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The Washington State Supreme Court rules that charter schools cannot receive public funding

Unconstitutional-Ruling

…based on our state constitution.

Here is the decision written by the Washington State Supreme Court, http://www.courts.wa.gov/opinions/pdf/897140.pdf.

Dora Taylor

Post Script:

To follow is the first post I wrote as our first article on the original Seattle Education blog in 2009. It was about charter schools when we discovered that our Broad superintendent, Marie Goodloe-Johnson, was part of a strategy to bring charter schools to Seattle by first closing successful schools in our communities, grading schools as failing and bringing in charter schools. Because of what we discovered had occurred in Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia and New York, we knew it was coming our way.

What is a Charter School?

The basic difference between a traditional public school and a privately run charter school is that with a charter school there is complete control of the school by a private enterprise within a public school district. Although taxpayer-funded, charters operate without the same degree of public and district oversight of a standard public school. Most charter schools do not hire union teachers which means that they can demand the teacher work longer hours including weekends at the school site and pay less than union wages. Charter schools take the school district’s allotment of money provided for each student within the public schools system and use it to develop their programs. In many systems, they receive that allotment without having to pay for other costs such as transportation for students to and from the school. Some states, such as Minnesota, actually allocate more than what is granted to public school students.

The money that is allocated for each student by the school district, stays with the charter school whether the student remains in that school for the entire school year or returns to a public school.

A charter school can expel any student that it doesn’t believe fits within its standards or meets its level of expectation in terms of test scores. Because it is a charter school, parents and students do not benefit from the regulations and oversight that would protect them in a public school.

The reason for the emphasis on test scores is because when a state agrees to provide a charter, there are requirements for that charter school to meet or exceed a certain level of performance in terms of test scores. Therefore, charter schools establish unspoken policies in terms of the admission of ELL or IEP students as well as students who the charter school doesn’t believe will meet the state standard.

Also, according to a recent study by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), charter schools do not necessarily perform any better than public schools. In fact, 37 percent performed worse. Forty-six percent demonstrated “no significant difference” from public schools. Only 17 percent of charter schools performed better than public schools.

The post eventually resonated with many in our community and the rest is history ;-)

And remember this?

PAA

Parents Across America to WA State Supt. of Public Instruction Randy Dorn: 1240 is Unconstitutional

Dec. 5, 2012

To Superintendent Dorn:

Parents Across America of Washington State, the local chapters of the national organization dedicated to the preservation of public education, has concluded that Initiative 1240 is in violation of the Washington State Constitution on multiple counts.

We therefore urge the Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to pursue a legal challenge to I-1240, based on the following grounds:

  • 1.   I-1240 would establish a charter school commission comprised of politically appointed members with no election by, or accountability to, the general public. It would allocate authorization and accountability for charter schools to this commission, circumventing state-mandated oversight of our public schools by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and local school boards. (Yet this commission would cost taxpayers an estimated $3 million.)The creation of such a commission would be in violation of state law which requires public oversight of all public schools. (See: Article III, Section 22, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Duties and Salary.“The superintendent of public instruction shall have supervision over all matters pertaining to public schools, and shall perform such specific duties as may be prescribed by law.”)
  • 2.       Charter schools would not meet the definition of “common schools.” Since 1909, a “common school” has been defined as “one that is common to all children of proper age and capacity, free, and subject to, and under the control of, the qualified voters, of a school district.” Sch. Dist. No. 20, Spokane County v. Bryan, 51 Wn. 498, 99 P. 28 (1909). The state constitution also mandates a “general and uniform system of public schools.” Instead, Initiative 1240 would create an unequal subset of schools that would be granted exclusive rights and resources not accorded all schools and all children. These schools would be exempt from public oversight, violating state law that requires all public schools to be “common schools” and part of a “uniform system.” Subsequently, if charter schools are not “common,” then they do not qualify for state funding as stipulated in Article IX, Section 2, which states: “the entire revenue derived from the common school fund and the state tax for common schools shall be exclusively applied to the support of the common schools.”
  • 3.       Initiative 1240 also violates state law as recognized by the McCleary decision of January 5, 2012 (McCleary v. State of Washington), which maintains that the state has a constitutionally mandated (Article IX, section 1) “paramount duty” to fully fund all of its public schools. I-1240 would divert funding from common schools to specific schools with unique rights, creating inequity, and further diluting already inadequate resources from our public (“common”) schools, which is in violation of this law.

