The Latest Former Seattle School Board President Calls Supreme Court Ruling on Charter Schools “Unconscionable”

SEATTLE, Sept. 9, 2015

Charter schools and school choice are on the edge of extinction nationwide thanks to Washington State’s Supreme Court’s ruling outlawing charter schools, according to Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Don Nielsen.

The ruling was immediately deemed “as politically driven as it is overreaching and legally flawed” by The Wall Street Journal, and Nielsen, a former Seattle School Board president agrees.

“Washington’s Supreme Court made a mockery of the law. Our state’s charter school law was filed with the attorney general’s office three years ago and was fully vetted both in terms of its legality and constitutionality,” said Nielsen. “Further, the attorney general’s office worded the initiative to ensure it was clear and unambiguous, then the voters approved it. Two years later, late on a Friday prior to a holiday weekend, our court decides it is unconstitutional. What it is, is that our court’s actions are unconscionable.”

Nielsen, a senior fellow with Discovery Institute’s American Center for Transforming Education recently authored Every School: One Citizen’s Guide To Transforming Education. In the book he outlines three specific changes dealing with teaching, leadership and governance that must happen if public education is to work for every child.

Nielsen added: “This state, has for years used state funds to finance non-public school education initiatives. This whole thing smells of politics, not the law.”

About Donald P. Nielsen: Nielsen is a Senior Fellow of Discovery Institute and chair of the Institute’s program on public education reform. From 1992 to 2008, Mr. Nielsen concentrated his activities in the field of public education. He traveled the country for two years studying America’s public education system and subsequently was elected to the Board of the Seattle Public Schools. He served on the board for eight years and was President of the Board in 2000-01. During his tenure, Mr. Nielsen and his colleagues oversaw major reforms to the Seattle Public School System that greatly enhanced the educational experience—and heightened achievement—for students, administrators, teachers, and parents.