Choice, Merit Pay on Ballot in Washington, Idaho
A spot-on editorial in the WSJ earlier this week. Kudos to DFER’s Lisa Macfarlane for leading the charge there:
School Reform on the Ballot
Unions try to block choice and merit pay in Washington and Idaho.
The education reform movement has been gaining speed across the country, and a pair of important ballot initiatives next week in Washington and Idaho will either extend or retard that progress.
Evergreen State voters will decide on Initiative 1240, which would allow up to 40 charter schools over a five-year period. A mere 40 charters sounds very modest in a state with 2,345 public schools. But Washington is one of only nine states that has no charter schools, and three times—in 1996, 2000 and 2004—the Washington Education Association and its union allies have used their dues money and scare tactics to defeat charter initiatives.
The losers have been Washington students, about one in four of whom fails to graduate from high school in four years. That puts the state 37th in the nation for high school completion. Fewer than half of fourth and eighth graders were proficient on national reading and math tests in 2011.