WEA Considering a Court Fight Against 1240

I have received word that the WEA Board of Directors has decided to fight I-1240 in court.

From their statement:

 “Though our candidates won, we are disappointed that corporate interests with their $11 million were able to pass the charter school initiative. Looking forward, your board of directors has decided to fund a legal challenge against the new charters law and, as we did with McCleary, are seeking partners and developing an approach and timeline for this effort.  More details about this will come.” 

Please note: the WEA has NOT filed anything but this was a statement made to their membership last month.  Naturally, these kinds of efforts take time and money and the WEA is making all due consideration about their next steps.

The Washington Policy Center is itself already on the attack against this action.    From their statement; 

The union faces a costly, uphill battle. A lot of information about successful charter schools in other states is now available. New research about charter schools shows they are a successful option for students within the public school system. Editorial boards of all Washington’s major newspapers endorsed Initiative 1240. By a clear majority, voters ignored union opposition and passed I-1240, demonstrating that voters want charter schools in Washington state.
The union’s lawsuit is based on shaky legal reasoning. Initiative 1240 is clearly constitutional. The lawsuit may delay Washington’s charter schools, but it will not stop them. The lawsuit scheme provides additional evidence the union is a reactionary force determined to block change. Union executives want to protect their monopoly power and influence within the system, regardless of the cost to disadvantaged children trapped in failing public schools in Washington state. 

Where to start? 

First, the argument in court will NOT be about the efficacy of charter schools so that is just posturing on the part of WPC. 

Second, "clear majority"? I'm not sure anyone would go with that one. It won but, for a statewide vote, by a small margin. In fact, legal experts I have spoken with say the Court is likely to consider the case because the margin was so small. 

Third, "clearly constitutional"? Well, if the Court decides, outright, not to take the case, then the WPC can say that. I suspect the Court will take the case and it will be decided.

 I'm not surprised at this action and I applaud the WEA for standing up to make sure that I-1240 is sound under the Washington State Constitution. I hope Superintendent Dorn will follow suit so that he can gain clarification of his role under both the Constitution and I-1240 (which clash with each other).


seattle citizen said…
Speaking of charters and 1240, today's Stranger ("Regrets" issue, last year's regrets) has a section with six or seven of the local politico/business "targets" of the Stranger's reporting and opining, each offering their regrets (What they really think of us, 1.2.13)

The Stranger writes: "Nick Hanauer—entrepreneur, venture capitalist, idealist, charter schools lover—regrets that we called charter schools 'divisive,' 'ineffective,'Here's and worse as we encouraged people (in vain) to vote 'No' on Initiative 1240"
Hanauer writes:
" 'I don't often disagree with the political positions The Stranger takes, but you guys do [mess] up occasionally, and choosing not to endorse charter schools was one of those times. I regret the fact that you refused to acknowledge that we have a public school system that is insanely, deeply resistant to change, innovation, and accountability. A system that is designed almost exclusively to serve the interests of adults working in the system, and which has been consistently shafting the most vulnerable kids for decades. I regret that The Stranger, which usually stands for change, innovation, and progress, took the stupid, reflexively conservative position against those things in this case, all to protect the status quo. I regret that you proved that far lefties can be just as narrow and backward as far righties. I predict the following: We will open some charter schools, and they will blow away the conventional schools in our city. I further predict that even you—dear Stranger staff—will eventually breed. And when you do, and your children are of school age, YOU will be desperate to get YOUR kids into the charter schools that YOU have thus far maligned. And then the regret will be yours. I look forward to seeing that.'"

Hanauer sure has a sim view of the educators in this city. Too bad he can't lend a hand with public schools, instead of starting his own little boutique schools.
mirmac1 said…
Mr. Obviousman lives! I'm glad the WEA dared stick their toe in the water while the rest of us flounder...
Dora said…
It's interesting to me that he fell back on school yard language rather than provide actual examples of these innovatively wonderful charter schools.

If you haven't already, check out edushyster.com. You'll smile and cry at the same time with this writer's wonderful posts. Nick's rant reminded me of a particular post on edushyster, Minneapolis: Land of 10,000 Rephorm Miracles, http://edushyster.com/?p=1653.
dan dempsey said…
Here is the link to WA Policy Center's news =>

You can leave a comment there.

-- Dan Dempsey
mirmac1 said…
Uh, I meant the WEA position is obvious. NOT Hanuauer... | [
Anonymous said…
The WEA leadership lives in a bubble, and for people who still can't figure out that their 1988 politics are 25 years out of date, and, who don't seem to know that their 1988 politics got creamed by right wing liars 25 years ago, this silliness makes 'sense'.

I suppose I'm as much to blame as they are... even though I already have a full time ++ job.

I keep expecting people in charge of a union of 70 or 80,000 to have figured out that when you repeat right wing talking points on most issues, you're already losing in the court of public opinion, which is why you lose in Oly, and you lose on this kind of 1240 crap.

A little birdy told a recent union meeting in Seattle that the WEA might drop $300,000 looking into whether to have a lawsuit or not - I suppose it is just like wasting the hundreds of thousands they spend on the same insiders & incompetents from the Chamberlain branch of the Democratic Party.

Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
joe s. said…
have you folks discussed the decision by the NLRB that charter schools are private?

dan dempsey said…
Here is the latest from Wa Policy Center

New CREDO study shows New Jersey charter schools outperforming traditional schools

By Paul Guppy
January 3, 2013
dan dempsey said…
From the above study ... via HuffPost:

"The real story here is how Newark’s middle-school charters are lifting otherwise low-achievement youths," said Bruce Fuller, a University of California, Berkeley education professor who was not involved in the study. "Once you go outside of Newark and into elementary schools, the results are quite disappointing."

Charter schools, the fastest-growing sector in American public education, are publicly funded but can be privately run. They can use their own curricula, have longer school days, and hire and fire teachers as they please, since most of their teachers are not represented by unions. Students are usually admitted by lottery.

Communities often argue against charter schools, saying they siphon money away from traditional public schools. Yet they are a widely used tool of education-reform proponents, including the Obama administration. Advocates say charter schools' increased flexibility enables them to boost performance for specific populations -- despite the general lack of evidence that charter schools outperform traditional public schools overall.

The New Jersey study, produced by economists at Stanford's Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), found that 30 percent of New Jersey's charter schools had "significantly more positive learning gains" in reading than comparable public schools, while 11 percent had "significantly lower" gains in reading. It also found that 40 percent of charters saw higher math gains, and 13 percent performed worse in math. On average, the state's charter school students saw an additional two months of learning per year in reading, and an additional three months in math, compared to their public school peers.
Anonymous said…
Here's the truth about the NJ Credo study, starting with the fact that the press release and the study say 2 different things.
The vast majority of charter school students performed worse or at the same level as students in the traditional public schools from which they came (70 percent lower or same in math and 60 percent lower or same in reading).

The charter school students who performed better were located almost exclusively in Newark, while charter school students in other cities and rural areas consistently and significantly underperformed their traditional public school peers.

The charter school students who performed better did so only for their first two years at the charter school, while their third year performance was actually worse than their traditional public school counterparts.

and more truth about NJ charters:

Anonymous said…
And the NJ CREDO study....

(and more debunking here:

Anonymous said…
Washington State Wire article


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