Judge makes a decision in the latest charter-school lawsuit that bodes well for a positive final outcome.
A KING County Superior Court judge has made decisions in the latest charter-school lawsuit. They bode well for a positive final outcome.
Late last week, Judge John H. Chun sided with the state’s charter schools in several decisions in the lawsuit brought by a coalition that aims to eliminate the alternative public schools in Washington state.
The lawsuit continues, but the judge decided that several named plaintiffs did not have standing to intervene in the lawsuit, including the League of Women Voters, the Aerospace Machinists Union and the Washington Federation of State Employees. The three unions that remain as plaintiffs in the lawsuit all represent public-school employees.
Also, Chun shut down two of the main arguments against the charter-school law. The judge dismissed an attempt to tie the state’s underfunding of public schools to the charter-school system — a political smoke screen advanced by opponents of charter schools. He also decided not to consider a challenge of the way the schools kept themselves afloat financially last year while they waited for the Legislature to find a political solution after they lost a previous lawsuit.
The current lawsuit, spearheaded by the Washington Education Association, the statewide teachers union, seeks to overturn that legislative solution enacted earlier this year.
It’s time for these legal challenges to end so the children, their parents and the charter-school educators can focus solely on learning and teaching. Washington’s public-school children have plenty of challenges these days without a lawsuit hanging over their heads.
Public charter schools should be given a chance to prove they can help Washington students succeed. On statewide tests last spring, Washington got its first hint about how much progress these students are making at their new schools, which were approved by the voters in 2012. Those tests offered a positive snapshot. Charter schools need to continue their work so education watchers will get the information they need to really judge their performance.
The leader of the nonprofit Washington Charter Schools Association, Tom Franta, says the judge’s Nov. 18 ruling underscores the political motivations for the lawsuit. His argument that the lawsuit is an attempt to intimidate and threaten Washington students and families is persuasive.
Other communities desperate for school choice deserve a chance to bring charter schools to their children.
This lawsuit is a counterproductive distraction and a waste of time and resources.