Charter School Operators Deserve the Blame for Rushing to Open Charters Before Court Ruled

SupremeCourtJustices2014

Oh, please.

I have sympathy for the families who were duped into enrolling their children in charter schools before the court ruled today that they are unconstitutional, but I’ve absolutely no sympathy for the argument that the justices are somehow to blame. The court’s job is to interpret the constitution, and on this issue both the Washington State Constitution and 100 years of legal precedent are rather clear. It was never a sure thing that the court would rule Initiative 1240 unconstitutional because court rulings almost never are, but it was always more likely than not.

Article IX, Section 2 of the constitution plainly reads: “the entire revenue derived from the common school fund and the state tax for common schools shall be exclusively applied to the support of the common schools.” Clear enough. The whole case hinged on the legal definition of “common schools,” and since School District No. 20 v. Bryan in 1909 it has always been this:

a common school, within the meaning of our constitution, is one that is common to all children of proper age and capacity, free, and subject to and under the control of the qualified voters of the school district. The complete control of the schools is a most important feature, for it carries with it the right of the voters, through their chosen agents, to select qualified teachers, with powers to discharge them if they are incompetent.

Charters, with their unelected appointed boards, totally outside the control of voters, clearly do not meet Bryan’s definition of common schools. I supposed the court could have engaged in judicial activism by futzing the issue for the sake of political expediency. Or perhaps it could have overturned the clear precedent established in Bryan. But there was no good reason to expect that the court would.

If I had to bet money I would have bet that I-1240 would be ruled unconstitutional, at least in part. And anybody with any experience reading the law could have at least foreseen this possibility. Hell, a lower court had already ruled as much!

And yet, charter school operators rushed to start up charters before the court released its opinion—perhaps betting that the court would be loath to dismantle the schools once established. If that was their gambit, they gambled and lost. Or rather, the children enrolled in these schools lost, victims of a stupid if not cynical effort to start up charter schools before the charter school law was legally settled.

Argue all you want with the legal reasoning behind the court’s 6-3 decision—the dissent makes a reasonably argument as well. But the point here is that this ruling was always possible if not likely, and thus it was irresponsible bordering on malpractice to open charter schools to enrollment before the legal issues were fully settled. It’s not the justices who are to blame for the predicament these charter school students find themselves in, it’s the charter school operators who opened their schools knowing full well that the court might soon deliver a legally mortal blow.

Open Thread 9-4-2015

- I’m taking Monday off for Labor Day. Do you guys want an Open Thread on Tuesday-Thursday or to wait until Wednesday?

– I support the Seattle teachers.

If you peruse conservative media, it becomes clear that they’re more bent out of shape about Obama letting Alaska name its own mountain than they are about this woman’s supposed martyrdom.

There Is No Ferguson Effect

– Finally a place where cars and bikes can gang up on other people. I don’t mind waiting at drawbridges that much, but I don’t bike past a bridge for my commute (generally).

Civil Liberties Roundup

Last week, a boat carrying migrants and refugees from North Africa sank in the Mediterranean. Of the 300,000 plus who’ve attempted the journey to Europe this year, about 2,500 have died. In Austria, children crammed into a van were rescued, while others weren’t so lucky. And after pictures of a young Kurdish child washed up on a Turkish beach appeared in newspapers around the world this week, the humanity behind this crisis seemed to jolt the world closer to the response required.

In Syria alone, the refugee crisis is enormous. But that’s still only a part of the overall influx of those desperate to find a safer home for themselves and their families. I really don’t have anything more to say about this other than that this is an enormous tragedy that the wealthy nations of the world helped to bring about, and one that it can and should fix. But I have very little confidence that they will.

More news from the past two weeks…
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good faith fear

Jesus (video plays automatically at the link).

The Thurston County Prosecutor announced that the Olympia police officer who shot two men earlier this year will not face criminal charges.

Thurston County Prosecutor Jon Tunheim said that assault charges have been filed against Bryson Chaplin, 21, and Andre Thompson, 24. They are scheduled to be in court on September 22.

