Initiatives' intent constructive, effect destructive
On Nov. 5, voters will consider Initiatives 173 and 177. These initiatives reflect a desire to improve public education through competition and choice in school and educational opportunities.
However, while their intent may be constructive, their effect will be destructive to public education. There is nothing written in either of these two initiatives which ensures a focus on basic education, high standards, safe schools, or parental involvement. Rather than improving public education, these initiatives would direct money away from a system which is already underfunded.
As your elected school board representative, I can assure you that any reduction in funding of public education will negatively impact our ability to deliver a basic education and will seriously jeopardize our long-term efforts at raising educational standards.
Locally elected governing boards currently provide oversight to the public education system and ensure appropriate and responsible expenditures of taxpayer money. The policies of each district reflect the values and priorities of that community as well as conform to statewide educational standards for improving student achievement.
I-173 directs taxpayer money to be used to pay for private education. I do not have any children in public schools and neither do approximately 70% of the taxpayers in this state. I strenuously object to my tax dollars being used in private institutions which are not held accountable to the taxpaying public for how funds are spent and are exempt from state educational performance standards.
I-177 establishes independent public schools (IPS). Again, there are no provisions included in this legislation to ensure accountability for how public tax dollars are spent. As in I-173, publicly elected boards are not required, open meetings are not required, and state and local education performance standards do not need to be followed. In short, there would be little public control over who was teaching or what was being taught.
I strongly urge you to vote against Initiative 173 and Initiative 177. The entire text of both initiatives is found in the Washington State Voters Pamphlet. Read them and consider your vote carefully.
Jean Fowler, Woodinville