How the Charter School Legal Action Fund Supports the Movement

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The Charter School Legal Action Fund is designed to defend the charter school movement against legal attacks and advance the rights of our schools and students.

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When charter schools across the country are in need or facing unprecedented legal challenges, the Charter School Legal Action Fund responds.

The National Alliance launched the Charter School Legal Action Fund to meet a paramount need for legal advocacy and defense from unfounded attacks against our schools, students, and families. Since 2016, the Legal Action Fund has defended the charter school movement and advanced the rights of our schools and students by supporting select public charter school cases with national impact and influence.

The Legal Action Fund’s efficacy stems from the partnership it enjoys with a variety of pivotal entities and stakeholders. The National Alliance’s National Litigation Council, consisting of almost 30 public charter school attorneys from various parts of the country, collaborates with the Alliance of Public Charter School Attorneys (APCSA)—a network of over 400 attorneys—and the Legal Action Fund to monitor and select pending litigation cases to support financially. Additionally, the Legal Acton Fund’s National Advisory Board—comprised of seven nationally-recognized education reform litigators—provides high-level strategic guidance regarding ways to enhance the CSLAF’s presence and impact.

As a result of these invaluable partnerships, the Legal Action Fund has supported many legal victories across the country. In 2018 alone, the Legal Action Fund, working with committed local advocates and attorneys, achieved significant victories in Washington state and Louisiana.

In Washington state, the Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of both charter schools and the statewide charter school authorizer. The decision in El Centro de la Raza vs. Washington makes clear that charter schools are public schools and ensures that current and future charter school students will have access to a high-quality public education. We joined several partners in filing an amicus brief before the state Supreme Court and were delighted that the decision finally removes the uncertainty that had been hanging over Washington state’s voter- and legislature-approved charter schools.

In Louisiana—after three years of litigation—the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of charter schools, not only affirming the funding mechanism in place for state-authorized schools but also approving the use of local district funding for these schools. The high court’s decision reversed a previous ruling by an appellate court, reinforcing the importance of pursuing every legal avenue to protect and advance the rights of charter schools.

The Charter School Legal Action Fund could not have accomplished any of this success without the dedicated national partners—particularly APCSA members—with whom it routinely works. Recognizing that these legal battles will continue, we always welcome additional public charter school attorneys who desire to join this movement.


Rob Reed, Jr. is the senior director of legal affairs for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.


Learn more about our legal advocacy efforts and APCSA.