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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Surprise! Billionaire Charter Schools Backers Buy Enough Signatures

Posted by on Tue, Jul 3, 2012 at 11:14 AM

A bunch of very rich people who hate democracy have apparently bought enough signatures to put yet another charter schools initiative on the ballot, because at a time when the state Supreme Court has ruled that we are spending billions less on K-12 education than the constitution mandates, our priority in education reform should be to distract the public with FREE MARKET. Or something.

So yeah, backers of Initiative 1241 have informed the Secretary of State's office that they will be dropping off petitions on Friday. Hope they choke on them.

 

Comments (52) RSS

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1
Goldy I am not for this measure but how is this different than you being for a income tax ballot measure which also has been rejected numerous times at the ballot box. ( I would like to see an income tax here in WA, I just don't think you are being consistent.)
Posted by Democrat1234 on July 3, 2012 at 11:23 AM · Report this
2
Sorry if I'm late to the party but interest do these very rich people have in charter schools? Obviously charter schools won't affect wealthy families directly.

Are they hoping to cash in on state spending if the state decides to uphold its educational funding mandate?
Posted by jnonymous on July 3, 2012 at 11:24 AM · Report this
Grrr 3
My brother and I were laughing at how a canvasser was selling the initiative to a table right beside ours on the ferry from Bainbridge Island to Seattle. He was telling these folks that the initiative was "for the kids".

My brother let out a more audible guffaw then me, then we skipped out to the car before things got ugly.
Posted by Grrr on July 3, 2012 at 11:38 AM · Report this
4
@2 yes - there is big money to be made in education. Once the door is opened, the possibilities are endless - curriculum, building rental and management, charter school management organizations, etc. Charter schools are also a great political tool - reward your good buddy with a seat on the charter board so that they can make sure their kids can skip the lottery to get into the charter school, steer money and business to their friends and family, etc.

Charter schools are also a way for rich people to feel good about themselves - they helped those poor kids escape their failing public school! - meanwhile dirtying their hands as little as possible with the actual work of educating children in poverty and other victims of societal woes.
Posted by StuckInUtah on July 3, 2012 at 11:50 AM · Report this
5
charter schools are free market?

1. charters are subject to rules set by the state.
2. use public money.
3. do a lottery to select students.

A free market is willing buyer and seller neither under compulsion or duress. If the charter isn't hand picking it's students, it ain't free market. Rather, it's a charter government school on land with building owned by govt. run by an outside nonprofit subject to government certification and control. it's a different kind of public school.

btw, privatization of school functions can happen in a traditional public school OR a charter school. either one can ...get books made in the private sector, or tests, or janitor services.

that's a different issue.

in sum the money "diversted" to charter school is still educating the public so no net loss of funds to public education dude.

and to answer the above question no bezos and gates are not secretly behind some private company selling charter school mgt. services or something, they're rich guys concerned about the fact that our public schools FAIL for about one third our population we're like 27th in math globally and stuff like that. when we can't even discuss school reform without being labelled corporate privatizers there's something to the notion we need a bit of a shake up, and having 40 charter schools is a pretty mild proposal. they're all over new orleans, and the mayors of dc and ny and newark are in favor -- it's a pretty mainstream ed reform concept.
Posted by magna carta scolaritussomething on July 3, 2012 at 11:53 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 6
So anyone who gets enough signatures for a ballot measure must have purchased each one.

Do you have any proof of this, or are we just going by the Stranger Standard for Journalism?
Posted by Theodore Gorath on July 3, 2012 at 11:57 AM · Report this
7
@5 But those guys and their foundations are smart enough to know that charter schools aren't making huge (if any) dents in our populations math performance.

If they are out to save the youth and the future of America through Ed-reform is opening up a pandora's box and re-inventing the wheel as a panoply of widgets most of which will fail and some of which will match the public school system and perhaps a tiny minority of which will educate our lowest performing students- the smartest way they can think of to do it?

No, I think it must be the money.
Posted by jnonymous on July 3, 2012 at 12:04 PM · Report this
8
#2 my take is that the rich like charter schools for 2 reasons: 1) there is the profit potential (the rich just love love love re-directing public money into their bank accounts. See: Contractors, Defense), and 2. (and this one is the bigger reason by far) they can use it as a way to 'privatize' education and in the process, destroy teachers' unions. By destroying teachers' union they can further weaken one of the few remaining (somewhat) powerful political institutions (unions) that actually support keeping/making our state and country a fairer and less stratified society. In a lot of ways the charter school movement is just one component in the never ending campaign by right wingers to take over and control our economy, our political process and ultimately, our values. IMHO, everything else you hear about charter schools from the right is just noise - with these guys, as with everything they do, it all comes down to power and money. What is best for the community, our children, and for our future is the last thing they care about.
Posted by screed on July 3, 2012 at 12:04 PM · Report this
9
@7

please provide any evidence at all that gates, bezos are supporting charter schools "for the money".

thanks.
Posted by got facts? on July 3, 2012 at 12:06 PM · Report this
10
@8
doubtless some right wingers share the views you suggest they have.

but this doesn't explain gates and bezos nor obama's nor booker's nor bloomberg's nor mitch landruie's support for charter schools. you're ignoring the fact that our schools ARE NOT WORKING for about one third the students, and among the solutions maybe changing how we do schools can play a role, and many of the supporters of charter schools are democrats, liberals, minorities, and others, progressives, and also you fail to note that people can privatize PUBLIC SCHOOLS TOO. as in selling them textbooks or services. painting the charter school movement as simply a trojan horse of right wingers is not a full nor fair description. you think obama and duncan are in it for the money, too? really?
Posted by like, 27th in math on July 3, 2012 at 12:10 PM · Report this
11
It's socialism pure and simple. Private business suckling at the public teat.

If these businesspeople have the solution to all our educational woes, why do they need a government handout? If they're in it for the children they shouldn't need the incentive of profit to do it.
Posted by Bhamjason on July 3, 2012 at 12:20 PM · Report this
wilbur@work 12
every argument made so far helps me to sign and vote in favor of this. Not rich, but no kids, so don't give a rat's ass OTHER than the potential to redirect my tax dollars away from out-of-touch unions.

Thanks to all!
Posted by wilbur@work on July 3, 2012 at 12:24 PM · Report this
13
With all due respect (and I do mean that sincerely), I have a few issues with this.

So when these "very rich people" donate to marriage equality and other issues you approve of, that's their duty to do so. But if they champion another cause, you accuse them of hating democracy. Interesting.

Some things to consider:
1) President Obama supports the expansion of public charter schools.

2) The initiative is not opening the floodgates for charters. It would bring in the best of the best. Saying that most charters don't do any better than traditional schools is a lame talking point - it's like saying that if you take all of the movies ever produced, the average quality of those is average or below average. The intent would be to bring in the best of the best, the ones with a proven track record.

3) There are many unions around the country that support charters. In Minnesota, the state teachers union actually became an authorizer for charters.

