At Partnership for Learning, we believe that the state must drive schools and districts to achieve high levels of science technology, engineering and math (STEM) course completion and dramatically accelerate the achievement of low-income and minority students. All students — not just the top 5 or 10 percent — must gain deep knowledge and strong skills in science and math to have the tools to not only succeed in postsecondary education and the workforce, but also to ensure that the state has a strong technical workforce, and a competitive economy.
To help all students graduate with strong math and science skills, the state must also increase the capacity of schools and districts to improve STEM instruction; continue with implementation of the Common Core State Standards and assessments; increase the math and science credit graduation requirements; and hold all schools and districts to high STEM accountability standards.
In November 2012, voters passed the Washington Public Charter Schools Initiative 1240, which allows up to 40 public charter schools in Washington state over a five-year period. Partnership for Learning is a lead member of the Washington Coalition for Public Charter Schools, which placed the initiative on the ballot and is working to support effective implementation of high-quality charter schools. These charter schools will serve at-risk students and those who attend persistently low-performing schools.
Before I-1240 became law on Dec. 6, 2012, Washington was one of just nine states not to have charter schools. The initiative calls for the formation of the Washington State Charter School Commission, which will be comprised of three appointees each from the Office of Governor, state House of Representatives and the state Senate. The commission’s role is to review applications, authorize and hold accountable quality public charter schools that meet the intent and purpose of the law.
In October 2012, Partnership for Learning released a report, titled “Examining Charters: How Public Charter Schools Can Work in Washington State”. The report covers how high-quality charter schools can be implemented and succeed in Washington. Partnership for Learning and its coalition members will work with the state and school districts to ensure families and students have high-quality charter schools in Washington.