Letter: Study charter schools initiative



In a June 3 editorial, “Time to try charter schools,” The Columbian endorsed the effort for Initiative 1240. Read it before the November election.

The initiative will free teachers and principals from “burdensome regulations.” Nowhere does the initiative indicate what those are. Could it be that charter schools can ignore any regulation that their employees believe to be “burdensome?”

The initiative adds “charter school” to the section of law authorizing “common schools” of the state. Nowhere in the initiative does it provide money to establish such schools.

The initiative sets up a bureaucracy to approve and govern charter schools. A “Charter School Commission” is made up of nine members appointed by politicians in Olympia. They are unelected and unaccountable to the voters of the state.

The initiative creates “authorizers” who recommend charter school contracts to the commission, or to a local school board anywhere in the state. “Authorizers” from Seattle could organize charter schools in Clark County, and the commission could approve without any input by voters in the school district or the county.

We remember the promises of the “private liquor” initiative: lower prices, free enterprise, and more competition. Do voters want another initiative that restructures public schools in Washington state? Voters need to study the issue carefully.

Hugh Shuford