In a move many expected, a lawsuit was filed last week to block the new public charter school law passed by the Legislature earlier this year.
The lawsuit—filed by the Washington Education Association, school administrators, union groups, and others— alleges the new law contains the same constitutional flaws that caused the Supreme Court to strike down the original law passed by ballot initiative in 2012.
The Washington State Charter School Association called the lawsuit “an intimidation tactic designed to preserve a broken status quo and scare our teachers, families and students.”
This week, editorial boards in all parts of the state have come out in unanimous opposition to the lawsuit:
Seattle Times: Charter-schools lawsuit is another unwanted distraction
“The public should, of course, continue to keep a close eye on these new public schools to make sure they are spending state money well. But charter schools need time to show what they can do for Washington kids.
“Another lawsuit is an unwelcome distraction from the real education work that must be accomplished during the next legislative session.”
Spokesman Review: Charter school lawsuit is disappointing
“Washington state has struggled to close the achievement gap between disadvantaged students and the rest. Charters are heavily populated with minority and low-income students. At Spokane International Academy, which is in Hillyard, end-of-year tests showed dramatic improvement in reading, with 91 percent of kindergarten and first-grade students reading above grade level, up from 58 percent at the beginning of the school year.
“It’s disappointing that positive outcomes are irrelevant to the opponents of charter schools.”
The Columbian: Schools Suit a Distraction
“The bottom line is that voters have expressed a desire to give charter schools a chance in Washington, as more than 40 other states have done. Charter schools — and the students they serve — deserve an opportunity to grow and thrive as a reasonable alternative to traditional schools … Students, parents, administrators and, yes, even teachers in Washington would be better served if the focus remained on funding K-12 education while allowing the charter-school experiment to play out on its own.”
Walla Walla Union Bulletin: Effort to undercut charter schools is unnecessary
“Washington state and its education establishment need to get with the times. Rather than wasting effort and money fighting against charter schools, the teachers union could more proactively involve itself improving education efforts — including charter schools.”
Yakima Herald: Lawsuit’s a needless hurdle to charter schools
“This lawsuit, in which the Washington Education Association and Washington Association of School Administrators are key players, will do nothing to further the ostensible mission of educators, which is to further the knowledge of the state’s children. It does serve to further uncertainty in the charter movement, which recognizes that the state’s public schools aren’t working for all students.”
The state’s papers don’t always agree on policy issues. Their shared opposition to this lawsuit is quite telling.