Dorn Statement on Attorney General’s Motion for Reconsideration
OLYMPIA — September 25, 2015 — As state superintendent, my responsibility is the education of our students. That includes charter school students. Whether you agree or disagree with the Supreme Court’s ruling, one thing is clear: The nearly 1,300 students now attending charter schools must be protected. Their education is as important as the other 1.07 million public school students.
That’s why I strongly support the Attorney General’s call to push back the timing of the final order in the League of Women voters lawsuit—or as the lawyers put it, “stay the mandate”—until the end of the school year. Interrupting the charter school students’ education could have a number of potentially harmful effects. The students themselves would be forced to leave their schools—and teachers, mentors and friends—and begin school in an entirely new place. That could hurt not only the students’ education, but also their social and emotional health. For some at-risk students—such as those who are homeless or live in poverty—the transition would be especially difficult.
The stay is crucial for a second reason. Transferring charter school students into public schools could place large burdens on the public schools. As one example, Lincoln High School in Tacoma could receive an additional 60 students if the Summit Olympus: Tacoma charter school closes. That requires additional staff for Lincoln, and possibly adjustments to classrooms and schedules—again, all during the school year.
Also important is the motion for reconsideration. The Court’s ruling raises funding and governance issues. Does the ruling affect funding for Running Start? Does it affect control of tribal schools? Gaining clarity on those issues is essential if our public school system is to function efficiently.
I thank the Attorney General for the filings. The courts are examining a lot of complex issues. I want to make sure, though, that grownup problems don’t become our children’s problems.
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.
OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.
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