Tunheim said Officer Ryan Donald was “acting without malice” and had a “good faith fear” when he shot two men in May.

In documents released by the sheriff’s office last week, Donald reported that one of the men had been threatening him with a skateboard before the shooting.

Coming at a person with a skateboard is obviously not OK, if that’s what those people did (and let’s be honest, at this point we can’t take a cop’s word for these sorts of things). But even if you accept that’s what they did, it’s not something to get shot over.

Cops should be calming these situations down, not pulling out and using deadly weapons. They have Tasers and other non-lethal methods (not that those are without problems, but they aren’t bullets). So once again, I’ll say if police can’t do their job while armed, we should take away their guns.

Poll Analysis: Clinton trumps Walker

Clinton
Walker
99.5% probability of winning
0.5% probability of winning
Mean of 317 electoral votes
Mean of 221 electoral votes


Electoral College Map

AlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareFloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLousianaMaineMarylandMassachusettesMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirginiaD.C.WashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming

Electoral College Map

GeorgiaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoDelawareConnecticutFloridaMississippiAlabamaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirginiaD.C.WashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming

Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) started out the election season with much buzz. But at this point, pollsters seem less interested in him, so there isn’t a lot of really current polling that pits him against a Democrat. There are only 83 state polls matching up Walker to Hillary Clinton (Jeb Bush has 212 such polls). Consequently, Walker at a bit of a disadvantage, since most of the polls were taken when Clinton was polling more strongly against all opponents.

No biggie…this is a shakedown for these analyses, so I’ll post it with the caveat that there just isn’t enough recent polling for this match-up. Perhaps pollsters will soon find reason to be more interested in the Governor.

After 100,000 simulated elections, Clinton wins 99,503 times and Walker wins 497 times (including the 103 ties). Clinton received (on average) 317 to Walker’s 221 electoral votes. In an election held now, Clinton would have a 99.5% probability of winning and Walker would have a 0.5% probability of winning.

Clinton tends to win in the classic swing states of Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan as well as Nevada and New Mexico. But the most remarkable thing about these results is how poorly Walker does in his home state of Wisconsin. Here’s the polling picture:

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Happy Anniversary, Brownie!

Ten years ago today I received the following email from an HA reader:

I think I’ve told you that I’m into Arab horses. Well, for 3 years Michael Brown was hired and then fired by our IAHA, the International Arabian Horse Assoc. He was an unmitigated, total fucking disaster. I was shocked as hell when captain clueless put him in charge of FEMA a couple of years ago. He or the WH lied on the WH presser announcing him to FEMA. IAHA was never connected to the Olympic Comm, only the half Arab registry then and the governing body to the state and local Arabian horse clubs. He ruined IAHA financially so badly that we had to change the name and combine it with the Purebred registry.

I am telling you this after watching the fucking shipwreck in the Gulf. His incompetence is KILLING people.

After a little bit of sleuthing I turned the tip above into this scathing post that quickly went viral, transforming FEMA’s inadequate response to the tragedy in New Orleans into a national conversation about cronyism. Within days, FEMA director Mike Brown was out of a job. A month later, while testifying before congress, Brown would blame HorsesAss.org by name for his agency’s failures:

The path this story took—from a single reader’s small piece of specialized knowledge, to a local blogger, to a national blog, to the national media—may not be the first example of the transformative power of blogging. But it’s certainly one of the clearest. And I’ll always be proud to have played my little role.

Drinking Liberally — Seattle

DLBottleIt’s Tuesday…and that’s Drinking Liberally night in Seattle. So please join us for an evening of politics over a pint at the Seattle Chapter of Drinking liberally.

We meet tonight and every Tuesday at the Roanoke Park Place Tavern, 2409 10th Ave E, Seattle. You’ll find us in the small room at the back of the tavern. Our starting time is 8:00 pm, but some folks stop by even earlier for dinner.

Can’t make it to Seattle tonight? Check out one of the other DL meetings this week. The Long Beach, Tri-Cities and West Seattle chapters also meet tonight. The Lakewood chapter meets on Wednesday. On Thursday, the Tacoma chapter meets. And next Monday, the Yakima and South Bellevue chapters meet.

