Monday, October 22, 2012

The Status Quo hurts Poor, Black and Brown Students

In Support of I-1240 - Public Charter Schools

Eliminating One Status Quo
I put my name and the trust many have in me behind public charter schools. I have supported alternatives to traditional education for many years. After all my B.A. Degree is from Evergreen State College, my Masters in Education was obtained at Antioch University and my Ph.D was honorarily conferred in Nairobi Kenya by the Institute for Cultural Reconnection. All are non traditional but excellent higher education choices.

I have learned many things along the way to being an Elder. (Elders are not just old, they are also learned and wise in the ways that the people need them to be. They care about the entire village, and when entering a place they traditionally ask "How are the children."  Our poor, black and brown children are not as well educationally as they should and could be. 

After 25 years of paying close attention to public education, doing research on parent and community involvement, and raising three children in Seattle, I know that the status quo has not allow African American, Hispanic, Native American, immigrant, and poor children to attain an eduction that brings equity.

Policy makers do not listen to solutions that come from within the communities of these children, they do not listen to teachers, parents education specialists. This is a reality that makes public charters attractive as a choice.  

The Other Status Quo
If I-1240 is passes public funds will follow students whose parents enroll them into a public charter school. And we know there will be many who will be immediately interested in our children. It is called follow the money. 

In about 1991, just before launching my first campaign to become a WA State Representative, a blue ribbon panel was selected to establish school reform. This Blue Ribbon Panel was comprised of those who represented corporate interests. Kerry Killinger, the CEO of the now failed Washington Mutual Bank was the Chair.

The Governor, sent a message to parents gathered from all over the region that parents would not be placed on the commission and would be polled later. Since that time more than 20 years ago, much has occurred. Most significantly, there has been a substantial growth in private school enrollment and in the achievement gap between privileged and low income school age children. And this gap has created an new economy we call the "failure industry."  The many well paying jobs allows many to earn the tuition that keeps their children out of public schools or pay for academic enhancements.

This is a status quo that voting in public charters will correct, in fact if not monitored it will only grow and charters will be just another out for those who are most capable of competing for limited but good choices for their children.