Coalition’s suit challenges state’s charter-schools law

The drama over whether to allow charter schools in Washington state is getting another act.

A coalition led by the state teachers union filed a long-awaited lawsuit Wednesday, turning to the courts after state voters narrowly approved the schools on supporters’ fourth attempt last November.

The claim that charters violate the state constitution is the latest move in Washington’s nearly two-decade fight over charters, which are free and public but independent schools that are allowed to use unusual — and sometimes controversial — methods.

Charter schools exist in more than 40 states, although they have proved divisive across the country.

In Washington, a state commission established under last November’s initiative is laying the groundwork for charters, with a goal of opening the first ones in fall 2014.

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