Tag Archives: Charter schools

Legal Challenge to Charters (1240) Is Filed in Washington State

4 Jul

7/03/13                Contact: Paul Lawrence, 206-245-1708; Linda Mullen, 206-445-2657; or Dr. Wayne Au,  wayne@rethinkingschools.org

 Parents, educators, and community groups file lawsuit challenging new charter school law

A coalition of parents, educators, and community groups has filed a Complaint in King County Superior Court challenging the constitutionality of Initiative 1240, Washington’s new Charter School Act.

The Complaint asserts that the Charter School Act violates the Washington Constitution by improperly diverting public school funds to private organizations that are not subject to local voter control and by impeding the State’s constitutional obligation to amply provide for and fully fund K-12 public education.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the League of Women Voters of Washington, a nonpartisan organization that encourages the participation of citizens in government; El Centro de la Raza, a Seattle-based group dedicated to social justice; the Washington Association of School Administrators, an organization of more than 1,600 school administrators; the Washington Education Association, an organization that represents nearly 82,000 public school employees; Wayne Au, Ph.D., an educator and education advocate; Pat Braman, a former Mercer Island High School teacher and current Mercer Island School Board member; and parents with children in public schools in Snohomish and Spokane Counties.

“The Charter School Act poses a real threat to our public school system in Washington,” said Plaintiff Dr. Wayne Au. “Not only does it divert already deficient state funds from public schools to private organizations, it also exempts those private organizations from many of the standards that are in place to ensure that all children receive an adequate education.”

The Complaint asserts that the Charter School Act violates the Washington Constitution in at least seven ways:

  1. It improperly delegates the State’s constitutional “paramount duty” to provide for the education of children within its borders to private organizations that are not subject to the requirements and standards in place to ensure that all children receive a constitutionally sufficient education.
  2. It also violates the State’s paramount duty to make ample provision for the education of all children within its borders by interfering with the State’s progress toward complying with the Washington Supreme Court directive to the Legislature to fully fund basic educational programs by 2018, as set forth in the 2012 McCleary decision.
  3. It unconstitutionally diverts public funds that are restricted to use for public common schools to private charter schools that are not subject to local voter control.
  4. It violates the Constitution’s “general and uniform” provision because charter schools are not subject to many laws and regulations applicable to public schools, including many of the provisions defining a basic education.
  5. It amends existing state law in a manner not permitted by the Constitution.
  6. It violates the constitutional requirement that the superintendent of public instruction “have supervision over all matters pertaining to public schools.”
  7. It violates the Constitution because it mandates the use of local voter-approved levy funds for a purpose other than the purpose for which the voters approved the levies.

The plaintiffs previously asked the Washington Attorney General’s Office to address the unconstitutional provisions of the Charter School Act and the Attorney General declined the request. The lawsuit now asks the King County Superior Court to rule that the Charter School Act is unconstitutional and to prohibit further implementation of the Act. Paul Lawrence and Jessica Skelton of Pacifica Law Group are the lead attorneys in the case.

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Corporate Ed Reform in Washington State – All Roads Lead to Gates

16 Nov

Wordle: Corporate Funders of "Ed Reform"

Who was the biggest funder of the I-1240 charter school initiative in Washington?

Bill Gates at $3+ million. His foundation is one of the biggest charter school pushers and funders in the nation.

But Gates’ overwhelming financial influence also extends to an array of spin-off, co-opted and interrelated Astroturf organizations, all of which lobbied and pushed for charter schools in Washington, including:

Stand for Children, Inc. – (National, political lobbying enterprise) Funded by the Gates Foundation, see here, here and here.

League of Education Voters / LEV Foundation / A+ Washington / Excellent Schools Now Coalition – Funded by the Gates Foundation, see here, here, here ,and here. (Note: Gates sent another infusion of funds — $1, 499,543 — to LEV and its pro-charter lobbyist subsidiaries (A+ Washington / Excellent Schools Now) in October, right before the election, potentially another contribution to the pro-charter I-1240 bankroll. Is there a reason the amount falls just under the $1.5 million mark?)

LEV Foundation
Date: October 2012
Purpose: to continue public engagement and action project to advance the policies and priorities of A+ Washington through the Excellent Schools Now (ESN) Coalition
Amount: $1,499,543
Term: 2 years and 1 month
Region Served: Global, North America
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Seattle, Washington

Partnership for LearningFunded by the Gates Foundation

Alliance for Education – Funded by the Gates Foundation (here and here and here) (Note that Gates channeled funds through the Alliance for Education to the League of Education Voters (LEV). Why was that? Elsewhere he funds LEV directly. Also note that the so-called “Our Schools Coalition” is another fabricated offshoot of the Alliance for Education which is also funded by Gates.)

Alliance for Education
Date: November 2008
Purpose: to support the college-ready curriculum, assessments, data and advocacy elements of Seattle Public Schools’ strategic plan
Amount: $6,929,430
Term: 3 years
Region Served: Global, North America
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Seattle, Washington
Grantee Web site: http://www.alliance4ed.org
Consequently, despite their misleading names, none of these entities are genuine grassroots, community organizations that represent parents and families of Washington. They are all purveyors (arguably puppets) of the Gates brand of corporate education reform, whose products have proven to be extremely shoddy and downright damaging. Charter schools is one of these “products.”
— sue p.