Union to file lawsuit to overturn charter school initiative
Over the holidays, Washington Education Association executives decided to sue voters over Initiative 1240, the people’s charter school initiative, according to a posting on Facebook. I-1240 gives priority to new charter schools that serve at-risk students from low-performing traditional public schools. Here is the union’s statement:
“Though our candidates won, we are disappointed that corporate interests with their $11 million were able to pass the charter school initiative. Looking forward, your board of directors has decided to fund a legal challenge against the new charters law and, as we did with McCleary, are seeking partners and developing an approach and timeline for this effort. More details about this will come.”
The union has a communications network which distributes political messages to teachers, school employees and parents. The union also has an annual budget of $33 million of taxpayer dollars taken as dues from teachers' paychecks.
The union faces a costly, uphill battle. A lot of information about successful charter schools in other states is now available. New research about charter schools shows they are a successful option for students within the public school system. Editorial boards of all Washington’s major newspapers endorsed Initiative 1240. By a clear majority, voters ignored union opposition and passed I-1240, demonstrating that voters want charter schools in Washington state.
The union’s lawsuit is based on shaky legal reasoning. Initiative 1240 is clearly constitutional. The lawsuit may delay Washington’s charter schools, but it will not stop them. The lawsuit scheme provides additional evidence the union is a reactionary force determined to block change. Union executives want to protect their monopoly power and influence within the system, regardless of the cost to disadvantaged children trapped in failing public schools in Washington state.