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Oppose Charter Schools! A poor choice is no choice!


It is fiscally and ethically irresponsible for this bill to make it to law! Charter schools are private entities, why should they be afforded an income upon which no other non-profit agency can rely? The Charter School issue has been defeated twice in referenda by the voters of Washington State, the people have spoken, and the government needs to listen.

Currently, Washington faces a budget crisis that affects not one mere portion of state government but all state government. For the past two years, all agencies have had to cut employment and services effecting all citizens in this State. Where is the money to fund this project? Where is the accountability to taxpayers, families, and the children to be educated? Many claims to assisting the urban poor have been made, yet the rural poor are once again ignored. If I am to start a firm, a construction agency, will DOT fund my company? I think not. If I start a wildlife refuge, will Fish and Wildlife pay my bills? I think not. They would not fund it because these agencies are strapped for funding; they WILL NOT give me the bulk of my operating costs. If I start a school, why then should the department of education fund my enterprise out of the same funding that is dedicated to school districts. I ask, who is to benefit? The children? The non-profit agencies, or will it perhaps be the management companies brought in to run the schools? Companies that have not hidden their interest in this bill! Companies and individuals associated with the educational management firms have given thousands of dollars to promote this very bill. If public funding to private business starts in education, where else will subsidies be enacted? If we keep on this path soon it will look a lot like communism!

Creating this new system will not serve those most in need of services. In fact, many important services may be deleted, not through discrimination but through lack of availability. For example: if an entire school district chose to become charter school only, many families would lose the special services because there will be no legal mandate to provide those services. Those who represent Charter Schools have presented nothing that proves these enterprises any different from public schools and specialized programs currently in existence. Educational choice is available through private schools, alternative learning programs, and home based instruction. The accountability stressed by the proponents of this bill shows no great potential for higher achievement or responsibility on the part of Charter Schools. The means of proving education is being achieved by the same standardized testing ALREADY CONDUCTED through the current system, there is no radical change! Charter Schools CLAIM they are different, yet in all the literature submitted to the public there is no real evidence if they operate above and beyond traditional public schools. In fact, evidence shows that in the best cases they perform no differently than the alternative learning programs, which we have in Washington. We must also ask ourselves if keeping children in a classroom 9 hours a day 6 days a week ethical? That is what has been showcased to the Senate Education Committee. Do we really want corporate America raising our children?

Home- Educators Deliver Toys to Harborview

Camano Island, WA ~December 24, 2002Washington Natural Learning Association representatives gathered at Seattles Harborview Medical Center Monday, December 23 2002 to deliver donated gifts for the young patients at Harborview this season. In addition, gifts will be going to the childrens clinic in Harborview, which severs many impoverished children. WNLA, Washingtons fast-growing statewide homeschool advocacy group, began its "Holiday Heart" toy drive just a short four weeks ago. While the drive is the brainchild of WNLA Executive Director, Bec Thomas, she credits the drives success to the dozens of families who choose to home-educate. "Home-education families care about their communities. We felt this was a great way to help bring healing and cheer to some children in a rough spot this holiday season," Thomas said. Also participating was Stanwood-Camano Community Resource Center, Maple Valley Homeschool support group, Busy Bee Christian Homeschoolers, and Learning by Living both of Marysville.

WNLAs mission is to support both new and veteran home-educating families in the course of their childs education. In addition, WNLA exists to protect current Washington State home education law, to create better networking and understanding of one another, and build bridges with our communities. WNLA can be contacted at http://wnla.tripod.com

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Camano Island, WA ~December 18, 2002: The day after Thanksgiving, Jonas, a bright-eyed, seven-year old homeschooler remarked to his father, "This is the Season of Giving, Dad. And my buddies and I want to give to kids who are in need of buddies this year!"

Such is the feeling of a group of homeschooling families, members of the Washington Natural Learning Association. Representatives of WNLA plan to gather at Seattles Harborview Medical Center Monday, December 23rd at 11:30am to deliver donated gifts for the young patients of Harborviews pediatric wing. WNLA, Washingtons fast-growing statewide homeschool advocacy group, began its "Holiday Heart" toy drive just a short four weeks ago. While the drive is the brainchild of WNLA Executive Director, Bec Thomas, she credits the drives success to the dozens of homeschool students whose families are WNLA members. Also participating was Stanwood-Camano Community Resource Center, Busy Bee Christian Homeschoolers, Learning by Living and Maple Valley Homeschool support group.

"Our homeschool families canvassed neighbors, family, and friends, requesting donations for this worthy cause," Thomas said. "Local merchants generously donated gifts, as well."

Sara, a nine-year old homeschooler and active participant in the toy drive, beamed when asked her thoughts of collecting toys, books and games for hospitalized kids. "Id be really sad," she said, "to be in the hospital at Christmas because I wouldnt be part of what my family was doing at home and in my town. I think Id really like somebody to think of me in nice ways." Sara continued, "I hope that our presents help the sick children know that they are loved."

WNLA is Washingtons fast-growing homeschool advocacy association. Their mission is to support both new and veteran home schooling families in the course of their childs education.

In addition, WNLA exists to protect current Washington State home education law; to create better networking and understanding of one another; and to actively engage legislators, public policy makers, parents and the taxpaying public in development of even stronger legislation to enhance the right to homeschool.

Acknowledgement of parents fundamental right to home educate is essential to everyones future.

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November 24, 2002

Homeschoolers Hearts + Hospitalized Kids = "Holiday Heart" Toy Drive

Today, the states fast-growing home education advocacy organization, Washington Natural Learning Association (WNLA) kicked off the first of its annual "Holiday Heart" toy drive. The toy drive benefits young patients at local area hospitals including Harborview Medical Center.

"Holiday Heart" is brainchild of Bec Thomas, WNLAs Executive Director. "While most families are preparing for the holidays, some sit by their children's hospital beds worried and in need of hope," said Thomas. "These families deserve support from their community. Parents and kids alike need to know they have friends in the community who care very much about them." Thomas added that WNLA members aim to ensure these families a brighter, happier holiday.

According to WNLAs Director of Charitable Activities, Melanie Boten, people are invited to donate new, unwrapped toys, books, childrens video tapes, games - items children of various ages can use while bedridden or confined to pediatric centers. WNLA will accept donated toys until December 16th and will deliver the toys to area hospitals December 23rd.

Donations can be dropped off at the Stanwood-Camano Community Resource Center. The center is located at 9620 271st Street NW, Stanwood. Or donations can be mailed to the S-C Community Resource Center at PO Box 935 Stanwood, WA 98292.

"Its important to our members that our home-education association reaches out to those in need in our community," says WNLA Director, Laurie Wheeler. "WNLAs member-families plan to make this and other kinds of humanitarian outreach frequent events throughout the year. It is especially important to us that our children learn the value of community and being responsible, well informed citizens."

Joining the Washington Natural Association on "Holiday Heart" are the Stanwood-Camano Community Resource Center, Busy Bee Christian Homeschoolers, the Learning by Living and Maple Valley Homeschool support groups.

More information on Holiday Heart, on home-education and on Washington Natural Learners Association can be found on the organizations website: http://wnla.tripod.com or by emailing WNLA executive director, Bec Thomas at bthomas@kendra.com.