2017 PPI Score
School Choice Score: 0%
Charter Schools Score: 62%
Washington’s charter school law has been hindered by lawsuit since its passage, preventing charter schools from ever becoming strong.
Washington’s charter school law has faced a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality from its inception, effectively halting the growth of charter schools. Even if the law did not have a lawsuit holding up its growth Washington’s law would be weak due to not allowing independent authorizers to authorize schools and having a cap of 40 charter schools that could be opened.
Washington Earned a D in our most recent charter school law rankings. Washington’s bill suffers from a lack of equitable funding for charter schools as well as very little authorizer independence in decision making both of which make it difficult for charter schools to survive and thrive in Washington. Additionally a lawsuit and questions over constitutionality have hampered the growth of charter schools in Washington which also hurt their grade
- Fast Facts
- Law passed in 2012
- Number of Charter Schools: 11
- Estimated Charter School Enrollment: 1,300
- Charter growth is capped at up to eight schools per year with a maximum of forty schools per year
- Online Charter Schools are Not Permitted
- Washington earned a four out of fifteen for authorizers. Washington’s law allows for two entities to authorize charter schools, the State Board of Education and public school districts. The commission has just recently restarted authorizing new schools. Decisions made by both the commission and traditional school districts are not subject to appeal meaning that there is no recourse for applicants who feel they have been treated in an arbitrary and capricious manner.
- Washington earned a three out of fifteen for growth. This is due to the fact that charter growth is capped at eight new schools authorized per year with a maximum of forty schools per year. Additionally, there has been no growth in Washington’s charter school sector recently due to concerns about the law’s constitutionality.
- Washington earned an eleven out of twenty for operations. Charter schools in Washington are exempt from most rules that would apply to traditional schools. However, these rules can be made applicable to charter schools in their charter contract, leading to increased state regulation of charter schools. Regulation harms a charter school’s ability to operate in the way they deem to be most effective and thus the fact that the state can make regulations through placing them in charter contracts is very problematic. Additionally, Charter school teachers must be certified in the same manner that traditional public school teachers are. The sole effect of this policy is that it prevents individuals who have not gone through the bureaucratic measures of teacher certification from working with students even if the charter schools thinks they are the right individual for the job.
Washington earned a two out of twenty for funding equity. Washington’s law states that per-pupil funding will be calculated from a statewide average of a variety of funding categories (special education, general funding, categorical) for public schools and shall be allocated based on the same funding criteria for traditional public schools. All authorizers can retain a maximum four percent authorizer oversight fee. With only one school open, there is no evidence as to whether or not charters receive the funding to which they are entitled. Charter schools do not receive per pupil facilities funding. Currently, there are questions about the constitutionality of this funding resulting in charters being funded through an alternative mechanism.
Online Learning Score: 82%
During Washington’s 2012-2013 school year, over 23,000 students enrolled in 72,000 K-12 online courses, increasing in number by 18% in the 2011-2012 year.
Teacher Quality Score: 72%
Delivering Well Prepared Teachers D
Expanding the Pool of Teachers C+
Identifying Effective Teachers C-
Retaining Effective Teachers C-
Exiting Ineffective Teachers C-