Election Win for Charters Is Only the First Hurdle

Election winners always want to declare victory and go home, but these days a victory often means a side trip to the courtroom first. Charter schools bucked the trends last Tuesday and prevailed in Georgia and Washington. But they still have some work to do.

In Georgia:

The Georgia Legislative Black Caucus will join a lawsuit an Atlanta pastor filed against Gov. Nathan Deal on Oct. 29, which argues that the wording on the Nov. 6 ballot misrepresented the nature of the amendment, according to state Sen. Emanuel Jones, the chairman of the caucus.

“People did not know what they were voting for,” Jones said. “Nowhere does it mention forming a committee approved by the governor, lieutenant governor and the speaker of the House to approve charter schools.”

In Washington:

Opponents have not conceded, saying they will wait until all votes are counted. To prevail, they would need about 57 percent of the remaining 300,000 votes to go their way. Roughly 90 percent of ballots already have been tallied…. The measure also may still face a legal challenge.

Nevertheless, whatever your view of charters they are now officially part of the mainstream public school system in the United States – perhaps the only education reform in the last 20 years to achieve such widespread acceptance. It took several attempts and a lot of money to just barely nudge them over the top in Washington, but it looks like that will be the last major knockdown, drag-out battle over their existence. Even the most implacable foes of charters have no realistic plan to eliminate them, but will concentrate instead on limiting their growth and increasing restrictions.