Right Answer, Wrong Dissent

The Washington State Supreme Court issued a ruling favorable to the State’s charter schools last Thursday.  The question before the court was whether those charter schools were violating the State’s constitution by receiving funding from the State’s lottery facilities.  Writing for the court, Justice Mary Yu wrote in plain words,

Charter schools are not rendered unconstitutional just because they do not operate identically to common school[.]

She expanded on that in addressing the plaintiffs’ argument that the charter schools lacked voter control, holding that, as The Seattle Times paraphrased her,

…”it makes sense” for charter schools not have local voter control because their funding source, unlike traditional schools, does not include local property tax levies.

Justice Barbara Madsen in dissent, wrote

They [charter schools] are not subject to local voter control and lack any direct accountability to the communities they purport to serve….

This is mistaken.  Charter schools are especially accountable to the communities “they purport to serve” because, unlike the case with public schools, those parents, those members of the served communities, those voters, easily can remove their children from a charter school and enroll them elsewhere.

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