4) Under the law, charters couldn't self select - students would be chosen by lottery. A little known fact about WA's much touted "innovation" schools is that there is an application/approval process for many of them, including Aviation High - which, btw, received money from Boeing and the Gates Foundation, "corporate money."

5) Agreed that we need more money in education but voters will not just write a blank check into a failing system, even when the economy recovers. And times haven't always been tough financially for WA schools - and there are many schools here in the state (look at Bridgeport High) that are doing great with less. We need to revamp our education system - we are still mired in 19th century thinking and our graduation rates (among the lowest in the country). Charters is one, tiny way to get the ball moving in the right direction, especially for kids who need the help the most. That's not to say we shouldn't shift our funding priorities to education, but serious changes to the system must happen alongside that increase.

6) So the litmus test for your approval on an initiative getting on the ballot is whether or not they use paid signature gatherers? So liberal groups can't use them either or you will oppose their future initiatives?
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Posted by lillehammer on July 3, 2012 at 12:30 PM · Report this
14
@5 Your neoliberal ideology is bullshit.
1) Charter schools are NOT public schools. They take public funding, but they are NOT public schools. They do not take all kids, and are famous for "counseling out" SPED kids or behavior kids, or kids with low test scores, especially AFTER the state money has come in. They don't have to offer transportation, which conveniently knocks out a particular segment of the population - you know, the poor one? The one that often does not have a vehicle, or if they do, it is frequently broken down because they can't afford to get it fixed, or the one where the parents work multiple jobs and can't drive their kids too and from school like wealthier families. Most charter schools in AZ and UT are "white flight" schools who crow about their test scores while holding up their token Mexican kid to show how diverse they are.

2) Charter schools are hardly innovative. Have you been in any lately? I have. Most often I see the standard teacher student interactions, old curriculum (or questionable curricular materials, like some of the Christian BS in place of science), and lots of rote learning/test prep if they're required to take the state tests). I've seen more innovation in Seattle's alternative schools than I have in any charter school in Utah or Arizona.

3) Unqualified teachers. Many charter school teachers don't have to be certificated teachers - though most have to have a college degree - and states have been slowly knocking down the requirements. One southern state is now about to let HS grads teach in charter schools. That should do wonders for the educational achievement of kids - don't you think?

You say that the charter schools will have to follow the rules set by the state. I ask - who's going to enforce them? More government - unelected charter school board put in place by whoever is in charge, right? Where's the money for that going to come from? Plus this initiative is so poorly written, there are all KINDS of ways to get around the rules.

Charter schools have startup costs - where's that money going to come from? From the K-12 state monies is the logical response - which means they are indeed taking away from the already existing PUBLIC schools - on top of the money they will already be siphoning off per student. Lots of issues there in other states - school districts expected to hand off their levy dollars to the charter schools, etc.

Also, I will add that our public schools fail some students because SOCIETY has failed those kids - public schools are but a reflection of society. Put in the necessary social programs - prenatal care, early learning, high quality childcare and preschool for all, sex-Ed, parenting classes - provide the time needed to see the changes, and then I'd be happy to debate the achievements and failures of public schools. For now, charter schools are just a neoliberal fad, distracting people from the current k-12 issues at hand - we'd be better off addressing those issues head on rather than spreading our resources, attention, and efforts out even more.
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Posted by StuckInUtah on July 3, 2012 at 12:44 PM · Report this
15
#10 as to what Obama stands for, I really don't know. What he says and what he does do not typically line up. Having said that, I really don't think you can call him a liberal or a progressive. More a 'corporatist' than anything else, imho.

Anyway, all the research that I have read (ok, a few articles in liberal publications) indicate that overall, charter schools are no better than public schools in educating kids. The original intent of charter schools was for them to be like laboratories, unfettered by old-school (pardon the pun) thinking, allowing teachers and administrators to try new teaching models and approaches. The best ideas that come out of the charter schools would then be used to improve the public schools. But that idea has been set aside and charter school movement has been hijacked by the right and is used as a way to help destroy 'public' education and turn it into 'private' education which can turn a profit for a corporation, prevent teachers from unionizing, and begin to chip away at the expectation of universally accessible quality education. Right wingers have done it with higher ed by making tuition so high, and they'll do the same to grade and high school education as well. Those vouchers (coming soon!) will no longer cover the full tuition, and enrollment will be limited at the good schools, and eventually only the rich will be able to afford or have access to the good 'charter' schools. And anybody who complains will be derided as a free-loading socialist or otherwise ignored.

A lot of the religious right like charter schools because they see them as a way to use public resources to enable teaching religious dogma to the next generation, i.e. creationism and revisionist, mythological history, etc.
Posted by screed on July 3, 2012 at 12:47 PM · Report this
treacle 16
The signature collector I ran into was saying "Do you want to support better schools?" When I asked if this was about getting charter schools he said it wasn't for or against, but about "letting people choose" or somesuch. Feh!
Posted by treacle on July 3, 2012 at 12:48 PM · Report this
17
@14 - That may be true in other states, but the initiative clearly states they must take all kids AND priority will be given to those charters who focus on at-risk youth:

(iv) Require that public charter schools be free and open to all students just like traditional public schools are, and that students be selected by lottery to ensure fairness if more students apply than a school can accommodate;

(ix) Give priority to opening public charter schools that serve at-risk student populations or students from low-performing public schools.

(2) "At-risk student" means a student who has an academic or economic disadvantage that requires assistance or special services to succeed in educational programs. The term includes, but is not limited to, students who do not meet minimum standards of academic proficiency, students who are at risk of dropping out of high school, students in chronically low-performing schools, students with higher than average disciplinary sanctions, students with lower participation rates in advanced or gifted programs, students who are limited in English proficiency, students who are members of economically disadvantaged families, and students who are identified as having special educational needs.

http://sos.wa.gov/_assets/elections/init…

Different states have different laws that authorize charter schools, and that is why having a well-written one is so important.
Posted by lillehammer on July 3, 2012 at 12:50 PM · Report this
Belly 18
This initiative is backed by several organizations interested in education reform that are trying to improve our K-12 education system. Washington is one of only 9 states without a charter school law in place. Obama is in favor of charter schools and Washington State recently lost a bid for some big federal Race to the Top money because the WEA has not allowed charter schools into the state. Perhaps charter schools aren't the answer to our education problems but maintaining the status quo certainly isn't doing our students any favors.

