In our podcast, we interview policymakers, partners, and thought leaders to spotlight education policies, research, and practices so that together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.
In this episode, League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman asks Washington state Supreme Court Chief Justice Debra Stephens how COVID-19 has impacted Washington courts, how the court system can support students in an equitable way, what worked in her personal education journey, and what she would do to transform our education system if there were no budgetary constraints.
56 percent of Washington’s 3,400 charter public school students come from low-income households, as compared to 42 percent statewide.
60 percent of students identify as students of color, as compared to 46 percent statewide.
15 percent of students receive special education services, as compared to the statewide average of 14 percent.
Today, all these students learned that they can stay in the school of their choice.
Washington’s charter public schools continue to serve higher-than-average percentages of students impacted by inequities.
Today the Washington Supreme Court has given families with students in charter public schools new hope by affirming that their schools will continue to be a valuable part of our state’s public education system.
In McCleary v. State of Washington, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that because the state government is not providing sufficient education funding, it is violating the state’s constitution. Further, the Court found that inadequate funding from the state is leading to inequalities and disparities between wealthy and poor school districts, because some districts are only able to raise a fraction of the money through local levies as other districts, despite having a higher local levy tax rate.
The Court has ordered the state to address this issue by increasing education funding and reducing reliance on local levies to pay for teacher salaries and other basic education essentials. Estimates say that complying with the Court’s decision will require the state to spend an additional 1.5 – 2 billion dollars more per year on public education.
The Washington State Supreme Court issued a devastating ruling late on Friday afternoon, prior to a 3-day weekend and after charter schools had already started their year, declaring the way the state funds public charter schools unconstitutional.
The ruling puts the immediate future of over 1200 students in jeopardy. In addition to public charter schools, the ruling may impact tribal compact schools, Running Start, and other programs that do not fit into the Court’s narrow view of what can be funded with education dollars. Many strategies aimed at addressing the state’s achievement and opportunity gaps are at risk.
The parents with children in these schools, and the advocates who support them, will continue to work to ensure these schools stay open now and into the future.
Teams of supporters are reviewing the Court ruling and preparing a legal response.
Options for keeping these schools open are being explored.
Advocates are asking the Governor and legislators to act immediately to rectify the situation.
You can help by contacting your legislator and asking them to support a technical fix to ensure public charter schools are funded and other investments aimed at closing gaps continue now and into the future.
Today, the Washington State Supreme Court issued their response on the Legislature’s progress in funding basic education.
The Court recognized the Legislature’s record progress in funding an education continuum and called out their work in fully funding transportation, materials, supplies, and operating costs, as well as their progress in partially funding K–3 class-size reductions and full-day kindergarten. The Court also called out the areas where the Legislature did not make significant progress, namely in funding facilities for class-size reduction and full-day kindergarten, compensation for teachers and other school personnel, and reliance on local levies to provide basic education.
Effectively immediately, the Court is fining the state $100,000 a day until a plan to fully fund basic education is implemented, which will go into a special fund reserved for basic education. The Court also encouraged Governor Jay Inslee to call the Legislature back for a special session. Read More
After one long legislative session (followed by three special sessions), Governor Inslee signed Washington’s 2015–2017 state budget into law late in the evening on June 30, averting a government shutdown by less than an hour. An unprecedented series of events ultimately delayed sine die until today, but with the true end of our historically long 2015 legislative session at hand, we take a moment to reflect.
What we see in this budget is a more comprehensive investment in education than at any other time in the state’s history. Through their strong investments in public education across the spectrum, early learning through postsecondary, the Legislature has given all Washington’s students more hope for their future.
The League of Education Voters has long argued that a child’s education should be a continuum with seamless transitions from early learning through higher education. We have worked with partners around the state in pursuit of that vision, including with the Cradle through College Coalition. It is gratifying to see the Legislature following through with strategies and investments that support students at all ages. Read More
Regarding the contempt ruling, Chris said: “We know the opportunity, we know the urgency, we know the obligation. Let’s give the state the opportunity to make good on their word to do something this session.”
While the League of Education Voters was not a plaintiff in the McCleary case, the foundation did file an amicus brief in January 2012.