SEATTLE – Washington State’s traditional public schools will lose some students next year, due to the introduction of charter schools.
That means there may not be as much demand for union teachers in those schools.
The potential loss of jobs and union dues revenue is more than the Washington Education Association can stand. That’s why the state’s largest teachers union, along with several allied organizations, has filed a legal challenge to the constitutionality of the state’s new charter school law.
In November voters passed a state referendum allowing Washington to become the 42nd state in the nation to welcome charter schools, despite a huge effort by the teachers union to defeat the proposal. The new law will allow up to 40 charter schools to open over the next five years.
Now the union wants state Attorney General Bob Ferguson to determine whether the charter school law passes the legal test in regard to several issues – diverting money from traditional schools to charter schools, usurping the authority of the state superintendent of public instruction to supervise all public schools, the diversion of property tax revenue to charters without the expressed consent of voters, and other items.
Union leaders seem to be grasping for any legal excuse to block the introduction of charter schools. Fortunately Ferguson seems more concerned about the will of the people, as stated in the November election, than the selfish objections of the union.
“We all share the desire to provide the highest quality education for our children,” Ferguson said in a released statement. “As the state’s attorney, it’s my responsibility to defend the will of the voters and I will be directing my legal team to do so in this case.”
Union officials have already announced that if Ferguson does not act on their request, they will respond with a lawsuit. So it seems pretty clear that an issue that was supposed to be determined by citizens will be settled in a courtroom, where the people have no vote.
We wonder how union leaders would react if they had won the voucher election and voucher supporters challenged the outcome in court.
They would probably call their opponents sore losers and tell them to live with the decision of the voters. That’s precisely what teachers union and its allies should do.