My first Progressive article: What the Washington State Supreme Court Decision on Charter Schools Achieved

The Supreme Court of the State of Washington recently decided that public funds to charter schools were unconstitutional because charters don’t meet the definition of public schools (“common schools”) in that State. “Seattle Education” tells us why it matters.

Seattle Education

no charter schools3

Originally posted on The Progressive:

The Washington State Supreme Court ruled on September 4, 2015 that charter schools are not “common schools” and therefore cannot be funded by common school funds. The judges based their decision on the issue of public funding for schools that are not publicly governed, not subject to local accountability, and not under the authority of elected school boards. Proponents of charter schools and parents who enrolled their students expressed shock and disappointment in response to the Supreme Court decision.

The ruling, however, is not surprising, as Catherine Ahl, Education Chair for the League of Women Voters of Washington, points out. The King County Superior Court ruled in December, 2013 that charter schools are not “common schools” and therefore cannot be funded by tax dollars. The case then made its way to the Washington State Supreme Court. Before the Supreme Court had a chance to issue its ruling…

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6 responses to “My first Progressive article: What the Washington State Supreme Court Decision on Charter Schools Achieved

  1. Elaine McCabe

    The few BPS schools that are left have some very dedicated and hard-working teachers. This will not be the case in the near future as teachers are being targeted for dismissal especially if they have years of knowledge and experience. I am one of those teachers. In Spring 2014 my Grade 5 class MCAS scores in ELA and Math equaled the same as the 5th ranked elementary school in Massachusetts according to Boston Magazine. From that same class, 12 students were accepted to Boston Latin. I am to be dismissed next Thursday after 17 years. This past year I was designated an Unsatisfactory teacher. A school is really a teacher and her students. I wish more was being discussed about teacher retention and perhaps the BPS could rival the Charter schools. My regular ed class is one example.

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Elaine. It’s hard to know what to say, except that I hope many people see what you have shared. I thank you for your service to the families of Boston for all of these years, and wish you the best of luck in whatever you decide to do in the future. I am sure that there will be many opportunities before you.

      It’s very clear to me that there is a public discourse that seeks to blame teachers for the serious problems of public education in the country. In truth, my experience in the BPS has brought me into conflict with a few teachers of my children, but my children have had many more inspiring teachers, a few of whom have changed their lives. I salute you and all who do your very difficult job.

      • Elaine McCabe

        I appreciate your words of encouragement and all of the cards and letters I have received from parents and students past and present. What I want is return to my classroom and continue to teach. Many teachers don’t want to fight the system and quietly retire. A word of advice to the parents of the children of the BPS. Make sure your child is being taught by a highly-qualified teacher, no matter the age. In some cases that means having the correct license certifications or B.A. Degree to teach in an area. Unfortunately, the teachers being dismissed are not necessarily being replaced by highly-qualified personnel and sometimes not by PTS teachers. That is why there are so many teachers floating around the system without a position as referenced in the Boston Globe article last week. You can ask the principal the status of your child’s teacher but unfortunately, the new evaluation system bases its decisions on the observations of one person, the principal, who has her own agenda and may not be forthcoming with the truth.

      • Yes, there are efforts afoot to cheapen the vocation of teaching. I appreciate your advice and wish you well.

  2. Those of us who cherish Horace Mann’s vision need to recommit ourselves to the struggle to preserve public education. Privatization and charter schools only contribute to the fragmentation of the pubic square and the lack of transparency and accountability.

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