Breaking News: Court Declares Washington State Charter Law Unconstitutional

Diane Ravitch's blog

Last fall, there was a hard-fought election in Washington State over charter schools. Voters had turned them down three times but this time was different: Bill Gates, the Walton family, and a passel of super-rich people gathered $10 million or so to support the charter idea and their initiative passed by a small margin.

However, today a judge ruled the law unconstitutional because the state constitution says public funds are solely for “common schools” and charters–under private management, are not common schools.

“In a ruling issued today (pdf), King County Superior Court Judge Jean Rietschel has tossed out the heart of Washington State’s charter schools law on the grounds that it violates the constitutional provision that state education revenues be “exclusively applied to the support of the common schools.”

“But, Judge Rietschel concludes: “A charter school cannot be defined as a common school because it is not under the control…

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