Why the League Opposes Charter SchoolsJanuary 18th, 2012 by lwvkitsap
Founded by activists who secured voting rights for women, the League of Women Voters has always worked to promote the values and processes of representative government. The League believes in an open governmental system that is representative, accountable and responsive – one that assures opportunities for citizen participation in government decision-making.
Because of these deeply held convictions, League of Women Voters of WA led the opposition of the two charter school initiatives and the referendum in 1996, 2000 and 2004 that were rejected by the voters. And we oppose HB 2428 and SB 6202 for the following reasons:
• Private boards selected by non-profit corporations rather than
publicly elected by citizens will govern charter schools. Voters
will lose their right to elect representatives to oversee the
spending of their taxes.
• Charter schools will be exempt from state statutes and rules applicable to school districts and boards, creating a separate and unequal school system even though Article IX of the Washington state Constitution requires a general and uniform system of public schools. *
• HB 2428 and SB 6202 will create additional administrative functions and costs for the State Board of Education, the Superintendent of Public Instruction and School Districts at a time when further cuts are proposed for K-12, and the Supreme Court has ruled in McCleary v. State that Washington is failing to provide ample funding for education. *
• There are many successful innovative and alternative schools as part of the public school system in Washington state. Let’s encourage them and work toward full funding rather than be distracted by charter schools that the voters have already rejected three times.
* The Washington Supreme Court has stated that a common school
is open “to all
children . . . free, and subject to, and under the control of, the qualified voters of the
school district.” (School Dist. No. 20 v. Bryan, 51 Wash. 498)
* Education Week’s Quality Counts report gave Washington an F grade in education
spending and ranked the state 42nd in per-pupil spending and 44th in expenditures
as a percent of state taxable resources.
Education Chair, LWVWA