This week, supporters of voter-approved public charter schools celebrated that thousands of students (many of whom are underprivileged) will still have their schools next year. They had a lot to celebrate. After all, students, parents, and teachers worked hard to fight for their schools following the state Supreme Court’s partisan decision outlawing them last year.
Thanks to Republican legislators (and a handful of Democrats), their efforts paid off. The state Legislature passed a bill to save public charter schools and, although Jay Inslee chose not to act out of political cowardice, it became law.
Unfortunately, before the celebratory confetti hit the ground, the Washington Education Association (WEA) decided to rain on the parade. The WEA launched a new lawsuit attack against public charter schools.
In September, the court sided with the WEA (the majority opinion actually plagiarized the WEA’s brief) and ruled that public charter schools were unconstitutional because they don’t have “public oversight from elected boards and therefore are ineligible for tax money from the state’s general fund.”
The ruling is ridiculous because it places a lot of state-funded programs at risk. Nevertheless, that’s the route the WEA-funded justices chose to take.
The new law passed by lawmakers seeks to remedy all the flaws the court found in the public charter school law. Via the Seattle Times:
“The new law pays for charter schools with proceeds from the state lottery, which go into an account that’s separate from the general fund.
“It also provides more oversight from elected officials by adding the chair of the State Board of Education and the Superintendent of Public Instruction (or others they may designate) to the membership of the commission that decides which charter schools may open.”
However, the WEA’s new lawsuit claims that the changes do not address the flaw identified by the court. Of course, the real problem is that the WEA doesn’t get any money out of charter schools—the teachers don’t have to pay union dues.
The WEA’s latest lawsuit is just more proof that its war on charter schools is not about education of children. Rather, it’s about more money in the union’s war chest.
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