Washington Students Fight to Keep Their Public Charter Schools Open
January 14, 2016

Washington Students Fight to Keep Their Public Charter Schools Open

The stakes are high for more than 1,100 charter school students and their families in Washington state.

Shortly after school doors opened last fall, the Washington State Supreme Court invalidated Washington’s voter-approved public charter school law. When efforts to get the court to reconsider failed, patches were designed to keep the schools open for the next few months.

PIE Network members, including the League of Education Voters, the Partnership for Learning, Stand for Children, and Democrats for Education Reform, along with the Washington State Charter Schools Association stepped up to lead the Act Now for WA Students campaign, which is providing public charter school students and parents with a megaphone to make their voices heard.

Advocates of public charter schools are now in high gear pressing on policy makers to pass a new charter law in the short 60-day legislative session that began on January 11th. Without a legislative fix, these promising, innovative public schools will have to close their doors. The campaign is working: an increasing number of legislators do not want to shut students out of their new schools.

A bi-partisan and bi-cameral group of legislative champions have introduced a bill that keeps the schools open and honors the will of voters. On the second day of the legislative session, charter school students and parents offered compelling testimony in the Senate education committee hearing, the first of many steps.

Act Now for WA Students will keep up the pressure until Governor Jay Inslee signs a new public charter school bill. The campaign is active on Facebook and Twitter, and is engaging thousands of supporters through an online petition. Editorial boards and the media are responding positively to our campaign messages, which are being reinforced with television ads and mail in targeted legislative districts. “Jerald” and “Sydney” – featuring the first-person stories of local students, ran on TV in the Seattle-Tacoma region in December and January.

Sign-up to get involved and stay updated on the campaign.

Tania de Sá Campos

Tania de Sá Campos is DFER Washington's Deputy State Director

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