That being said, I do think our initiative system is stupid and a waste of time and money.
Posted by Belly on July 3, 2012 at 12:51 PM · Report this
19
It's just another way to screw over teachers. If there were a part of Seattle that had more crime, would increase police resources there or would you hire out the policing to untrained cops who couldn't unionize. You would also have a separate organization that hires and pays those police but who would not be subject to election or recall. Next, make that new police organization into a profit making (trust me, coming soon to Washington too) group and make sure that for every dollar added from state funds to this new organization, that one current police officer loses her job funding. How is that going to work?
Posted by Why are there cars? on July 3, 2012 at 1:04 PM · Report this
20
@14 Giving priority is not the same as requiring. Sorry - I've read the initiative - as well as legislation from many other states (the joys of graduate work) and Washington's has just as many loopholes and slithery spots as all the others. This is NOT a well-written initiative.
So Obama is in favor of charter schools - who cares? He hired his good buddy Arne to run the Dept of Ed, that shows how much he knows about education. I'd highly suggest you read the research on Chicago Public Schools - where Arne-boy implemented his same ideology that he has now foisted on the U.S. Funny thing - things got worse instead of better. Race To the Top/Bottom is a crock. It's more ideology, not research-based. That money could have been spent in SO many better ways where research has shown it can make a difference. Talk to Delaware teachers and parents about how glad they are to have RTT money. Sometimes the strings attached to the money make it better to skip. As for the status quo - just because I - or anyone - is against public schools doesn't mean I'm for the status quo. That's the same bullshit argument they tried with naming ESEA No Child Left Behind - because who wants to be against leaving children behind?
However, I want changes that are fundamental, not frosting, and I want them to be thoroughly researched and tested before I subject any child of mine - or anyone else's child for that matter - to them. Charter schools are ideology-based, not research-based, and their results are nothing spectacular - certainly not worth destroying a public school system over.
Posted by StuckInUtah on July 3, 2012 at 1:19 PM · Report this
21
One of the top charter networks is Green Dot Public Schools. Its teachers are unionized. Another network - Rocketship Education - pays its teachers more than those in the LA school district. And like I mentioned before, the Minnesota teachers union has become an authorizer of charters in that state. The NEA approves of charters (with some limitations of course) as does the AFT.

But really, the focus should always be what is best for kids. And if lifting the ban on some of these schools can help some kids next year, then I'm all for it. Teachers will have a choice whether or not to work at these schools, just as they have a choice now whether to work for a public or private school.
Posted by lillehammer on July 3, 2012 at 1:19 PM · Report this
22
@20 - in all seriousness and with all respect, I'd love to hear what specific changes you'd make to education. You seem like you've done your research - in your opinion, what changes would benefit the most kids immediately?
Posted by lillehammer on July 3, 2012 at 1:22 PM · Report this
Catherwood 23
@17 writes "Different states have different laws that authorize charter schools, and that is why having a well-written one is so important."

True THAT, and that's why this horribly-written law is so dangerous. Under this law, any school, ANY school, can be converted to a charter if 50% plus one of the parents, OR teachers, want to. Poof! Sure, it's "targeted" at at-risk students (not well defined), but there's no enforcement outlined. There are a lot of other terrible pieces to this law; I would suggest that interested readers bop over to the save seattle schools blog if they'd like to do some research on it:

Check it out here.

The fact is, charter schools are generally no better or are worse than standard schools, and those few that are better have gamed the system to make it so, either by eliminating challenging students (SpEd, ESL, and so forth), or by spending lots more money than any district could afford on a general basis (KIPP, Harlem Project). The object here is for the tech companies that make testing software, and the "teaching" software that goes with it, to snuffle up to the public trough, and to do away with teacher's unions.

I'm sure that a lot of charter supporters really believe they're better for kids -- not THEIR kids, of course, but, you know, darker-colored, or poorer, kids -- but they're simply wrong. Vote no. Again.
Posted by Catherwood on July 3, 2012 at 1:26 PM · Report this
24
Well, first, wealthy people ALWAYS think they are smarter and know best. So it's all wealthy white people funding this campaign, starting with Bill Gates.

Second, follow the money. There is money to be made in public education. Charters need facilities, management, assessments. Education lobbying has gone up ten-fold in the last ten years. There's money to be made. One the most recent contributors sits on a board of a for-profit assessment company, EduSoft.

@6, the overwhelming majority of these signatures were purchased. I covered many areas and not one signature gatherer I spoke to was a volunteer.

@12, okay how about this before you sign or vote? Embedded in this initiative is the ability for a charter to circulate a petition. If the majority of teachers OR parents sign it, the charter takes over an EXISTING school whether it is failing or not.

There's about 30 teachers in an elementary school. Sixteen of them sign a petition and a neighborhood school goes off-line whether it is failing or not. They take the school, building and all.

That is dangerous and ridiculous and no one should have that power who is not elected.

Want more? Overall charters do no better or WORSE than traditional schools. Only 17% of them do better.

Want more? They serve far fewer Special Ed and ELL students, leaving those high-need, high-cost students to traditional schools. They are heavily segregated and that's why the NAACP is against them.

They WILL NOT bring in the "best of the best". There is a lottery if there are more applications than spots. If the newly created Charter Commission decides (and they are appointed, not elected) to lift the cap on the number of charters, they can. There is no mechanism to make sure that the charters with the proven track record will be selected.

"Give priority to opening public charter schools that serve at-risk student populations or students from low-performing public schools."

Nope, cite the section. It is vague and has absolutely no guarantee to it.

This initiative is NOT modest, reasonable or well-written.

The "status quo" is not what anyone wants. And, in fact, our Legislature passed two new Innovation school laws in the last two years. And, a Lighthouse School law for more STEM schools. And Seattle has one of the strongest teacher assessment contracts in the country. No one is sitting on their hands.

This initiative is not going to help. It is going to cost money at the state level, drain money from schools (including the ability for a charter to demand a closed or for-lease school building at or BELOW market value), it is NOT going to provide better choices and it will introduce the for-profit motive into our schools.

I can say it no better than this: why did the CEO of Netflicks who lives in California just give $100k to this effort? Why is ALL of the money for this effort from wealthy white people who don't have and will never have their children in charters?

Consider that.
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Posted by westello on July 3, 2012 at 1:56 PM · Report this
25
@20 You can't just make changes to education. Public education is a reflection of society. Public schools cannot make up for lack of health care, poor parenting, poverty, etc. You have to start there - it's more of a systems approach, where everything is intertwined.
Pre-natal care, sex-Ed, parenting classes, high-quality childcare and preschool, etc. All of these changes take time, and that's part of the issue. Americans want change in things NOW - hence these shallow changes that don't perpetuate once the driving force is gone.

Once those items were in place, then small class sizes in K-1 -2- as in 12-15 kids (see Tennesee STAR research) and targeted intervention early on (including summer school for remediation AND enrichment, especially important for kids in poor urban areas to develop vocabulary to match experiences).
I would also get rid of this bullshit standardized testing regime that forces all kids to be held to a standard via their grade level, when reality is a kid in 3rd grade might be anywhere from 8-10 years old and who may or may not be able to grasp a concept yet. Not developmentally appropriate. Multiage classrooms have shown better results at teaching to the child, not the grade level content or the test. The current grade model was put into place in the industrial age - factory-driven - as a means to sort the commodity, and it has been perpetuated because it's what most parents/teachers/administrators know.

