Jay Inslee is the governor of Washington and a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Despite being an opponent of charter schools, Inslee failed to take decisive action as Governor when he had the opportunity to veto legislation that would have stopped the spread of charters in the state. However, his platform states he will halt federal funding to charter schools.
Direct Campaign Contributions
Jay Inslee’s 2016 reelection committee received $12,000 in contributions from Washington education reformer Nick Hanauer and his family members.
He did not receive direct contributions from other prominent Washington education reform donors or any national donors.
PACs making independent expenditures on behalf of Jay Inslee did not receive significant contributions from prominent education reformers.
When running for office Inslee said that charters “would dilute resources needed by a school system already facing plenty of demands.”
Inslee declined to call a special session to create a legal pathway for charter schools to remain open saying “I opposed the initiative that created charter schools because I did not believe that public money belongs in schools that lack public oversight and accountability. That remains my position.”
When a bill came to his desk that changed the funding mechanism for charters in the state, helping them stay open after the state’s Supreme Court had ruled the original funding mechanism unconstitutional, Inslee refused to sign or veto the bill. “Despite my deep reservations about the weakness of the taxpayer accountability provisions, I will not close schools,” Inslee said. He had a chance to be courageous. He did not take it. Now charters have spread in the state and receive public funding.
Inslee’s education platform calls for: “Ending the diversion of federal funds towards new private charter schools, and requiring both improvements in accountability as well as transparency, and expanded priorities for racial and economic diversity at existing charter schools through changes to the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP).”
Inslee met with then Education Secretary Arne Duncan in an attempt to extend the state’s NCLB waiver without forcing districts to evaluate teachers based on test scores. Duncan was clear that the state HAD to use student test scores in teacher evaluations or lose 40 million in federal funding.
Inslee and the state schools Superintendent proposed a bill that required districts to use student scores in evaluations that would become null and void if the feds failed to extend the waiver.
The Washington legislature failed to pass a bill, and the state lost its waiver.
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