November 23, 2015
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories

Charter school students, advocates turn to Legislature as Supreme Court declines to reexamine ruling

The state Supreme Court on Thursday announced that it would not reconsider its decision to toss out the 2012 voter-approved public charter schools initiative. By a 5-4 vote, the justices upheld their 6-3 ruling from this summer, but deleted one footnote that would have posed problems for tribal compact schools, Running Start programs and other aspects of the state’s educational system. The ruling is set to become final on Dec. 14. Public charter school supporters have pledged private funds to keep the schools open for the rest of the year while the Legislature looks at a solution.

The Spokesman-Review has more on the ruling, including how it does not address an “extraordinary bipartisan” joint brief by all living attorneys general calling for support of public charter schools.

The ruling came just hours after 400 charter school students, parents and other supporters rallied at the Capitol and testified before a joint Senate education and funding committee. Students attending public charter schools testified about the benefits they’ve discovered in their new schools, from greater ethnic diversity to a stronger focus on preparing for college. Parents discussed why they chose charters over traditional public schools. Administrators talked about the flexibility they have in public charter schools to have longer school days, longer school years, and the ability to reward teachers who do a better job educating and connecting with students.

With the Supreme Court shutting down the avenue of judicial review, efforts to save public charter schools in Washington must now be focused on the Legislature. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have pledged to work for a legislative fix that would address the Supreme Court’s concerns and allow public charter schools to remain active in Washington. The Seattle Times on Sunday called for the Legislature to quickly act to save the state’s charter schools.

The day after the Supreme Court said it would not reconsider its decision to shut down Washington’s public charter school system, The New York Times detailed new research showing that charter schools do particularly well in helping low-income, nonwhite students in urban areas.

Olympia Business Watch has more on the latest development for Washington’s public charter schools.

« Back to Main
Jobs and Redevelopment in Longview

Millennium: Local coal terminal will enhance region

By Bill Chapman

Millennium sits on a former industrial site that, for generations, has been designated, zoned and used for heavy industry. Since taking over in 2011, we've removed over a quarter-million tons of unpermitted material from the site (recycling about 65 percent), restored a local fish habitat, and kept dozens of our neighbors employed along the way. The river channel is already deepened to allow ocean-going transport, and the rail spur has long been in place.

For millions of people in developing nations, coal remains the main viable source of electricity. Some homes are lit by a single light bulb -- this is a "quality of life" we would never accept. There will not be enough power from renewable energy to meet basic needs in Asia for decades. These countries continue burning coal because it is the most available energy source they have, and because it allows them to pursue a quality of life we already enjoy.

We know that quality of life matters here in Southwest Washington, too. Without jobs to support families, "quality of life" quickly evaporates. Longview is a town built for industry and trade; the failure to regenerate family-wage jobs profoundly threatens our quality of life.
Click here to read the full op-ed in The Columbian
Charter Fix Has Bipartisan Support

Legislature must act on charter schools

By The Seattle Times Editorial Board

Lawmakers should act in the best interest of children and families who have embraced charter schools. In their first year of operation, many of the state's charter schools have enrolled high levels of low-income, minority and special-education students -- children who have not all been well-served by traditional schools and whose families cannot afford private school.

Click here to read the full editorial in The Seattle Times
Upcoming Events