Magnet schools and the various alternative structures that have been in place before (i.e. Summit k-12, Tacoma's Science and technology magnet McCarver - 1st one in the country) were good for those who wanted parental choice, and also served to help desegregate some public schools, and segregation is an issue that charter schools make worse. Magnet schools are still around, but not to the extent they once were - as with Seattle's choice program, transportation funding was an issue.
As for accountability - the NAEP is still used on a national level and should continue to be used, but emphasis should be on critical thinking, not test-taking (see Finland, Singapore, etc). Teachers need more training and support - more apprenticeship models where a first year teacher shares a classroom with a master teacher for the first year rather than throwing them in on their own to see if they sink or float. Personally, I'd opt for making pre-service teachers major in a content area rather than major in teaching - then have them undergo teacher training for two years after that - but not a lot of research in that area other than in math.

These are just a few items - lots more pieces (tutoring, mentors, apprenticeships for HS), many of which exist successfully in some places and could be modified and replicated to meet the needs in other communities.
I'd suggest you Google Yong Zhao as a good place to start with critiques of our current Race To The Bottom syndrome and note the ironies in what China is trying to do vs what we are doing now.
The late Gerald Bracey did a great job debunking a lot of the falsehoods that are being tossed around - granted he interjected a lot of politics into his writings, but his content and statistics are accurate.
And if you haven't read Diane Ravitch's book, Life and Death of the Great American School System, it's a good one for someone who is nor immersed in the educational-ese that is prevalent in much of the research.
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Posted by StuckInUtah on July 3, 2012 at 2:05 PM · Report this
26
@18 - the PEOPLE of Washington State voted against charters, not the union. Not just once, but 3 times.
Posted by StuckInUtah on July 3, 2012 at 2:12 PM · Report this
27
Thank you, lillehammer, for repeating the lies and misrepresentations offered by the charter school advocates so we could see them and address them here.

"It would bring in the best of the best." There is no reason to believe this. None. What evidence do you have? There is nothing about this written into the text of the initiative. We will get whatever charter schools the charter school authorizers approve. Whether they are good, bad, or indifferent.

"President Obama supports the expansion of public charter schools." Who cares?
"There are many unions around the country that support charters." Who cares?

"Under the law, charters couldn't self select - students would be chosen by lottery." Ah, yes, but the schools can determine which services they offer, so the students can apply and can be chosen and can enroll, but the school doesn't have to serve them, so the students then leave. It works out to be no different from self-selecting.

"Agreed that we need more money in education but voters will not just write a blank check into a failing system, even when the economy recovers." Who said that public education is a failing system? What is your benchmark for success? The performance of charter schools?

"Charters is one, tiny way to get the ball moving in the right direction, especially for kids who need the help the most." Yes. Really tiny. Except that there is no reason to believe that the charters will, in fact, help the students who need the help the most and there is no reason to believe that the charter schools will not also be "mired in 19th century thinking". The overwhelming bulk of charter schools are organized no differently from traditional public schools.

"So the litmus test for your approval on an initiative getting on the ballot is whether or not they use paid signature gatherers?" No, but thank you for putting words in my mouth. The use of paid signature gatherers is just another element of the sale of our political system to the highest bidder.

"priority will be given to those charters who focus on at-risk youth" Really? How will that work? The initiative doesn't say. In fact, the initiative says just the opposite in another place. Charters will be created in the order in which they are approved by the various charter school authorizers. That's how it is going to work. They will no be approved in quality order, or in the order in which they serve "at-risk youth". Nope. It will be first come-first served.

"lifting the ban on some of these schools" There is no ban. If Green Dot or Rocketship or KIPP want to open a school in Washington State they are - right now under the current law - perfectly free to do so. There is no ban.

The truth is that there is nothing that a charter school can do for students that a public school cannot do.

The truth is that charter schools are not public schools because they are not owned by the public - it is the ownership, not the funding, that determines if something is public or private.

The truth is that most charter schools are not innovative at all.

The truth is that twice as many charter schools under-perform public schools than out-perform them.

The truth is that 41 states have charter schools and we haven't heard about any of those states becoming an education paradise.

The truth is that this charter school initiative contains a teacher trigger and a parent trigger that will create chaos wherever they are either used or threatened.

The truth is that there is little or no popular support for charter schools - they are supported by a moneyed elite who are trying to buy an election. Every survey shows that families overwhelmingly support there public school teachers and their public schools.

The truth is that elections are for sale in this state and have been ever since Paul Allen bought the election that approved the new stadium for the Seahawks. Costco bought a new liquor law. Now the Gates Foundation is trying to buy a charter school law. It's a disgusting demonstration of how our democracy has devolved into an oligarchy.

Thank you, lillehammer. None of this conversation would have been possible without your repetition of the lies and misrepresentations that grease this pig of an initiative.
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Posted by Charlie Mas on July 3, 2012 at 2:56 PM · Report this
28
White liberals denying choice to poor blacks. Gotta love the hypocrisy. An how come Goldy sends his daughter to mercer Island high school not his assigned school, Rainier beach? Choice for him but not poor, motivated, involved black parents.
Posted by Goldy, why don't u send your daughter to Rainier? on July 3, 2012 at 3:23 PM · Report this
29
@27 Lillehammer just set up an account today to comment. I'm guessing it's someone working PR for Stand4Children*, Students First*, Alliance4Ed*, or League of Ed Voters*. Toss out the charter school rhetoric, hope no one does any research.

*the names are all misnomers - none of these organizations are truly interested in helping students. Ask them how many teachers are on their boards. Stand For Children/Students First might have a few teachers who accidentally signed on when they had their change.org petitions going.....
http://dianeravitch.net/2012/06/20/chang…
Posted by StuckInUtah on July 3, 2012 at 4:41 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 30
@21- There is no ban on private schools. Charter schools are private schools, and they're not banned.

What is banned is diverting public school funding to private schools. Anyone who is a supporter of democracy understands why that is a good idea. Obama executes American citizens by remote control plane. He supports charter schools.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on July 3, 2012 at 5:12 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 31
@28- My daughter goes to a Seattle Public School. Compared to the district I grew up in, Seattle Public Schools is heaven.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on July 3, 2012 at 5:14 PM · Report this
32
@31 Which one?

My question is clear, Goldy's assigned school is the shit hole known as Rainier Beach yet he happily uses his ability to choose, and sends his angel to Mercer Island. Now he wants to deny his black neighbors a choice.
Posted by Mercer Island Goy on July 3, 2012 at 8:19 PM · Report this
33
Charters have existed in California for over a decade and the Los Angeles Unified School District has now given 20% of its students over. Our law stipulates that any group may open a charter as long as it goes through the legal hurdles to do so.

This is gradually destroying our union as teachers are forced to move to charters that siphon off students. None of the charters are unionized (although a few have begun talking about becoming so), and once a teacher leaves to a charter he/she loses all tenure. The ironic thing is that a lot of misguided, young liberals are leaders in the charter movement, and they are working with conservative corporate interests while not understanding what kind of long term damage they are doing.

Parents say that they are trying to get the best education possible for their kids (and they mean it), but the charters have not demonstrated that they are any better and all indications are that the worst performing schools are the charters that were opened up in the inner city. The only thing that has truly been accomplished is increased segregation and a loss of funding for the remaining public schools (the charters cost more to operate, on average).

