Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Washington state teachers union should not sue to block charters
Superintendent has a legal obligation to supervise public schools
I have watched discussion in the press surrounding the implementation of charter schools in Washington. The Seattle Times suggested Superintendent Randy Dorn should just “stand down” — not contest the fact his office is not in charge of charter schools [“Union should drop suit to block charters,” Opinion, Jan. 9].
So The Times recommends Superintendent Dorn violate his oath of office to uphold the state Constitution. Article III, Section 22 states in plain language — by law not subject to interpretation if the language meets that test — “the superintendent of public instruction shall have supervision over all matters pertaining to public schools.” The initiative emphasizes charter schools will be public schools, yet excludes the superintendent from supervising them.
Superintendent Dorn has suggested an easy “fix,” if the Legislature wishes to support 51 percent of the voters. A two-thirds majority of both houses of the Legislature could put charters under the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Barring that, amending the constitution itself is the only way to move forward without violating the state’s highest law.
We have not met the constitutional provision to amply provide for the education of all children. Is this the time to implement charters for a few?
“All matters,” “all children.” What part of “all” don’t we understand?
--Judith Billings, former superintendent of public instruction, Puyallup