Do you agree with the state funding of charter schools?

Jeremy Stroming

Yes.

There’s no denying it; the current education system in Washington has problems. One in four Washington students fail to graduate on time and more than half of those entering community or technical schools needing remedial classes in math and English. Something needs to be done, and charter schools can contribute to solving the problem.

These schools (which are sponsored by non-profit, non-religious organizations) are specifically designed to serve students in impoverished or at risk areas. Since the schools are free from many state education requirements, they can tailor their curriculum to better serve students. Programs like KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) extend school hours and increase rigor to invigorate struggling students. KIPP schools (87% low income families) quickly turn around almost all their students to the point that they match, if not exceed the graduation rate and test scores of their peers attending public schools. Teachers can adapt to their students, free from the restriction of union requirements. Additionally, students interested in pursuing a specific career can apply to a school that specializes in that career path.

While opponents are afraid that these charter schools will hog funding that would otherwise go to public schools, it is important to remember that it is all part of the same education system. The money will always be devoted toward the goal of a better education for all Washington students. While charter schools probably won’t be the panacea for all of our education problems in low income areas, they are a place were different learning strategies can—after thoughtful planning—be employed. Successful approaches through charter schools can be put in place across the state to improve our education system.