The Washington State supreme court has spoken, and charter supporters are freaking out.
There's a #saveWAcharterschools tag on twitter (a little lonely, but it's there), along with several feisty charteristas who are finding ways to express their outrage.
And on Huffington Post, the heads both the national and state charter associations (each, of course, is not called "president" or "chairman," but "CEO") wrote an expression of something between panic, outrage and feistiness about the closing of charter schools. Thomas Franta and Nina Rees are concerned for the 1,200 Washington students who are suddenly school-less for next week, and I have to agree that the court's decision to sit on this ruling until the last days of summer vacation was just plain mean. At the same time, I hope that Rees, as CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, displays some of this same outrage the next time some charter school decides to cut its losses and close up shop in the middle of a school year.
Charteristas are calling for some way to Save Charter Schools. Washington state legislator Drew Stokesbary on twitter proposes three possible solutions:
So, find ways to rewrite the law so that charter money can stay in its own little lock box in its own big silo. This seems a bit overthought and overwrought. The court's decision, as I understand it, is based on the idea that charter schools cannot receive "common school" public funds because they are not overseen by an elected school board. And if that's the case, charters can fix this very easily. Are you paying attention, charter operators? I have your solution right here.
Just submit to being overseen by an elected school board.
Act like the public schools you claim to be. Make your finances and operation completely transparent to the public.
And allow yourselves to be overseen by an elected school board instead of a collection of individuals who are not answerable to the voters or the taxpayers.
I mean-- what's more important to you? Providing a strong educational alternative for those 1,200 students, or holding on your ability to do whatever you want without having to answer to the public? Is it so important to you that you not be accountable to the public that you would rather engage in timeconsuming rewrites of state law, or even just close your doors, rather than let yourself submit to transparent and open oversight by a group of citizens elected by the very taxpayers whose money you use to run your school?
Many eyes are on Washington right now. One of the things we'll be watching to see is what charter operators do next, because their next move will be one more sign of what they really care about.