From EdWeek, more on the Washington Supreme Court's big anti-charter decision | Arkansas Blog

Friday, September 11, 2015

From EdWeek, more on the Washington Supreme Court's big anti-charter decision

Posted By on Fri, Sep 11, 2015 at 3:52 PM

Recommended reading for those interested in the charter school debate: Education Week takes a look at the big decision from the state Supreme Court in Washington that essentially declares charter schools unconstitutional in that state

When Max wrote about this a few days ago, he raised the question of whether the legal arguments used in the case could have application elsewhere. Not likely, says Ed Week, given that the decision relied heavily upon language unique to Washington's constitution: 

In its 6-3 ruling in League of Women Voters v. Washington, the court found that the law approved by voters through a 2012 ballot measure, Initiative 1240, improperly designated charters as “common schools,” and that the schools were not therefore entitled under the state constitution to certain state funds they presently draw on.

Despite the prominent setback for charters, it might be difficult for skeptics of the autonomous, publicly funded schools to create any momentum outside Washington from the decision. For example, in the majority opinion, the justices relied heavily on state precedent regarding the definition of common schools set down in a 1909 state high court ruling. In addition, translating a victory in one state into other states’ legal and political systems won’t necessarily be easy.

The ruling takes place against the backdrop of an earlier decision by the court that Washington's funding mechanism for public education in general is inadequate — a crucial juncture that's comparable to the Arkansas Supreme Court decision in the Lake View case. Again, that means Washington is in a unique situation.

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