Oh yeah, the district averages 12% SpEd and charters are running at 8%.

They are supposedly regulated by the district, but in reality they are not. Why? Well, charter organizations have become the movers and shakers in school board elections as they have thousands of politically active parents. Few of our LAUSD board members are willing to defy the charter groups and have been rubber stamping their re-authorizations for several years.

It's a slow, but tremendously damaging process that's going on, and it's only getting worse over time. Listen to StuckinUtah, that person knows the deal.
More...
Posted by Approaching 40 in LA on July 3, 2012 at 10:19 PM · Report this
watchout5 34
If you want to use your own money to experiment with education you should, but you shouldn't expect the government to pick up the tab for your religious school or the specialized art school you know would be just perfect for your kid that you'd choose with or without government help. I draw the biggest line in the world there. I yelled back at one of the people gathering signatures and said I preferred not to take money out of public education. If you take public money and give it to these corporations they will use it in the least public way they can. I'd like to take a moment to the lady who shouted "no it doesn't" back at me, we still don't even know what exactly is in this bill, anything can be in it and anything will be in it, and if they aren't willing to show me the law they want me to follow I'm going to assume it has many things in it I'm not going to like just like the costco initiative. You take money away from disabled and ESL students and give more privilege to richer people and leave the public schools with the poorest of the poor kids. Nice try with your trojan horse but I'm not buying this for a second, all information will be free forever, quit acting like your special.
Posted by watchout5 http://www.overclockeddrama.com on July 4, 2012 at 3:12 AM · Report this
35
If you could get your kid into a rich man's school district, wouldn't you? Social economic status has more to do with success than anything else. No rich person sends their kids to charters which do a job rarely better and often worse than public schools.

Do some light reading instead of angry growling for a change. BTW, you sound envious.
Posted by northender on July 4, 2012 at 1:03 PM · Report this
36
Whoops! That last post was for the griper who attacked Goldy for sending his kids to Mercer Island.
Posted by northender on July 4, 2012 at 1:05 PM · Report this
37
you could get your kid into a rich man's school district, wouldn't you? "

So if you're white, connected and know how to manipulate the system, you get choice! Poor and black? Well fuck you, you don't get choice, we have to protect the unions!

Is it any wonder most black parents in polls support charters? Why are white liberals like you and Goldy trying to keep these 'uppidty' people in line?
Posted by Mercer Island Goy on July 4, 2012 at 2:54 PM · Report this
38
This is going to be long so it will take a few times to post my response to one of the comments that was posted on Tuesday. The following will also be posted on my blog Seattle Education so if the links are not picked up here, they will be at the blog.

I will take this person's comments one at a time.

I will go through this person's remarks and respond to each comment made:

"President Obama supports the expansion of public charter schools."

President Obama is listening to his Secretary of Education Arne Duncan who as CEO in Chicago started the boom in charter schools as supported by developers who successfully gentrified many of the communities in south Chicago.

Duncan closed schools at the behest of Eli Broad and those wanting to invest in real estate development of minority communities. Those schools were closed and the students needed to be relocated to the schools that were deemed "charter schools".

Unfortunately, as Obama's basketball buddy, Duncan had a tremendous influence on Obama while in Chicago and I attribute Obama's ignorance of what is happening in public education to the fact that he believed he had other areas and issues to focus on as president, leaving the decision making to Duncan and his corporate backers as well as the fact that his daughters went to private schools in Chicago and now in D.C.
Posted by dorainseattle on July 5, 2012 at 11:16 AM · Report this
39
"The initiative is not opening the floodgates for charters. It would bring in the best of the best."

When this person refers to the "best of the best" I will assume that they are judging these charter schools by either test scores or graduation rates. Based on that assumption, one has to consider the fact that charter schools cherry pick and counsel out IEP and ELL students and other students that they deem "low performing". Charter schools do this to maintain state funding which is based on test scores. It's also useful to have those sorts of statistics when promoting their schools.

Also, in the initiative there is a clause that would provide for additional charter schools each year. Per the post that I wrote titled Initiative I-1240: The money and the lies:

First:
Allow a maximum of up to forty public charter schools to be established over a five-year period as independently managed public schools operated only by qualified nonprofit organizations approved by the state;
Then:
Require that there will be annual performance reviews of public charter schools created under this measure, and that the performance of these schools be evaluated to determine whether additional public charter schools should be allowed;

So, with these two statements, the state of Washington is “allowed” a maximum of 40 charter schools over a five-year period but on the other hand, that maximum can be raised. Hmmm.

Also, per the writers own admonition, Obama and Duncan are pressuring states to lift the cap on charter schools and there is no reason why that would not happen in Washington State as well.
Posted by dorainseattle on July 5, 2012 at 11:18 AM · Report this
40

Now for the writer's next point:

Saying that most charters don't do any better than traditional schools is a lame talking point - it's like saying that if you take all of the movies ever produced, the average quality of those is average or below average.

Actually, it is a very good point. Why put public dollars into charter schools, a system that has not proven to be any better and in most cases have had worse results than most public schools?

See: Charter School Performance in Pennsylvania, The Credo Report, Is Choice a Panacea? and REVIEW OF THE LOUISIANA RECOVERY SCHOOL DISTRICT: LESSONS FOR THE BUCKEYE STATE for starters.

Why not instead put the effort into supporting our existing public schools and funding them adequately so that ALL students will succeed?

3) There are many unions around the country that support charters. In Minnesota, the state teachers union actually became an authorizer for charters.

Actually, the teachers' union did not support charter schools but has come to see that teachers have lost their voice in how they believe the curriculum should be approached. This is due to the top-down approach to charter schools and the fact that most charter schools are headed by a "CEO" who has no background in education and yet determines how students should be taught. So they founded a "guild" that will oversee a few charter schools in Minnesota to ensure that the teachers have a voice in how the students are taught. After all, they are the experts.
Posted by dorainseattle on July 5, 2012 at 11:19 AM · Report this
41
4) Under the law, charters couldn't self select - students would be chosen by lottery. A little known fact about WA's much touted "innovation" schools is that there is an application/approval process for many of them, including Aviation High - which, btw, received money from Boeing and the Gates Foundation, "corporate money."

The lottery was put into place as a way to bring attention to a charter school and make it seem that it is sought after. It's a marketing ploy and nothing more.

Our progressive alternative schools and option schools take all students. There is sometimes a waiting list but ultimately all students are able to attend. The application process for "Innovation Schools" is a new one that was set into place by ed reformers during the last legislative session. Aviation High School was not part of that process, it was established many years ago.

Innovation schools unfortunately are set up as charter schools with no school board oversight. Not a good idea. See Is House Bill 1546 a charter schools bill in disguise? and Innovation Schools/Creative Approach Schools and ALEC.

