Two more editorials supporting public charter school solution; the clock is ticking

Add the Olympian and the Yakima Herald-Republic to the list of newspapers recognizing that finding a solution that preserves public charter schools is one of this year’s must-do legislative actions.

The Olympian editorial board calls on lawmakers to save public charter schools

Washington lawmakers have a chance to save charter schools, the educational alternative that appears to be paying dividends for many minority students who struggled in conventional public schools…

Wealthy donors stepped up to assure that nine schools are kept intact this year, if no state funds are available. But charters should be available as a legitimate educational alternative — especially for families and students in poorer households that have been underserved by ordinary public schools — until data show they are not delivering results. So far, results are highly promising.

The editorial board at the Yakima Herald-Republic also points out public charter schools’ success in providing opportunities for students historically underserved by traditional public schools. 

Charter school advocates say minorities make up more than 70 percent of statewide charter school students, almost double the statewide average for all public schools. Almost 70 percent of charter students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. Minorities make up almost 40 percent of charter teachers, more than three times the statewide average. The percentages are highest in the seven Western Washington schools.

Those numbers haven’t been lost on the hundreds of Yakima Valley supporters, many of whom are Latino, who see charters as a tool to bridge the chronic learning gap in Valley schools.

The Legislature should not deny them that opportunity.

This ought to be an easy call: Preserving and expanding educational opportunity should be lawmakers’ highest priority. Voters approved it. And schools are currently operating successfully. With ten days left in the regular session, it’s past time for legislators to come together and ensure the continuation of public charter schools in Washington