Readers of this blog are reporting on what is happening in their state, and the extent to which corporate reform has intruded into the schools. The toxic combination, when in full flower, consists of legislation to ban collective bargaining, so that there is no group strong enough to fight against budget cuts and anti-teacher legislation; of anti-teacher legislation and of legislation that allows for-profit corporations and privatization.

Washington State has been a holdout. Voters have three times rejected referenda to permit privately managed charter schools, despite the fact that the Gates Foundation is based in Seattle. Last fall, the state’s PTA came out in favor of charters, which may or may not have anything to do with the receipt of a generous grant from you-know-who.

Parents and teachers in Washington State have been working together to defend their public schools against privatizers. The Seattle chapter of Parents Across America is vigilant. Keep your eye on them.

Here is a report from that state:

I live in Washington State near Seattle, otherwise known as Gates’ Town USA. I teach in a high poverty Title I public school.Voters have successfully defeated Gates’ AstroTurf and ALEC funded legislation to promote charter schools in 3 different elections. However, they continue to try to beat voters down and recently our State PTA to promote legislation that would allow charter schools here for the first time.One of the reasons we have been so successful in fighting back charter schools is: Washington State has over 500 TRUE “innovative public schools” – no voucher programs and FAKE “public charters”, but REAL public charters without lotteries, selection, or culling of students by race, class, or ability like most charter schools across the country do.Seattle’s Parents Across America and teachers won big when we got the Broad former Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson fired. (Unfortunately, Broadie Goodloe-Johnson has moved on to do more edDeFormer work in Michigan.)Seattle’s School District lost a battle in keeping Teach For America out of Seattle School District after Goodloe-Johnson’s replacement, Dr. Susan Enfield and others backing them let the camel’s nose of TFA under the tent.

Now something smells rotten in Renton after a week ago when the district sent out a press release saying they would NOT contract with TFA, but now this week a new press release stating the opposite on the DAY of the school board meeting, leaving Renton Education Association and parents with their hands tied.

Will teachers and Parents Across America learn to work together to fight back charter schools and Teach For America this time, before it’s too late?

We have a huge gubernatorial race in front of us that the whole nation will be watching, one that will have HUGE implications for education. GOP Rob McKenna is backed by Karl Rove, for one. Democrat Jay Inslee is running behind in his campaign funding.

Washington voters proved recently they could be bought by Costco’s big $22 million investment in liquor privatization. Will Washington unions organize in time or will we be the next Wisconsin?

But another reader warns that the corporate reformers are at the door:

Here in Washington State, we are trying to fight a charter school invasion supported by the rich people, Stand for Children, TFA, Alliance 4 Ed, the TFA alum and current dean of the College of education at UW Tom Stritikus, etc. FOIA releases of emails have shown that some of the rich players like Jon Bridge of Ben Bridge jewelers and all of the Ed deform groups have been “guiding” school board members and the Seattle interim supe – totally unethical and against rules. One email even has Jon Bridge saying that what the teachers think doesn’t matter. Some WA State legislators like Rueven Carlyle and Sharon Tomiko-Santos are all drinking the charter Kool-aid and taking “donations” from the Ed deform groups. If initiative 1240 goes through and the GOP gov candidate McKenna is elected, then Louisiana’s story will soon become Washington State’s story.

And a third reader sees danger signs:

Towards the end of our most recent legislative session, a couple of education reform bills passed. One takes away the rights of teacher unions to bargain for their health care. Another bill changes the way Washington teachers will be evaluated. School districts must evaluate teachers using one of four different frameworks stipulated by the state. Also, I think student growth measures (i.e. test scores) must also now be part of a teacher’s evaluation. I believe teacher evaluations and student growth measures will play a part in layoffs, devaluing teacher seniority. All this legislation is at the stage in which the law is being transferred to policy language that must be followed so we will see how it all comes out soon. Out last legislative session was crazy, with bills being dropped at the last minute and legislators voting on bills they hadn’t even read and I don’t think we will really know what happened for a couple of months, but I fear it’s not good news for teachers and kids.