Big labor is more than a little pleased over the state Supreme Court’s recently ruling closing charter schools in our state. In fact, labor is gleeful over the prospect of preventing children—mainly homeless and underprivileged children—from attending a school dedicated to improving their circumstances.
The Washington Policy Center points out the midset of the charter school haters,
Wayne Au likes to close schools. The U.W.-Bothell associate professor writes in the union newsletter The Stand that September 4, 2015, the day six state supreme court justices voted to defund charter schools in communities across the state, “was a good day for me.”
Saying it “felt like a personal victory,” Au proudly announces himself as “a very vocal opponent” of voter-approved Initiative 1240 and of allowing children to attend a public charter school. His unrestrained glee almost jumps off the page.
It is significant that Au’s happy dance appears in the union newsletter of the powerful Washington State Labor Council. Unions are the primary obstacle to education reform in Washington. They work hard to kill nearly every innovative idea to give families choice in education, no matter how modest, as any staff aide in Olympia will tell you. The WEA union opposes family choice in education, even when the same ideas have worked in other states for years.
It’s not surprising that the WEA and other unions are celebrating the court’s decision as a victory—for them, it is a victory years in the making. The WEA began the fight to prevent underprivileged children from the choice of attending schools that work when it contributed the maximum amount to the campaigns of four out of the six justices who ruled against charter schools. And, when it pumped $50,000 via PAC donations into one justice’s race.
The absurdity of justices on our state Supreme Court accepting campaign contributions from a union whose lawsuit they were considering is exactly why Republican state Rep. Matt Manweller has filed an initiative that seeks to stop the sleazy practice. Manweller’s initiative would require a justice to “step down from hearing a case if his or her campaign received a donation of $1,000 or more within the past six years from any person or entity that is part of the case.”
In order for the initiative to be certified, Manweller must collect at least 246,372 valid signatures by December 31. The Yakima Herald outlines what would happen next in the case of such initiatives to the legislature,
If there are enough valid signatures submitted, it goes to the Legislature, where lawmakers have three options: They could vote on the measure, and the measures would appear on the November ballot if they don’t pass; they could take no action, meaning the initiatives would go straight to the ballot; or they could recommend an alternate measure to run alongside the initiatives on the ballot.
Manweller’s Facebook page for his initiative recently shared this editorial cartoon via The Olympian.
It’s a provocative image, but one which demonstrates the reality of the justices’ decision – they are indeed blocking the doorway to success for children across Washington State, just as segregationists stood in the way of African-American children decades ago.
Photo via The Olympian.