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Charter Schools

A Teacher’s Take on Charter Schools in Washington State

Tacoma teacher Nate Bowling, who teaches in a traditional public school and is “agnostic” on charters, nevertheless laments the Washington Supreme Court’s decision finding charter schools in violation of the state constitution. He also wonders why the national outrage over the decision is not matched by outrage over under-funding of schools.
There are no winners when adults behave poorly over issues that impact children: It is tough to watch people you respect and care about behave like children and I must say I was disappointed with the reactions I saw to the charter verdict. Celebrating the (potential) closing of a school is (never) a good look. Nevertheless, I saw substantial spiking of the football from “adults” whose social media bios proclaim them as “champions of education.” I found the celebrations and “we won” posts that erupted to be very problematic. Closing schools, or throwing schools into uncertainty harms children. Period. I found it especially ironic that many of the same people who were “hashtagging it up” in support of schools in Chicago, late this summer, found cause for celebration in the possibility that charters would be shuttered here in Washington. On the other hand, I found the response from many charter advocates to also be upsetting. The save our schools posts and demands for a special legislative session went out immediately. Many came from people who have been dead silent about the crippling underfunding of public schools here in Washington State (a situation that has contributed to the ongoing strike in Seattle and a contempt of court charge—and $100,000 daily fine—against the State Legislature).
Nate Bowling
Nate Bowling is a high school government teacher in Tacoma, Washington, who was named the 2016 Washington State Teacher of the Year and a finalist for National Teacher of the Year. He is also a recipient of the 2014 Milken National Teaching Award and founding member of Teachers United. In August 2017, he came together with more than 40 other African-American parents, students and teachers to talk ...

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