When the Gates Foundation and Boeing provided funding for the school. it did not come with stipulations such as hiring Teach for America, Inc. recruits with 5 weeks of training to teach the classes or no school board oversight, incessant standardized testing, merit pay or a lottery system. Stipulations such as those come with the ed reform movement and are part of the package with charter schools.
Posted by dorainseattle on July 5, 2012 at 11:20 AM · Report this
42
5) Agreed that we need more money in education but voters will not just write a blank check into a failing system, even when the economy recovers. And times haven't always been tough financially for WA schools - and there are many schools here in the state (look at Bridgeport High) that are doing great with less.

The "blank check" scenario is an interesting one. We are not meeting our state mandate of adequately funding our schools. That is no black check, that's our legal obligation. And yes, many schools are struggling to survive and some better than others. That has to do with the teachers and the principals putting more than they ever thought they could in terms of time and energy to ensure that their students get as much as they can during the time spent in school but those schools and other truly do need our support. Ask any principal at any school including the one in Bridgeport.

We need to revamp our education system - we are still mired in 19th century thinking and our graduation rates (among the lowest in the country).

The state of Washington is around number 43 in the country in terms of funding for education and that is reflected in our graduation rates. Also, many of those students are in poverty, something that ed reformers never want to mention or address. Poverty and a lack of social and family stability are factors in why a student does not graduate.

Actually we are not "mired in 19th century thinking". Just go to any option school in Seattle and you will see innovation. Start with Nova High School.

Charters is one, tiny way to get the ball moving in the right direction, especially for kids who need the help the most. That's not to say we shouldn't shift our funding priorities to education, but serious changes to the system must happen alongside that increase.

Unfortunately the term "tiny" does not describe how privatization of schools has taken over entire school districts such as in New Orleans, Chicago and Philadelphia and New York.

And students who need it the most? See Bay Area KIPP schools lose 60% of their students, study confirms and Study Finds High Dropout Rates for Black Males in KIPP Schools.

One of the charter school franchise's that you hear bandied about by ed reformers in our state is KIPP which has a track record for counseling out students who are "low performers". These charter schools might take them in, but they are dropped like hot potatoes unfortunately after a very short period of time.

This also leads to charter school scams where a charter school will take on all students, collect the money from the district to teach them and then counsel them out or expel them. Then the public schools have to take them back with out the financial allotment that is received at the beginning of the school year.

Also, because charter schools do not have to adhere to district regulation, the students and parents have little legal recourse when the student is expelled.

All that I have just stated can be backed with links on the Seattle Education blog, seattleducation2010.wordpress.com, which I will be posting within the hour.

Dora Taylor
More...
Posted by dorainseattle on July 5, 2012 at 11:25 AM · Report this
43
We need to revamp our education system - we are still mired in 19th century thinking and our graduation rates (among the lowest in the country).

The state of Washington is around number 43 in the country in terms of funding for education and that is reflected in our graduation rates. Also, many of those students are in poverty, something that ed reformers never want to mention or address. Poverty and a lack of social and family stability are factors in why a student does not graduate.

Actually we are not "mired in 19th century thinking". Just go to any option school in Seattle and you will see innovation. Start with Nova High School.

Charters is one, tiny way to get the ball moving in the right direction, especially for kids who need the help the most. That's not to say we shouldn't shift our funding priorities to education, but serious changes to the system must happen alongside that increase.

Unfortunately the term "tiny" does not describe how privatization of schools has taken over entire school districts such as in New Orleans, Chicago and Philadelphia and New York.

And students who need it the most? See Bay Area KIPP schools lose 60% of their students, study confirms and
Study Finds High Dropout Rates for Black Males in KIPP Schools.

One of the charter school franchise's that you hear bandied about by ed reformers in our state is KIPP which has a track record for counseling out students who are "low p[erformers". These charter schools might take them in, but they are dropped like hot potatoes unfortunately after a very short period of time.

This also leads to charter school scams where a charter school will take on all students, collect the money from the district to teach them and then counsel them out or expel them. Then the public schools have to take them back with out the financial allotment that is received at the beginning of the school year.

Also, because charter schools do not have to adhere to district regulation, the students and parents have little legal recourse when the student is expelled.

This response with links will be posted within the hour at seattleducation2010.wordpress.com
.
Dora Taylor
More...
Posted by dorainseattle on July 5, 2012 at 11:28 AM · Report this
44
Charters is one, tiny way to get the ball moving in the right direction, especially for kids who need the help the most. That's not to say we shouldn't shift our funding priorities to education, but serious changes to the system must happen alongside that increase.

Unfortunately the term "tiny" does not describe how privatization of schools has taken over entire school districts such as in New Orleans, Chicago and Philadelphia and New York.

And students who need it the most? See Bay Area KIPP schools lose 60% of their students, study confirms and
Study Finds High Dropout Rates for Black Males in KIPP Schools.

One of the charter school franchise's that you hear bandied about by ed reformers in our state is KIPP which has a track record for counseling out students who are "low performers". These charter schools might take them in, but they are dropped like hot potatoes unfortunately after a very short period of time.

This also leads to charter school scams where a charter school will take on all students, collect the money from the district to teach them and then counsel them out or expel them. Then the public schools have to take them back with out the financial allotment that is received at the beginning of the school year.

Also, because charter schools do not have to adhere to district regulation, the students and parents have little legal recourse when the student is expelled.

This response will be posted with links at seattleducation2010.wordpress.com within the hour.

Dora Taylor
Posted by dorainseattle on July 5, 2012 at 11:31 AM · Report this
45
Here is a link to that post, http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com….
Posted by dorainseattle on July 5, 2012 at 12:48 PM · Report this
46
Charter "Schools" are being pushed by a handful of billionaires for the following reasons:

1. These ultra-rich guys think they're smarter than everyone else. And they think they should be the ones in control of our schools---even though none of them have kids attending public schools.

2. Education is sort of the latest "toy" for the very, very rich. They didn't succeed with some of their other plans to change the world, so now they're shooting for a "smaller" goal; the gradual elimination of universal public education, over the next 30 years. Step One was creating public hysteria about the so-called "crisis" in our "broken" schools!!! (Although it was a complete lie; 20% of America's schools ARE bad, but that's because of the very poor communities that surround them. More than 80% of us like the public school we attended or that our parents attended.)

3) There is a TON of money to be made if "charters" make it into our state: "Education" testing companies; "education" consultants; "Specially Trained CEO's" from corporate backgrounds, that cost 3 or 4 times as much as the principal they're replacing; "Education" Training Materials and Software, etc.

And all of these new expenses will come from our already inadequately funded school budgets. And when this happens, the charter operators will attempt to get all of the smarter and harder working kids to sign up with their "New and Better Charter School", which will leave our public schools with less money than ever, with demoralized teachers, and send a message to the kids that remain in public schools that they "weren't smart enough' to go to the "New and Better Charter School", even though, in reality, the charters perform significantly worse, according to a well-known Stanford study regarding charters. (And what's really telling is the people paying for the study, and conducting the research were in favor of charters!)

Charters are a scam. Don't fall for it. Based on what they've done elsewhere, they will RUIN our public schools. Let's stop this scam NOW!
More...
Posted by John Foster on July 5, 2012 at 2:17 PM · Report this
47
Why are these ultra-wealthy guys trying to push charters down our throats?

