Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Gov. Inslee Must Assure First Place Scholars Keeps its Charter and Funding

First Place Scholars School is the only charter that proposed to solely focus on the education of poor children. It has for 25 years been located in a Seattle community that voted overwhelmingly democratic and placed Governor Jay Inslee in this highest state office. He must assure education equity for all schools whether district or charter. 

Retaining  First Place Scholars as a Charter School

First Place Scholars School Leader, has lead the FPS Board of Directors, teachers, parents, volunteers, and a diverse community in putting WA's historic first charter school into compliance.  Education Specialists have advised and much work has been done; The special education plan and teacher are in place, safety plans and drills approved, teachers coached, and student social and emotional growth evident. A fund development plan is drafted and is being applied. We are supplementing public funds to bring best practices in educating poor children. The students have taken and are waiting the results of the required Smarter Balance measurement. This will give a baseline for next school year. Supporting Partners have brought experiential education in science, the arts, and technology. Trained Volunteers are mentoring and tutoring and the emotional and social growth of the students is being documented.

Today, WA Charter Commission told the public that they had to get clarity from OSPI to know what they should expect from First Place Scholars. And that means any charter school. Moving the goal post has kept even some of the Commissioners a bit confused. We want Governor Jay Inslee  to do his job and assure that charters are implemented with equity. Revoking a charter because funds are not in place is not equity. He and the legislature have not closed district schools because school funding is not adequate. They are in a second special session working together to figure our school finances. Why would financing be a reason to revoke our charter?

You can cut and paste this into the Governor's online comment form. 

What do we need Governor Jay Inslee to Know?
Gov Inslee, please use your highest in state office to bring equity to the implementation of charter schools. Stop the WA Charter Commission from taking the charter and thus the public funds from the education of students who represent WA's poorest children. You can and must stop this travesty of equal justice. 
  • First Place Scholars has delivered and the WA Charter Commission has accepted all of the compliance issues presented.  
  • The Superintendent of Public Instruction has instructed the Commission on how the Special Education Plan should be presented. Before now, there was no clarity. The teacher is certified.The proof they ask for is merely showing them the certification. This is a new request. 
  • The compensatory part of the plan will be implemented in summer with a contribution to help with this from Catholic Community Services.
  • The U.S. Department of Education had three evaluators on site for two days and found that First Place Scholars met compliance as a start up charter school and released a $200,000.
  • We are asking Governor Inslee to have the Commission to take First Place off of probation and allow them to restore their good name, focus on direct instruction and give the public a chance to see best practices for poor children established within a distinct community. 
We want Governor Inslee to use the power of his office to:
  • Stop any inequity of time in establishing a public charter school.  
  • Convey to the Commission it takes time to establish best practices with any students especially children with challenges, traumas, and special needs. 
  • Let the Commission know that any charter school needs at least two to three years to demonstrate the school can be governed and operated with positive outcomes. 

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