Sunday, April 05, 2015

Calling In The Specialists To Save Washington's First Charter School

The words used recently by the Washington Charter Commission in the most recent article is revoke.  This of course infers closure of the school. It is very important for the public, parents, and community to know that only the First Place Board of Directors can make that decision and as Board President, I speak for a board that will not step away from doing what has been done for 25 years. Our Mission is to educate poor children. We will fight to the finish to assure that we keep the charter our children deserve to have as much as any in this state. They are the children the charter was voted to educate; brown, black, poor, those that traditional publics wring their hands over.

The WA Charter Commission erred terribly when they signed a contract with the former FPSCS Board and delivered prematurely to Washington the first charter school. It was a school that was not given the same time that others are enjoying to build their dream school. This created a take over of the school by the community it serves and a new board and School leader was hired to establish the structures and systems usual to a school, charter, traditional public or private. Since November as a volunteer and December 9, 2014 as our newly hired School Leader and Executive Director she has lead the arduous task of saving First Place Scholars Charter School. She has been a School Superintendent, a principal and a Director of a national organization focused on very poor children. She came out of retirement from a 30 year career. She has been good not only for FPSCS but for the Commission's Executive Director. As was told in one article, The Charter Commission is learning on First Place Scholars. A statement I resent. The people of Washington did not vote in charters for adults to learn on the backs and dimes of poor children. It is an arrogant statement and that is what power and privilege produces, arrogance.

There has been a well strategized communication plan from the Commission and its advisors that covers over what they did in granting prematurely the charter for a school not yet ready to be delivers. Now they speak of pulling the plug. Well that is not going to happen without some clear truth telling and giving the public a chance to hear our side of the story. To have told it too early would have caused an even more punitive correction plan and the one in place is brutal. But we hired the right person to do this work and the assembled a courageous and knowledgeable board of directors able to govern the school to where it should have been in September.

The community called in the specialists and we are doing a grand job of putting things right first for our students and then to save the charter movement from a black eye. pun intended.

Read next blog entry to see what we are doing to straighten out the mess the Commission made in granting a charter before a school was ready. 

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