Especially when NOT one of them sends their own kids to a public school?

And, the elite, private "academies" their children attend could not be more dramatically different from what they're trying to push on we parents and our kids.

The Pro-Charter Billionaires send their kids to schools with very small classes (generally 12 to 18 kids per classroom), lots of physical education, lots of art, lots of music, no standardized testing, and a surplus of everything.

Why are the very, very rich pushing "charters" on the rest of us, and insisting that only the rich can have the type of schools they reserve for their own kids?
Posted by John Foster on July 5, 2012 at 2:23 PM · Report this
48
Wahttp://www.snoed.org/programs/pathway-partnership/
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/lo…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internation…)
http://www.k12.wa.us/InnovativeSchools/D…
http://www.examiner.com/article/seattle-… State has had choice and innovation in its public schools for years.

Posted by Watchwhatyouget on July 6, 2012 at 8:13 AM · Report this
50
dorain, if you're defending the record of the public schools precharter in new orleans, they had a record of decades of failure. same with many schools in the bronx and brooklyn.

the opponents of charter public schools doth protest too much, they're mainly teachers or their allies intent on keeping the lifetime unearned undeserved tenure most teachers have. the system that makes it impossible to hire and fire based on merit.

the system that denies there is merit. the system that can't tell us the answer to the very simple question, "how many teachers were let go in the State of Washington last year not for felonies or sexual assaults or stealing, but for just not being that great of a teacher?" because the answer is NOT ONE THEM, WE HAVE A SYSTEM OF LIFETIME GUARANTEED EMPLOYMENT DESPITE THE ROTTEN PERFORMANCE OF SOME TEACHERS AND WE'RE GOING TO DO ANYTHING TO DEFEND IT.
Posted by why is usa behind? on July 6, 2012 at 10:21 AM · Report this
51
Ok, so I would like to point your attention to the typo contained in this original article.

I filed Initiative 1241: Concerning Public School Keyboard Curriculum

This measure would require that the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard be taught at the 4th Grade Level and every year thereafter. This measure would additionally require that the Sholes/Glidden typewriter configuration, as purchased by the Remington Corporation, be removed from public schools and general standardized testing.

Measure 1240 is The Public Charter Schools thing.

I just put on Policy of Truth by Depeche Mode, got my small coffee refill here at the Park Place Starbucks and still have more to say on this topic.

Dr. August Dvorak and his team at the University of Washington were funded by the Carnegie Foundation ($130,000) in the height of The Great Depression to correct the input of the English Language.

They were funded to improve what is arguably one of the most powerful inventions of the last 200 years, the typewriter. Christopher Latham Sholes and Carlos S. Glidden made possible the input of English and facilitated our evolution, freeing us as a populace of the need of having printing plates created for everything we needed printed.

The real news here is that they succeeded!

They improved it!

They fixed it!

So many people don't even know about this. It's scary. All of our laws are written these days by keyboards. In fact, the power of our people are all based on the English language. There isn't any way around it. Contracts, Laws, Books, Shopping Lists. All of our input is written with what isn't even a word.

"QWERTY". Fall QWERTY. It is not a word. To my knowledge this is the only non-english word taught on school grounds in this state. And they rip on Ebonics. Additionally, this is the only company product that is sold as a standard on the grounds of public schools.

RISE DVORAK! An amazing professor at the University of Washington. The patent of the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard (DSK) is the most modern, efficient, logical, and inspired way of typing.

My most sincere question is this..... Why is there a typewriter configuration on a cell phone?
Have you seen the look on a woman's face when she is disgruntled by a text? What is this saying? What is this? It's like having a block between you and another person, grab that app that switches over to the Dvorak layout on your phone and enjoy typing on that thing. It's faster.

Offering kids in public schools access to the highest form of inputting the English language at the 4th grade level on a keyboard configured as Academia has case studied to be the correct way to do it is of utmost importance. I am not joking.

This isn't personal preference, this isn't a pride issue. For all of us...if you type the way that Christopher Latham Sholes arranged the keyboard please continue, if you must. If you hunt and peck, if you type 120 WPM with that layout, GREAT! (you would probably type 150WPM using the DSK, but oh well).

I can type faster than any auto-complete. I would like every kid in the state of Washington to have this ability. Wouldn't you?

I'm also free from the curse of the wrist pain and the mind mapping that it took to remember where those letters are arbitrarily arranged.

I would like to look at the brain mechanics involved here.

With Sholes/Remington you are using your right brain more due to the fact that your left hand is doing more of the work than your right. The left side of your brain is used for creativity...Now why would you lock that down with a higher workload with a system of rote memorization that is not balanced.

With the DSK the load between your right and left hands is balanced so efficiently that you are actually using your brain correctly.

Look at what the right side of your brain is most used for:

Random
Intuitive
Holistic
Synthesizing
Subjective
Looks at Wholes

Now why would you ever use a cookie cutter solution of rote memorization for this part of your brain (Sholes/Remington)?

Every objection that I have heard is summarized exactly by the use of the LEFT brain, especially the lost, last one....

"Looks at Parts"

Here are some of the more popular statements and objections.

"What about how much this will cost"
"I don't want to learn again"
"There's no way to change, it's too late"
"We don't live in a a democracy"
"It's doomed from the start"
"We probably won't even have keyboards pretty soon"
"We will be able to mentally control the computers"
"This is like the Metric system thing"
"This is like Beta/VHS"
"This is like Esperanto"
"You're Cray"

The DSK is optimization of the input of the English Language!

If you don't see this need, if you don't understand...I don't blame you... I'm putting Landslide by Stevie Nicks on. This song embodies what it felt like for me to make the switch to the DSK while working...feeding my kids with QWERTY.

Probably if this weren't a hometown issue, like the University of Washington, Dvorak, and myself (born at Northwest Hospital) it might not mean so much. This just isn't about me. It's about the Professor August Dvorak and his team at the University of Washington.

It's a lot of research and fact finding. This professor from the University of Washington was AWESOME. His research was also some of the foundation of modern prosthesis.

I will further the legislation to include a province that we have these keyboards manufactured in this country only, possibly for 5 years. Being that English is the Native language of this country it is fitting that we use the most powerful Innovation in the history of mankind to feed our people.

Think about for one moment, that dream, that one where you are back in high school. Think of having to do the entire public education system together. Rodney Dangerfield or Adam Sandler style. Think of it the way it's always been. Let that sink in. Feel it.

Now think of it with the DSK in place at the 4th Grade Level and every year thereafter, so that typing is fun and easy, and integrated within the curriculum, allowing teachers to additionally concentrate on hand writing. Truly mastering the DSK at that level would open up 2 credit years in junior high school and high school for other classes. Arts, Sciences, Languages, Mathematics, Extra-curriculars, Sports, FIELD TRIPS!

It's possible to master the DSK so fast at that age. The keyboard is here to stay.

So Public, Charter, Private, Religious...you all could be offering the DSK to the kids at that age.

