Time to Try Charter Schools
Efforts are under way to place an initiative on the Nov. 6 ballot that would ask voters to allow 40 public charter schools around the state in five years. Supporters have until July 6 to gather almost 250,000 signatures. It's a worthwhile effort and a modest proposal, a mere foot in the door in Washington, one of just eight states that do not have charter schools.Before explaining why this is a good idea, we will first point out that this is precisely why the initiative process is important in our state. The Columbian believes the premier function of initiatives is not necessarily to change laws but more effectively to force action after the Legislature has refused to act. A good example is the statewide ban on indoor smoking in public places. After legislators continually neglected this issue, the people took the matter upon themselves. The result was Initiative 901, which passed in 2005 by 63.2 percent of voters statewide (65.6 percent in Clark County).
Posted by Jim Zellmer at June 7, 2012 1:34 AM
We'd like to see the same public mandate expressed about charter schools. The concept has reached its time in Washington. Charter schools are much easier than public schools to open or close, and they have shown varying degrees of success around the country. Charter schools are run independent of public school districts. Each is governed by a multiyear performance contract that requires improvements in student performance.
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