Charter public school advocates prepare strong defense against lawsuit, seek to have organizational plaintiffs dismissed

Supporters of charter public schools are preparing their defense against the lawsuit filed by opponents led by the Washington Education Association. The News Tribune reports, 

Washington charter school advocates announced Tuesday that they plan to intervene in a lawsuit filed earlier this month that challenges the state’s newest charter school law.

A dozen families, including three whose children attend charter schools in Tacoma, are named as interveners in the latest legal motion, which will be filed in King County Superior Court.

The Washington State Charter Schools Association, along with two of Tacoma’s three charter schools, are also part of the legal counter-action announced Tuesday.

NWCN reports on a motion filed by parents of charter public school students.

Tuesday, a dozen charter school families filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit accusing the schools of being unconstitutional…

“Why are we spending our time and energy trying to keep these kids out of schools they really want to attend?” said former state attorney general Rob McKenna.

On behalf of the families, McKenna filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit that attacks the state’s latest charter school law. They’re want to join Washington state as defendants in the suit.

McKenna was one of the four state attorneys general urging the state Supreme Court to reconsider its finding that the state charter school law was unconstitutional. Unfortunately, the court stuck with its controversial ruling, leading to the 2016 legislation that is now being challenged by charter public school opponents. 

The Washington State Charter School Association says,

Intervenors will also be filing a motion to dismiss all of the organizational plaintiffs named in the lawsuit. The motion was filed on the grounds that the advocacy organizations are merely attempting to rehash policy arguments in a courtroom by recasting them as constitutional concerns – policy arguments that were decided on at both ballot box and in the 2016 Legislative session. The Washington Education Association, the League of Women Voters and El Centro De La Raza are among the lobbying groups the group is asking to have dismissed.

The association’s executive adds,

“It is irrefutable that Washington’s charter public schools are working and are a key part of Washington’s future. They are providing innovative, personalized, and high-quality educational opportunities to students who frequently were left behind and limited by the traditional system,” said Thomas Franta, CEO of the Washington State Charter Schools Association.

“Shutting down our state’s tremendous progress is not what is best for kids. This baseless lawsuit aimed at intimidating and bullying hardworking families from choosing the best educational option for their children is a despicable and cynical move. WA Charters is proud to support the brave families taking a stand to defend their schools. We are confident that Washington State has the strongest charter public school law in the country. We are as determined as ever to keep fighting for Washington families and the high-quality school options they deserve.”

The charter school lawsuit has been panned by editorial boards across the state. McKenna’s question is the right one: Why, indeed, are opponents trying to keep students out of the schools they want to attend?