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A state that just says ‘no’ to modern school reform

Quietly marching to its own drummer, Washington State has mostly turned its back on the education reform movement that is sweeping much of the rest of the country, says Melissa Westbrook, a public education activist and co-writer of the Seattle Schools Community Forum blog, based in Seattle, for the Washington Post. Washington is one of nine states that does not have a charter school law. Our state has defeated charter laws three times at the ballot box — two were citizen initiatives and one was a referendum to repeal a charter law passed by our legislature. In between those votes, five more bills were introduced and rejected in our Legislature. In this year’s legislative session, a new charter bill was introduced. This bill included the ability to create charter schools, takeover of failing schools by the state and a parent/teacher trigger. Among those testifying against the bill was the head of the Washington State School Directors’ Association, Mary Fertakis, who said, “Let the people decide if this is the right time and the right tool to best serve our students.”

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