Monday, December 16, 2013

Washington State Charter Schools - To Be Clear on the King County Ruling

First, the Seattle Times continues to try to use smoke and mirrors on their readers on this issue.

Their latest editorial's headline says "A charter schools victory at the state Supreme Court."  The reality?

 It was a decision by a King County court (although, yes, it is very likely to head to the Supreme Court). 

This, like Lynne Varner's statement in her opinion piece that it is the Gates' puppet charter group that will review charter applications, is a gross error that should be correct and yet, the Times is allowing both to stand.

Very bad journalistic form and it points to their agenda in both reporting and editorializing.

I also want to put in Charlie's very cogent statement on the ruling which is exactly how I read it as well (and, as he points out, has not been refuted by the state attorney general's office):

Just to be completely clear, the judge specifically ruled that charter schools - when and if they are created - will not be common schools.

This ruling - which is not disputed by the state attorney general or the Seattle Times - means that charter schools cannot be funded with any of the money designated for common schools. That money includes capital funds for school construction and all of the operating funds that the state legislature has ever approved for public schools in the past.

The judge made it clear that the legislature - if they wanted to provide funding for charter schools - would have to make special provision for them. Again, that ruling is not disputed by the state attorney general, by charter school supporters in the state legislature or by the Seattle Times.

All of the supporters of I-1240 claimed that charter schools would be common schools, and the judge has ruled that they are not. That proved false one of the primary assertions of the initiative's supporters. That's worthy of mention.

Finally, the judge said that there may be other elements of the new law that are unconstitutional but that it is too soon to try those provisions because they haven't happened yet. She made it very clear that they could (and should) be tried once they have occurred.

The judge didn't invalidate the law all at once, but she made it clear that this law is very, very much at risk of being invalidated piece by piece.

I concur.


Anonymous said...

Wow. I read the Judge's ruling as a significant blow to the charter school supporters (although I agree that it is the appellate opinion that will matter). Not sure how they are claiming it is a victory. Why do they think this is only about construction funds?

Also, state Supreme Court?? Shouldn't the Times have fixed that by now?


Common Sense said...

If I 1240 was a victory, why are pro-folks appealing??

Melissa Westbrook said...

Why are the pro-folks appealing?

Because charters HAVE to happen.

If you read the Times, there are legislators (like Hunter and Tom) who are magically going to find the money to open any that are approved.

Now, keep in mind, we allegedly have no extra money but they MUST find it. This has to happen because of the blow it would be to ed reform even nationally.

1240 was touted as the best charter law in the country AND constitutionally sound. It isn't and it won't be found to be going forward.

They used a template, tweaked and crossed their fingers. I think they have rolled the dice and lost.

But they need this win because to lose would be a blow to ed reform, Bill Gates, and the need to try to weaken the teachers union and start the slow dismantling of public education.

I do not say this is the end goal for all who support ed reform but it is for the big players.

Patrick said...

The Times continues to disappoint. I understand them advocating for charters, even though I don't agree with it. But that shouldn't carry over into inaccurate reporting of the facts of the case.

Melissa Westbrook said...

The Times has - finally - changed their headline (without comment).

Disgusted said...

Ross Hunter is Chair of the Appropriations Committee and Reuven Carlyle is the Chair of the House Finance Committee. Both of these individuals are pro-charter.

It will be interesting to watch these guys.

Of course, Rodney Tom supports charter schools.

Charlie Mas said...

It is possible that the State Legislature could simply refuse to fund charter schools. That would end them right there.

It's possible, but it isn't likely. The members of the legislature are, on the whole, slightly pro-charter and even some of those who are anti-charter might still vote to fund them since it's "the will of the people" and all of that.