Better late than never

There’s reason for (cautious) optimism that one
of the most obstinate holdouts against school choice may finally be coming
around. Washington State’s PTA recently added support of charter schools to its agenda,
giving reform advocates an invaluable ally in the marathon struggle to bring
charters to the Evergreen State. Having the parents on board, sadly, does not
guarantee that students in Seattle and Spokane will enjoy the opportunity to
choose from a vibrant array of public education options. Washington is the most
populous and intransigent of the nine states that still prohibit charter
schools, having resisted attempts at reform for nearing two decades. The unions
used the state’s initiative process to defeat pushes for charter schools in
1996 and 2004, the latter time rejecting a bill supported by both the
legislature and governor. Still, the growth of organizations in the region
committed to changing the status quo (Gates anyone?), combined with pressures for
cost-effective solutions during a budget crunch, may give the charters the
momentum they need. Parent Teacher Associations have often been leery of
charters—perhaps a function of “T” overly influencing “P”—so it’s doubly
heartening to see a PTA stepping up for school choice in a state where it’s needed
most.

Washington
PTA wants charter schools reconsidered
,” by Donna Gordon Blankinship, Seattle
Post-Intelligencer
, October 20, 2011.

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