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Court’s Ruling on Charter Schools an Affront to Vulnerable Students

Access to High-Quality Schools | 09/05/2015

Dave Powell
Executive Director

Dave is the Executive Director of Stand for Children Washington.

We are deeply disappointed by the Washington State Supreme Court ruling public charter schools unconstitutional in our state. Whether or not the Court's decision has legal merit, there is no doubt that the result is morally wrong. It is an affront to our most vulnerable students. 

Nearly 1200 Washington families have made the careful choice to send their children to high-quality public charter schools in pursuit of a better education for their children. Nine of the ten charter schools in the state have already started class for this school year. This ruling makes the future of those students uncertain.  

The privilege of choosing a quality school for your child is one commonly exercised by those with means. This voter-approved law was designed to give that choice to the many families in Washington without alternatives.  

It is for this reason that in nearly every part of the state with dense populations of people of color and high poverty rates, voters heavily favored public charter schools at the ballot in 2012.  

The Washington State Charter Law was designed to ensure the highest quality public charter schools open in our state and has been recognized by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools as one of the best in the country.  

The court’s decision must not prevent the 1200 students already enrolled in public charter schools from attending their chosen school. We call on the court to allow existing public charter schools to serve their children this year.  

Furthermore, we call on the Governor and the legislature to take whatever action is necessary to enable Washington children to have high-quality charter schools, give families options, and fulfill the will of the people.  

Photo: Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times

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  • Whether or not the court's decision has legal merit? That's the only thing that matters about a Supreme Court decision.
    Lynn

    September 5, 2015 9:00 PM

  • This is an outrage to see the decision made by Washington's voters being overturned by politicians. Charter schools have been met with great success in many states, and while we were still working out some kinks with ours (I'm sure the state's legislative process contributed to many setbacks there) - charter schools had the potential to turn around the downhill slope of our state's education, which was not so long ago among the best in the country. Please uphold the decision rightfully made by Washington state voters and for the benefit of children going to school here, let Charter schools stand!
    Serena Freeman

    September 6, 2015 12:19 AM

  • Hello, Thank you all for reading this post, it means a lot just to know you've looked. Just a bit of continued background on why this is such an important choice for my family...this is hard to write about, so please bare with me... During our eldest autistic child's schooling years, beginning in the 4th grade & continuing on through to middle school, he was bullied relentlessly...years of it. To the point of culminating with a busted nose, broken teeth, glasses, and a fractured cheekbone...resulting in suicidal thoughts, failing grades, & leaving a scar on our entire family. I had asked the local school district for help many times over this time period...nothing came of it. Even took a job in the school to try & help on that front...again nothing. Tried to get him placed in other schools throughout our district...was told there was no room. This left us having to sign over educational guardianship to my mother in Puyallup, just so he had a safe place to learn...Imagine having to make this decision. We looked into private school...but private schools do not take children with special needs if they require services. Homeschool was not an option at the time...so there was our choice. Forced out of our existing district. So when the time came for Isadora to attend middle school, of course I wanted a different option. Our family still carries these scars of what our son went through...he does as well mentally and physically. Honestly, this is the first time I haven't been full of anxiety when my child goes to school for the day. I feel hopeful for her school experience...that she will be safe & have a quality education I feel she deserves. You can't put a price on hope. Please understand, that I have had many a great teacher in our lives, absolutely. I want all public school children to have a safe place to learn...but more importantly to have a choice in their education. Public school children should have the right to choose options...same as those who may be better off & have the freedom to choose without restrictions...that's all that is desired here. The right to have choice. Some children do better in a traditional public school setting, some in home school, some in private, others in online schooling...and yes, some do better in public charters. Thank you for reading Jess :)
    Jessica Garcia

    September 8, 2015 11:25 AM