Education Groups Urge WA State Supreme Court to Uphold State's Voter-Approved Charter School Law

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WASHINGTON, D.C. Today, several national education organizations filed an amicus brief with the Washington State Supreme Court urging the court to uphold the states voter-approved 2012 charter school law.

The brief, submitted by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO), and the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools, explains the history, growth, and success of public charter schools nationwide in providing millions of students with a high-quality education. It also addresses specific opponents claims and one-by-one details how similar claims have been rejected in similar cases across the country. The brief begins:

Like any new idea in particular one that brings modern thinking to an issue of long-standing public interest the introduction of charter schools to Washington has generated great debate. While these debates are new to Washington, they are long-settled elsewhere... [I]n the end, none of these states turned away from charter schools and parental choice, either in the legislature, the voting booth, or the courts.

"As the brief states, this isn't the first time we've seen opponents trot out failed arguments," said Nina Rees, National Alliance President and CEO. "At the end of day, these claims have never been upheld and we are confident the same will be true in Washington. The parents and families who want to send their children to a public charter school deserve that option and we must defend their right to make that choice."

One of the strongest voices in this country is that of an American voter. In 2012, Washington voters chose to have charter schools come to their state. Any attempt to stop children and families from having access to high-quality educational options like charter schools, is an attempt to rob our children of bright futures, said Kenneth Campbell, President of BAEO.

"Charter schools can be a valuable, empowering school choice option for all students, including those with disabilities, said Paul O'Neill, Co-founder and Senior Fellow at the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools. Particularly in Washington, where the charter school law calls for priority to be given to schools designed to meet the needs of at-risk students, families of students with special needs would benefit from a strong, equitable charter movement."

In November 2012, Washington became the 42 state in the nation (plus the District of Columbia) to allow public charter schools. The law was passed through a state-wide voter ballot initiative. The law has been ranked one of the country's strongest by the National Alliance as it is based on decades of tested charter school policy and practice in other states.

Momentum and support for public charter schools is clearly building in Washington State. After serving homeless children and families for 25 years in southeast Seattle, First Place Scholars has opened its doors as the states first public charter school. Seven more authorized schools serving children at risk of academic failure will open in the fall of 2015.

The State Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments on October 28, 2014. To read the full amicus brief, click here.

About Public Charter Schools

Public charter schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Since 2010, all but one independent research study has found that students in charter schools do better in school than their traditional school peers. For example, one study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University found that charter schools do a better job teaching low income students, minority students, and students who are still learning English than traditional schools. Separate studies by the Center on Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college and have higher earnings in early adulthood.

About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. For more information, please visit our website at