Zeal, fire, and passion are not words commonly equated with politics in the state House. However, this week’s vote to restore funding for charter schools meets the criteria. Dozens of lawmakers got to their feet to speak their mind in an emotional debate that lasted nearly two and a half hours.
One of those who rose to support passage of the bill was Rep. Maureen Walsh, R-Walla Walla, who brought not just passion but intelligence to the fore as she quoted statistics in order to support claims that charters cater to at-risk kids. Walsh noted that 2/3 of students who attend charter schools in the state are from low income families. Further, more than 70 percent of those enrolled are students of color. And Walsh also noted that 39 percent of charter teachers are also people of color. Just 13 percent of educators in traditional schools can say the same.
“What are we afraid of?” said Walsh as she addressed lawmakers in the House. “Let’s get these kids to the finish line.”
The bill passed 58-39.
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