This article describes Initiative 1240 in detail. It states that Initiative 1240 will be voted for or against on the November 6, 2012 in the whole state of Washington. It goes further to explain that the charter recommends the establishing of forty public charter schools in the state, eight schools per year, over the next five fiscal years. These schools are supposed to be public schools that operate independently. This means that these schools will not be under the supervision of local school districts. It shows views from the opposition, support team and the media as well. The support team main argument in this article is that the initiative has not been on the ballot for eight years. This is considered to be a long time for a public policy not to be voted for. The opposition believes that the initiative is flawed because it does not adhere to the constitution’s stipulations. According to them, this is demonstrated by the fact that the superintendent of public instruction will have the duty of constituting or decommissioning a public charter school.
The media explores both points of view, pointing out that charter schools are not fundamental in achieving reforms in the education sector, but then again points out that the willingness to introduce charter schools shows the willingness and open mindedness of the education leaders in an effort to achieve good results from the education sector. The media go further and point out that any state that is willing to oppose such an idea for change shows that it is comfortable with their under achieving education system. This article can sway one to support the initiative, but on the other hand, this initiative does go around the constitution. This will make it hard to hold the charters accountable for faults they may commit, especially financial discrepancies. (http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Washington_Charter_School_Initiative,_Initiative_1240_(2012)
This article has a description of the estimated costs for the state and local government to be a total of $3, 090, 700 over five fiscal years. The assumptions made by the agency are as follows over the five fiscal years: $970, 300 for operational costs and staff support for the nine-member commission, $815, 000 to support the appointed board, $764, 400 for the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction for the additional staff and operational costs, $461, 000 for the charter school employees that are assumed to have representation and bargain. There is also a one-time cost that is assumed to be required in fiscal year 2013 of $80, 000 for seeking federal tax status determination. This money is supposed to be collected from tax payers and deducted from the money assigned to K-12 public schools in the budget. This article clearly shows the high expenditure that will be directed at charter schools if Initiative Measure No. 1240 is approved. It is important to note that the existing K-12 public schools are underfunded. They do not have enough funds to cater for the needs they currently have. It is therefore unreasonable to take from them a fraction of their funds.
This is an article that campaigns for voting against Initiative Measure 1240. It argues from the financial and results aspect of this initiative. It views charter schools as poor investments for Washington. The arguments listed include: The public charter schools are not a tested and proven efficient means of improving educational achievement in the state. It will also lead to losses of funding normally directed to districts public schools. Additionally, it will increase the spending on education at the state level for administrative work. This will take money from existing classrooms. It also takes note that all of the above mentioned costs will be incurred by tax payers in Washington. I support this vies as it is very clear that money required to pay for all these expenditures come from taxes in the state. Additionally, the tax funds available to run existing K-12 public schools are not enough.
This article shows the benefits and disadvantages of Initiative 1240. The pros, according to this article include the following. The charter schools provide public school choice options for families in the state. This will enable them to choose the best options suited for their children. These charter schools can also act as practical tests of new reform policies. Successful practices that can be identified in these schools can be adopted in other public schools. They will also introduce competition and motivation for better results in public schools. If charter schools will not perform, their contracts will not be renewed. The cons listed include the following. Charter schools will provide an option to a limited number of students as forty is a small number for the whole state. This does not follow the principles of equity and fairness. The New American Schools and Core Knowledge is an existing successful reform model. It should be first tried in public schools before looking for other education models. The charter schools do not adhere to certain regulations and also have access to other sources of revenue public schools do not have. This is a disadvantage to the public schools as they do not have access to these resources. They also cannot pressure the whole K-12 public school system as they have a limited scope. The last concern is that charter schools are not accountable to regulations that normally ensure accountability in the public education system.
In my opinion, the cons outweigh the cons. If the education leaders want to fill the achievement gap, they should adapt models that have already proven to be successful. Optionally, they can fund the existing K-12 public schools to enable them to cater for special students’ needs. From my point of view, charter schools will not solve the existing problems in the education system; on the contrary, it will create more problems.