Charter Schools

Former Charter Opponent Now Campaigns for Alternative Schools

Experience, and Obama's endorsement, changed her mind

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Sixteen years ago, in another chilly October, parent and school-levy volunteer Lisa Macfarlane managed a phone bank for the anti-charter-school campaign.

Back then, Macfarlane believed charters — the privately run, publicly funded schools that were cropping up in many states — would weaken the public school system she was working hard to strengthen.

Every night for about a month, she rounded up a roomful of volunteers to call voters to persuade them to keep charter schools out of Washington.

Charters, she said, "felt like an attack on public schools."

Yet this October, as the state's fourth charter-school campaign heats up, Macfarlane, in a complete reversal, is working hard to bring charters here. President Obama's support of charters made her re-examine her own views a few years ago, she said, and she's decided her stance on charters was all wrong.