I collected signatures and turned them in to the Secretary of State Elections Department in Olympia, I took the registered voter cards that I had collected too.

I'm not one to argue a fact... actually the Sholes/Remington layout is indeed 19th Century thinking. Having been sold on or around March 1, 1873, it is a dead technology. The Dvorak Simplified Keyboard is a 20th century invention being that it was patented in 1936.

Use the DSK <--Print it on the keys, Use the Democracy, Print them both or they both die.

Give the kids in all public schools the competitive advantage of the DSK for the input of the English Language.

Get the Sholes/Remington system out of their faces.

I'm Daniel H. Elliott and this has been another non-paid public service announcement.
I'm available at webacedesign@gmail.com
I'd leave my phone number, but it's off due to non-payment.
Public Education Reform does not pay, on the other hand....I've met more interesting people and made more friends since working on it. I commend that highly. :)
More...
Posted by webacedesign on July 9, 2012 at 11:36 AM · Report this
52
Ok, so I would like to point your attention to the typo contained in this original article.

I filed Initiative 1241: Concerning Public School Keyboard Curriculum

This measure would require that the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard be taught at the 4th Grade Level and every year thereafter. This measure would additionally require that the Sholes/Glidden typewriter configuration, as purchased by the Remington Corporation, be removed from public schools and general standardized testing.

Measure 1240 is The Public Charter Schools thing.

I just put on Policy of Truth by Depeche Mode, got my small coffee refill here at the Park Place Starbucks and still have more to say on this topic.

Dr. August Dvorak and his team at the University of Washington were funded by the Carnegie Foundation ($130,000) in the height of The Great Depression to correct the input of the English Language.

They were funded to improve what is arguably one of the most powerful inventions of the last 200 years, the typewriter. Christopher Latham Sholes and Carlos S. Glidden made possible the input of English and facilitated our evolution, freeing us as a populace of the need of having printing plates created for everything we needed printed.

The real news here is that they succeeded!

They improved it!

They fixed it!

So many people don't even know about this. It's scary. All of our laws are written these days by keyboards. In fact, the power of our people are all based on the English language. There isn't any way around it. Contracts, Laws, Books, Shopping Lists. All of our input is written with what isn't even a word.

"QWERTY". Fall QWERTY. It is not a word. To my knowledge this is the only non-english word taught on school grounds in this state. And they rip on Ebonics. Additionally, this is the only company product that is sold as a standard on the grounds of public schools.

RISE DVORAK! An amazing professor at the University of Washington. The patent of the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard (DSK) is the most modern, efficient, logical, and inspired way of typing.

My most sincere question is this..... Why is there a typewriter configuration on a cell phone?
Have you seen the look on a woman's face when she is disgruntled by a text? What is this saying? What is this? It's like having a block between you and another person, grab that app that switches over to the Dvorak layout on your phone and enjoy typing on that thing. It's faster.

Offering kids in public schools access to the highest form of inputting the English language at the 4th grade level on a keyboard configured as Academia has case studied to be the correct way to do it is of utmost importance. I am not joking.

This isn't personal preference, this isn't a pride issue. For all of us...if you type the way that Christopher Latham Sholes arranged the keyboard please continue, if you must. If you hunt and peck, if you type 120 WPM with that layout, GREAT! (you would probably type 150WPM using the DSK, but oh well).

I can type faster than any auto-complete. I would like every kid in the state of Washington to have this ability. Wouldn't you?

I'm also free from the curse of the wrist pain and the mind mapping that it took to remember where those letters are arbitrarily arranged.

I would like to look at the brain mechanics involved here.

With Sholes/Remington you are using your right brain more due to the fact that your left hand is doing more of the work than your right. The left side of your brain is used for creativity...Now why would you lock that down with a higher workload with a system of rote memorization that is not balanced.

With the DSK the load between your right and left hands is balanced so efficiently that you are actually using your brain correctly.

Look at what the right side of your brain is most used for:

Random
Intuitive
Holistic
Synthesizing
Subjective
Looks at Wholes

Now why would you ever use a cookie cutter solution of rote memorization for this part of your brain (Sholes/Remington)?

Every objection that I have heard is summarized exactly by the use of the LEFT brain, especially the lost, last one....

"Looks at Parts"

Here are some of the more popular statements and objections.

"What about how much this will cost"
"I don't want to learn again"
"There's no way to change, it's too late"
"We don't live in a a democracy"
"It's doomed from the start"
"We probably won't even have keyboards pretty soon"
"We will be able to mentally control the computers"
"This is like the Metric system thing"
"This is like Beta/VHS"
"This is like Esperanto"
"You're Cray"

The DSK is optimization of the input of the English Language!

If you don't see this need, if you don't understand...I don't blame you... I'm putting Landslide by Stevie Nicks on. This song embodies what it felt like for me to make the switch to the DSK while working...feeding my kids with QWERTY.

Probably if this weren't a hometown issue, like the University of Washington, Dvorak, and myself (born at Northwest Hospital) it might not mean so much. This just isn't about me. It's about the Professor August Dvorak and his team at the University of Washington.

It's a lot of research and fact finding. This professor from the University of Washington was AWESOME. His research was also some of the foundation of modern prosthesis.

I will further the legislation to include a province that we have these keyboards manufactured in this country only, possibly for 5 years. Being that English is the Native language of this country it is fitting that we use the most powerful Innovation in the history of mankind to feed our people.

Think about for one moment, that dream, that one where you are back in high school. Think of having to do the entire public education system together. Rodney Dangerfield or Adam Sandler style. Think of it the way it's always been. Let that sink in. Feel it.

Now think of it with the DSK in place at the 4th Grade Level and every year thereafter, so that typing is fun and easy, and integrated within the curriculum, allowing teachers to additionally concentrate on hand writing. Truly mastering the DSK at that level would open up 2 credit years in junior high school and high school for other classes. Arts, Sciences, Languages, Mathematics, Extra-curriculars, Sports, FIELD TRIPS!

It's possible to master the DSK so fast at that age. The keyboard is here to stay.

So Public, Charter, Private, Religious...you all could be offering the DSK to the kids at that age.

I collected signatures and turned them in to the Secretary of State Elections Department in Olympia, I took the registered voter cards that I had collected too.

I'm not one to argue a fact... actually the Sholes/Remington layout is indeed 19th Century thinking. Having been sold on or around March 1, 1873, it is a dead technology. The Dvorak Simplified Keyboard is a 20th century invention being that it was patented in 1936.

Use the DSK <--Print it on the keys, Use the Democracy, Print them both or they both die.

Give the kids in all public schools the competitive advantage of the DSK for the input of the English Language.

Get the Sholes/Remington system out of their faces.

I'm Daniel H. Elliott and this has been another non-paid public service announcement.
I'm available at webacedesign@gmail.com
I'd leave my phone number, but it's off due to non-payment.
Public Education Reform does not pay, on the other hand....I've met more interesting people and made more friends since working on it. I commend that highly. :)
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Posted by webacedesign on July 9, 2012 at 11:37 AM · Report this

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