 As the extremely close election demonstrated (50.7 – 49.3%, despite the enormous financial advantage of the “Yes” campaign, which outspent both “No” campaigns by a margin of 17-1), clearly charter schools remain a divisive, controversial and unpopular concept in Washington State.  (See:http://vote.wa.gov/results/current/Initiative-Measure-No-1240-Concerns-creation-of-a-public-charter-school-system.html  Also: Map of votes for/against I-1240

http://seattletimes.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/politicsnorthwest/files/2012/12/2012Initiative1240Precincts1.pdf)

Parents Across America of Washington finds I-1240 to be an extremely flawed, unconstitutional and undemocratic proposal which circumvents genuine public oversight, and is full of troubling loopholes and opportunities to divert public funding away from our existing schools to private enterprises for proposed outcomes that statistically are no better than existing public schools 83 percent of the time (See: CREDO Report by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes:http://credo.stanford.edu/reports/National_Release.pdf).

Therefore, as parents with children in Washington State public schools who will be affected by this initiative, and as supporters of public education, we urge OSPI to legally challenge 1240.

Sincerely,

Susan Peters, Dora Taylor, Joanna Cullen, David Spring, Steve Nesich, Linda Gower, Anastasia Samuelsen, Susan Ryan, Pat Griffith, Chris Van Vechten, Demian Godon, Parents across America, Washington State (Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane, and Tri-City chapters)

15 comments on “The Washington State Supreme Court rules that charter schools cannot receive public funding

  1. Daun Kauffman
    September 5, 2015

    Many troubling issues with current excuses to rush to charters without solving basic pedagogy issues first: http://lucidwitness.com/2014/06/18/we-all-ignore-a-real-issue/

  2. Pingback: Washington State Supreme Court Rules Charter Schools Unconstitutional | EduResearcher

  3. Greg
    September 5, 2015

    Down with taxation without representation! This is great news.

  4. Sarah
    September 4, 2015

    PAA called it, years ago. Congratulations.

  5. Pingback: Magic in Court - Marjorie Larner

  6. Jill Reifschneider
    September 4, 2015

    WOW!!!! Congratulations Washington! That is coming from someone now living in Massachusetts where Charters are a given. We are just fighting to keep a cap on them which the newly elected governor wants to remove to allow any number of them!!!

    • seattleducation2010
      September 4, 2015

      We were fortunate enough to see it coming our way from the east so we were able to prepare for the tsunami.

      It took a lot of hard work from many people in our state to be able to stave off charters but it can happen.

      We have former Broad supe Goodloe-Johnson to be the red flag.

  7. seattleducation2010
    September 4, 2015

    No public funding, no charter school.

    They can now choose to be private schools but I doubt with the complete lack of quality in terms of their curriculum and teaching staff Summit, KIPP and Greendot will pull up stakes and sell their snake oil elsewhere.

    Dora

  8. SCCNY
    September 4, 2015

    Reblogged this on stopcommoncorenys.

  9. Sahila
    September 4, 2015

    i trust there now will be no more charter school madness in WA state…. kids will go to real public schools and the WA LEGISLATURE will come out of contempt of court and PROPERLY FUND PUBLIC EDUCATION….

    • seattleducation2010
      September 4, 2015

      Indeed. No more games with our legislators now that Gates is no longer a player in that enterprise.

  10. john
    September 4, 2015

    students back to public schools, where they belong and charters close down and are swept into the dust bin of history for the state of Washington State.

    • seattleducation2010
      September 4, 2015

      Hopefully this will start a national movement.

      • Daniel Bell
        September 4, 2015

        It will depend on each state’s constitution. One can hope.

      • seattleducation2010
        September 4, 2015

        Yes, but it might have an impact in other ways.

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This entry was posted on September 4, 2015 by in A Better Way.
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