Public Oversight Far from Lacking in Washington

Last week, Washington Governor Jay Inslee continued the illogical and partisan attack on charter schools that the state’s Supreme Court initiated a week earlier. In a letter opposing a special session to restore charter schools, Inslee stated that he does “not believe that public money belongs in schools that lack public oversight and accountability.”

His letter was illogical because Washington’s charter schools are overseen by and accountable to the public. Seven of the state’s nine current charter schools are overseen and held accountable by the Washington State Charter School Commission, a state agency. Who are these Commissioners? They are appointees of the Governor and the legislative leaders. Governor Inslee himself appointed one-third of the Commissioners, including the Chairman.

WA_Charter_Accountability-03

If the Governor and legislature are not a suitable form of “public oversight and accountability,” then there is no public oversight and accountability anywhere for anything in Washington.

The remaining two charter schools were approved by, are overseen by and are accountable to the Spokane School Board. Two weeks ago, the state Supreme Court invalidated all charter schools because they are not overseen by local school boards. Yet Spokane’s charter schools are, so then why did the court find them to be unconstitutional? No reason was given.

From the moment the Court’s decision was released, late on a Friday afternoon before Labor Day, the illogic of the decision was clear. This was a political action. Governor Inslee, in announcing his opposition to a special session, is simply continuing the Court’s illogical and political rationale.