A coalition of Washington education groups has filed a citizen initiative asking voters to allow 40 public charter schools in the state over the next five years.
The coalition, including the League of Education Voters, Stand for Children and Democrats for Education Reform, has until July 6 to collect nearly 250,000 valid voter signatures.
Charters are public schools that run independently from district controls; instead, they are governed by a multi-year performance contract that requires proof that a school is improving student achievement.
Washington voters have repeatedly rejected charter school initiatives, turning away ballot measures in 1996, 2000 and 2004. The Legislature rejected charter bills on several other occasions, including on during the 2012 session.
The Washington Education Association, the state’s largest teacher’s union, came out with an immediate statement opposing the measure, saying that charter schools fail to meet the needs of most children.
Washington is one of eight states without charter schools –the others are Alabama, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and West Virginia. (AP)