Columbian editorial supports swift legislative action to restore charter schools

The Columbian newspaper has a good editorial analysis of the “new task for lawmakers.”

Washington lawmakers should add another item to their long to-do list for next year — bring charter schools into compliance with the state constitution.

The piece includes a good summary of the legislation and court challenge. And this:

But lawmakers should act quickly to make the necessary adjustments when they convene in January. First of all, charter schools are the will of the voters. Secondly, in approving charter schools, Washington became the 42nd state to allow them. There seems to be little reason the state cannot learn from other parts of the country and embrace charter systems that work well while eschewing those that do not.

The editorial board is realistic about the politics.

Getting the Legislature to act on charter schools might be easier said than done. The Legislature is divided, with Democrats having a majority in the House of Representatives and Republicans holding control in the Senate, and lawmakers had a difficult time agreeing to much of anything during this year’s session. With I-1240 passing by a narrow margin among voters, it is reasonable to expect a similar divide in the Capitol, and teacher’s unions and other groups are staunchly opposed to charter schools.

Restoring charters is, nonetheless, the right thing to do. As the editorial concludes,

But in the end, lawmakers should be beholden to what is best for students — and that means a well-managed charter school system.

Also, a new group has been organized to promote charter school legislation. See Act Now for Washington Students Facebook page. 

We’ve written about the issue many times, including here and here