Following the state Supreme Court’s controversial decision on charter schools, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, the Washington State Charter Schools Association, the League of Education Voters and other respondents filed a motion for the court to reconsider. The Seattle Times’ editorial board recently urged to take the opportunity and reconsider. The Seattle Times,
“In the motion, Ferguson argues that the state funds various types of schools with public dollars that are not overseen by publicly elected boards. Also, the court’s ruling seems inconsistent in that two charter schools that opened in Spokane are overseen by the local school district.”
The motion also points out the fact that the court’s shocking decision “calls into question the constitutionality of a wide range of other state educational programs.” These include Running Start and Tribal Schools along with thirteen other programs/schools.
Washington voters approved charter schools in 2012 via an initiative that promised to prioritize the need to serve at-risk students. Since then, charter schools have sought to do just that. The Seattle Times,
“This past year, black, Hispanic and Native American students in Washington consistently scored 15 to 20 percentage points lower than white and Asian students on standardized tests from third grade through high school, according to the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.
“The charter-school law allows schools the discretion to try approaches like focusing on specialized curriculum or extending the school year, class periods and school days to provide more teaching.
“Those attributes drove hundreds of parents to enroll more than 1,300 children in charter schools this fall. About 70 percent of the students who enrolled in charter schools are kids of color, said Tom Franta, chief executive of the Washington State Charter Schools Association.”
Improved test scores are not the only benefit of charter schools for underprivileged students. According to the attorney general’s motion, more than half of students enrolled in nine charter schools qualify for free or reduced-priced lunches. And, at four schools, the total was more than 75 percent.
The Seattle Times concludes, “If the state Supreme Court does not change its position, state lawmakers should find a way to fix the charter law in the next session.” We are not holding our breath for the court to do what is right. After all, we are dealing with liberal justices who eagerly impose a $100,000 on taxpayers for the sake of education—or so they say. Yet, weeks later, the same justices bend over backwards to find an excuse—and a poor excuse at that—to strike down a voter-approved program that is proven to benefit underprivileged students.
Ladies and gentlemen, liberals at work.