Governor signs collaborative schools bill into law

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- Beginning next fall, a handful of struggling Washington state public elementary schools will become teacher training laboratories modeled after medical residency programs.

Gov. Chris Gregoire last week vowed to veto a proposal to allow charter schools into Washington state. At a Monday bill-signing ceremony, she pointed to these so-called collaborative schools as a more promising alternative.

The measure she signed will allow school districts to partner with colleges of education to select up to six elementary schools to begin operating as collaborative schools in the fall of 2013. The project is slated to last five years.

Schools in over a dozen cities including Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston use a similar model. Proponents say they give added attention to struggling students while providing new teachers valuable on-the-job training.