There are 184 chapters of Living Liberally, including eighteen in Washington state, four in Oregon and two in Idaho. Chances are good there’s a chapter meeting near you.

Ross Hunter retires from the legislature

Ross Hunter is retiring from the legislature effective RIGHT NOW to head the state Department of Early Learning.

Hunter will start in the $150,000 a year job next Tuesday. He takes over at a time when the state is placing a major emphasis, and increased money, into early learning programs. He said he views the “opportunity to improve outcomes for hundreds of thousands of at-risk children (as) incredibly compelling.”

His departure could set off a scramble among senior Democrats for the job of House Appropriations Committee chairman, a powerful position that has major influence on how the state spends billions of dollars in its operating budget. The chairman of the Finance Committee, which sets taxes, may also be leaving. Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, has announced plans to seek a Senate seat if its current occupant, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, wins a seat on the King County Council in November.

Hunter has a long list of accomplishments, but mostly I’ll remember him saying on Podcasting Liberally that people should vote for him for exec because he couldn’t figure out the Metro Trip Planner. Anyway, I’m sure he’ll be good at his new job.

Is there anyone you’d like to see replace Hunter, either in the district or as the main budget person for for the House Dems?

Poll Analysis: Clinton–Bush head-to-head state polls

Clinton
Bush
56.0% probability of winning
44.0% probability of winning
Mean of 273 electoral votes
Mean of 265 electoral votes


Electoral College Map

AlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareFloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLousianaMaineMarylandMassachusettesMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirginiaD.C.WashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming

Electoral College Map

GeorgiaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoDelawareConnecticutFloridaMississippiAlabamaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirginiaD.C.WashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming

Poll analyses are back! Yes…after about four years of rest, I’ve decided to get back into the poll analysis business. If you are unfamiliar with my analyses, take a look at the FAQ. This is a shakedown run with a new HA template, so feel free to mention quirks or problems in the comment thread.

I’ve started with a match-up between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. I know, I know, it should be a match-up against Donald Trump instead of Bush. The problem is, there are a total of 20 state head-to-head polls available that match-up Hillary and Donald. For Clinton–Bush match-ups at the state level, there are 212 polls. Apparently, pollsters haven’t quite gotten serious about Trump. I expect that most state head-to-head polls will start including him, however.

For the same reason—lack of state head-to-head polling—I cannot really provide analyses for Sanders, O’Malley, Webb, Biden, Warren, Warner, Cuomo, Schweitzer, or any other Democrat (for now). I will, however, do Republicans other than Jeb Bush, because the polling exists.

After 100,000 simulated elections, Hillary Clinton wins 56,003 times and Bush wins 43,997 times (including the 2,369 ties, which go to the Republican for 2016). Clinton received (on average) 273 to Bush’s 265 electoral votes. In an election held now, Clinton would be expected to win with a 56.0% probability and Bush with a 44.0% probability. That is a close result…damn near a tie.

I remind you that these analyses are driven by state head-to-head polls, not national polls. The state-wide polls are aggregated in a way that emulates the electoral college.

A peek at the long term trend is given after the jump….
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open thread 8-31

- Another Birthright Citizenship link in an open thread. This time from Eric Foner in The Nation.

– Other than the legitimate dome-related questions I raised on Twitter, my main issue with Walker’s Canada wall idea is will it go all the way to the Beaufort Sea?

– Seattle, nice job using somewhat less water.

– Feminist_Tinder is pretty funny.

– I’m not a big fan of country music, but I found this analysis of some Martina McBride songs interesting.

God-Man! (with minor character God-Girl)

Why Won’t the NFL Let Me (Legally) Stream Eagles’ Games?

I am not a Seahawks fan. I will never be a Seahawks fan. At best, I couldn’t give a flying fuck about the Seahawks; at worst, I root against them, if only to return the schadenfreude some local friends and family members have enjoyed in rubbing the Seahawks’ recent success in my face.

