Voter-approved public charter schools in our state face an uncertain future. Due to the Democrats’ unwillingness to support them, Washington State may very well become the first state (41 other states have charter schools) to shut down this kind of public schools.
The 2016 legislative session is (thankfully) coming to a close and House Democrats are continuing to block a bill that seeks to recognize voters’ will and save public charter schools in our state.
As the Washington Policy Center points out, Democrats’ battle against charter schools did not just start this year. In fact, it is years in the making. The liberal State Supreme Court’s highly partisan ruling against charter schools was a culmination of years of efforts. The Washington Policy Center,
“In 2012, voters passed an initiative to make Washington the 42nd state to allow children in underserved areas to attend a charter public school… In the meantime, opponents of charters had not given up. Unknown to parents, executives at the powerful Washington Education Association union filed a lawsuit in King County to get charter schools shut down.”
The latest blow against charter schools occurred last week when House Democrats serving on the House Education Committee blocked a bill to save public charter schools that had already passed by the state Senate.
There is still time for the House to act. Even without committee approval, the bill could still go directly to the floor for a vote. If Democrat leadership allows that to happen, public charter schools would be saved. All Republicans and a handful of Democrats say they would vote “yes,” and that’s enough to pass the bill.
The question is, will Democrat leadership act? And, will Jay Inslee take it upon himself to actually lead and urge them to act?
Inslee has not called on House leaders to vote on public charter schools. Instead, in an apparent effort to appease his million-dollar donors at the Washington Education Association (WEA), he has remained silent.
It’s just another example of the reality that Inslee is not a leader. Thus far, he has demonstrated that he is more concerned with his special interests and their partisan-driven agenda than doing what is best for underprivileged children.
By every indication, our green governor appears to be hoping that public charter schools will simple fade away without him having to take a position.