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In the late 1800s with the establishment of Washington’s government, the farmers, small-business owners, timber workers and a few small-town lawyers, many from “back east” or from the “old country,” were determined that their children and grandchildren would have the very best public (taxpayer funded) education. They put as the paramount function of their, and now our, state government, building and “amply” funding public schools [“Charter-school lawsuit: unwanted distraction,” Opinion, Aug. 7].

Over the years, Washington’s voters and taxpayers have honored that commitment to children. It is only in the last few years — coincidentally concurrent with the explosion of material wealth for many in our community — that one of our state’s political parties has been taken over by those who work hard to skimp and shortchange school funding, disparage and demean teachers and oppose those political leaders that continue to support public schools.

Why?

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There is still a lot of money supporting public schools. But “for-profit” and so-called nonprofit charter schools, along with the various types of tuition-voucher schemes, are being fostered all over our country. They all siphon money out of our public school systems.

The evidence is widespread: lack of accountability and control by taxpayers, lack of standards, and an involvement of various religious, ethnic and political-advocacy interests, all seeking and getting taxpayer dollars.

Charter schools are the death knell of that vision of the Washington pioneers: amply funded schools for all our children.

Carl Schwartz, Sammamish