One score and seven years since leaving my native Philadelphia, I remain a loyal Eagles fan. And any Seahawks fan who questions the depth of my unswerving loyalty doesn’t really deserve the designation “fan” at all. (Note: this is different from all you Packers fans and Cowboys fans who have no geographic or familial connection to your teams. You’re just assholes.)

Which brings me to my annual preseason rant: Why won’t the NFL let me pay to watch my team?

Yes, DirecTV offers a streaming only version of its NFL Sunday Ticket, but I’m not sure to whom—every zip code I plug in doesn’t qualify. And even if I did qualify, I’m not sure I’d be willing to pay $400 (plus tax, I presume) for 10 or so Eagles games (some are available broadcast, others I’ll miss due to other commitments), let alone the minimum $1,000 or so a year it would cost to fully subscribe to DirectTV and Sunday Ticket.

I don’t want to purchase every out-of-market game. I just want the out-of-market games of one team. My team. The Philadelphia Eagles. So why won’t the NFL let me stream my games legally?

Charge me a reasonable price for a high-quality stream of just one team—say, $200 a season, or maybe $15 a game—and I’ll happily pay it. But if the NFL continues to put its head in the sand and pretend expatriate fans like me don’t have other options, don’t blame us if we look to the black market.

HA Bible Study: Genesis 11:10-24

Genesis 11:10-24
Two years after the flood, when Shem was one hundred, he had a son named Arpachshad. He had more children and died at the age of six hundred. This is a list of his descendants:

When Arpachshad was thirty-five, he had a son named Shelah. Arpachshad had more children and died at the age of four hundred thirty-eight.

When Shelah was thirty, he had a son named Eber. Shelah had more children and died at the age of four hundred thirty-three.

When Eber was thirty-four, he had a son named Peleg. Eber had more children and died at the age of four hundred sixty-four.

When Peleg was thirty, he had a son named Reu. Peleg had more children and died at the age of two hundred thirty-nine.

When Reu was thirty-two he had a son named Serug. Reu had more children and died at the age of two hundred thirty-nine.

When Serug was thirty, he had a son named Nahor. Serug had more children and died at the age of two hundred thirty.

When Nahor was twenty-nine, he had a son named Terah. Nahor had more children and died at the age of one hundred forty-eight.

Discuss.

Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza!

Mark Fiore: Smokey the Climate Scientist.

Mental Floss: Does ginger ale really help with stomach aches?

The 2016 Clown Show:

Mental Floss: Misconceptions about cancer.

Young Turks: Terrorist attempts to bomb abortion clinic.

Gunzzzz:

Mental Floss: 31 amazing facts about household items.

Bill Maher with some New Rules.

White House: West Wing Week.

New Orleans, Ten Years after Katrina:

Sam Seder: FAUX News, “It’s hard out there for white people”.

Congressional hits and misses: Best of Ted Cruz.

Eric Schwartz: Fuck You:

Nuclear Football:

Slate: What is sex like in space?

Last week’s Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza can be found here.

Downtown Seattle: where you “deserve” to be beaten and robbed

Three tourists from Rhode Island were beaten, burned and robbed outside the 3rd Avenue transit tunnel entrance on Monday night. Why am I not surprised?

The 3rd and Pike area is so terrible that it has it’s own Twitter feed. On most days the tunnel entrance and sidewalk outside are full of drug dealers and thugs who fuck with people coming in and out of the tunnel. I stopped using that tunnel entrance and now use the one across the street next to Macy’s because of this reason. The King County Sheriff department seems to be less interested in providing security and more interested in getting themselves fired. The city and SPD have tried with the 9 1/2 block strategy to reform the area, and it has had some success, apparently not as much as could have been hoped for.

My favorite part (if you want to call it that) of the incident is this:

Police arrived at the scene, but the group of suspects had fled. However, officers did arrest one man at the scene after he interfered with medics’ efforts to treat the victims, and told the victims they “deserved’ to be beaten and robbed. Police are investigating whether the man was also involved in the robbery.

If you have anything to share regarding the crime, you can contact the SPD Robbery Unit at (206) 684-5535.