Category: Fat Paragraph

Will Washington State Let Adult Politics Shutter Gap-Closing Schools?

Friends, in January I had the great fortune of visiting a high school in Seattle that shares the AMAZING personalized learning platform being piloted by my younger son’s school here in Minneapolis. Those of you who know me In Real Life, in internet parlance, know that this move has changed both my boy’s life and mine in a revolutionary way.
 
When I was in Washington visiting schools I met tons of kids whose families could not get special education services from their neighborhood schools, sometimes despite tremendous wealth and willingness to advocate full time. Summit Sierra is changing their fortunes the way Venture Academy has changed mine.
 
Except…. last week the Washington House of Reps failed to advance a bill that would have resolved the funding issue that the state’s very politicized supreme court declared unconstitutional last fall. (No, it did not declare charters unconstitutional, just the tapping of a particular pot of money.) This despite caravan after caravan of students making the trek to ask lawmakers for a reprieve.
 
I watched their testimony in the Senate. It moved policymakers and gallery-sitters to tears. The House apparently not so much. The legislature adjourns sine die March 11. Which leaves little time for the cavalry to find a new solution.
 
Washington, as nationally recognized researcher Robin Lake pointed out in a commentary on the sorry mess, may thus have the dubious distinction of becoming the first state to close schools that are closing gaps for its poorest, most disenfranchised learners.
You can find Lake’s commentary here. There’s a link to my feature embedded it in. If you want to cut to the chase you can find my story here.