Sunday, November 22, 2015

Seattle Schools Community Forum: Guest Post: Rep Gerry Pollet Meets with Charter School Parents and Students

Seattle Schools Community Forum: Guest Post: Rep Gerry Pollet Meets with Charter School Parents and Students:

Guest Post: Rep Gerry Pollet Meets with Charter School Parents and Students






By Representative Gerry Pollet, 46th District:

Thursday offered a “learning moment” for students in charter schools, parents and legislators.

Blue-shirted charter school students and parents came to the state capital to urge that legislators “save” their schools. Ironically, the Supreme Court released its opinion the same day reaffirming its prior unanimous opinion that charter schools were not “common schools” and its majority opinion striking down the entire charter school initiative as unconstitutional.

A group of 8 or 9 Summit Sierra Charter HS 9th graders and two parents were leaving my office as I returned from committee hearings. Although I had a large group waiting for their scheduled appointment with me, I didn’t want to disappoint high school students who had made the trek – and, were eager to tell me about the “unique” learning experience offered by their school.

So, I stopped to engage them. It was a learning moment for me, and I hope for the students as well – as students and I found some pre-established notions challenged by thought provoking questions. There are questions which legislators should be asking – and, they have surprising answers.


First, it’s important to know that Summit Sierra was pitched as a charter school to serve “a diverse group of students and families in South Seattle, with a particular focus on either Southwest or Southeast communities, helping to close the significant demographic achievement gap.(from their own website.)

The political and educational policy pitch for charters, and Summit in particular, is about serving the students in that high need area.

However, I had received numerous emails from constituents in North and NE Seattle (served by excellent, but horribly overcrowded schools, I should note) complaining that their children who had just started attending Summit would be losing their excellent new educational opportunity. Out of the 120 newly enrolled ninth graders at this charter school, pitched as deserving public Seattle Schools Community Forum: Guest Post: Rep Gerry Pollet Meets with Charter School Parents and Students:

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