Court victory for charter public schools is a win for students, parents and public education in Washington

Judge John H. Chun ruled Friday that Washington’s charter school law is constitutional. From the opinion:

Washington law presumes the constitutionality of statutes. Because Plaintiffs bring a facial challenge, they bear a heavy burden. To overcome the presumption, they must demonstrate that the Act is unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt. This means they must show that there exists no set of facts or circumstances under which the statute can be constitutionally applied. As discussed below, they have not satisfied this burden. On its face, the Act operates within the bounds of constitutionality. Accordingly, Plaintiffs’ motion is denied…

And then, Judge Chun proceeds to do what that excerpt promises: he demonstrates why the challengers failed to satisfy the burden. It’s a clear, definitive exposition of the facts and worth reading in its entirety.

The Washington State Charter Schools Association celebrates the court victory, writing 

“This is a huge win for kids,” said Tom Franta, CEO, WA Charters. “Charter public schools have been given a stamp of approval from Washington voters, the State legislature, and now the state’s judicial system. With today’s decision, students can return their focus to learning, and parents can rest easy knowing their kids’ schools can continue to provide their kids with the quality public education they deserve.”

We agree: Let students return their focus to learning and allow parents to be secure in the knowledge that their children’s educational choice is secure.

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools also celebrated the ruling.

“The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is thrilled that the state of Washington has delivered a victory to students and families by upholding the constitutionality of the state’s charter public school law. The ruling in El Centro de la Raza v. Washington State is allowing families across the state of Washington to breathe easier knowing their public schools are now protected under the law.

“As the Washington State Charter Schools Association said today, the ‘decisive win follows years of Washington’s charter public schools triumphing over attacks from their opponents. Charter public schools have been supported again and again by voters and legislators in Washington state, first winning at the ballot box in 2012, and then at the state legislature last year when a bipartisan effort led to the Charters School Act, the state’s current charter public school law. With today’s ruling, the constitutionality of the law has now been affirmed by Washington’s courts.’”

The Seattle Times reports,

Coalition members haven’t decided whether they’ll appeal yet, said Rich Wood, spokesman for the Washington Education Association.

As the Times’ Paige Cornwall writes,

The state’s eight charter schools are public schools, open to any student, but they are run by private organizations. About 1,600 students attend charter schools in the state, according to the Washington State Charter Schools Association.

Among the remarkable aspects of these unwarranted lawsuits from the WEA and its allies (several of which were denied standing by Judge Chun) is the energy and money spent in attacking a charter school law considered the best in the nation

It would be best for all concerned to let this be the last chapter in the saga. Let the decision stand and focus on improving public education for all students, those in traditional public schools and those in charter public schools.