not offered a place in charter schools due to cost and potential legal ramifications. Students who do “qualify” will then be entered into a lottery since there is a limited amount of space in these schools. The majority of our children will not even be able to attend. This initiative asks to take money from our current system and give it to institutions that can pick and choose who they educate. How is that public education?

Charter schools will drain $100 million per year from our existing public schools. This will mean a loss of extracurricular activities, electives, teachers and services for our kids. This means more crowded classrooms with fewer resources. Washington state already ranks number four in the nation for most crowded classrooms. If this initiative successfully passes in November, it will result in a divided system that hurts many in order to potentially help a few. Most of our children will not even have access to these schools, but they will pay the price for them.

Instead of exacerbating the problem by taking away more funding to create charter schools, we should focus on our existing public schools. Charter schools have a track record of performing at the same level as public schools, if not worse. Let’s focus on restoring funding to the schools that are open to all. Let’s focus on fixing what we have instead of adding to the problem by introducing an unproven element that will cost us more than just our money.

Join me in voting no on Initiative 1240.

 

April Billiter

Oak Harbor

 

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