Meeting Minutes from InspireSeattle Social on October 2, 2010

Charter Schools

         What differentiates public charter schools from other public schools?

         Why are some major foundations and the Obama Administration making charters a key element of their education reform initiatives?

         What is the track record of charter schools?

         What is the status of charter schools in Washington State?

Charter schools engender heated emotions, pro and con. Some view them as valuable options for students who need an alternative to their local public school programs and for talented school faculty frustrated with Central Office policies and procedures. Others view them as a slippery slope that could result in financial support of religious schools, exploitation of teachers, or siphoning off money from public schools.

This presentation is intended to help us understand why advocates so passionately support charter schools and why the Department of Education s Race to the Top initiative strongly encourages states to include them in school improvement programs.

InspireSeattle has invited a nationally-recognized expert on school reform Paul T. Hill to explain how charter schools have emerged as a major reform strategy. Dr. Hill is the John and Marguerite Corbally Professor at the University of Washington and Director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education, which studies alternative governance and finance systems for public K-12 education.

Dr. Hill's current work on public elementary and secondary education reform focuses on school choice plans, school accountability, and charter schools. He chaired the National Working Commission on Choice in K-12 Education, which issued its report, School Choice: Doing It the Right Way Makes a Difference, in November 2003. He is the editor of Charter Schools Against the Odds: An Assessment of the Koret Task Force on K-12 Education (Hoover, October 2006).

Dr. Hill works closely with city and state leaders and has written a series of books designed as resources for mayors and community leaders facing the need to transform their urban public school systems, including: Making School Reform Work: New Partnerships for Real Change (Brookings, 2004); Charter Schools and Accountability in Public Education (Brookings, 2002); It Takes A City: Getting Serious About Urban School Reform (Brookings, 2000); and Fixing Urban Schools (Brookings, 1998).

Additional perspectives were provided by:

  • Charlie Mas, the parent of two children in Seattle Public Schools, a student/family advocate and a regular contributor to the Seattle Public Schools community blog �
  • Sid Sidorowicz, Seattle Office for Education (OFE)
  • Jonathan Knapp, vice president of Seattle Education Association (SEA)


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Previous IAN Events


Paul Hill

Charlie Mas

Sid Sidorowicz

Jonathan Knapp


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