WASHINGTON, DC — As part of National Charter Schools Week, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools today honored Washington State Sen. Steve Litzow (R-Mercer Island) and Rep. Larry Springer (D-Kirkland) as Champions for Charter Schools, celebrating their efforts and deep-rooted commitment to advancing the growth and success of charter public schools in Washington state.
Sen. Litzow and Rep. Springer played a significant role in passing Washington’s new charter school law this year in response to a the state Supreme Court ruling in 2015 that threw out the voter-approved charter school law passed in 2012 by ballot initiative. Sen. Litzow spearheaded the passage of SB 6194, the charter school bill that mirrored the voter-approved 2012 initiative, with a fix to the funding stream. Rep. Springer was one of just 10 Democrats (out of 49) in the House to support the measure to save charter schools, which had been in limbo since the ruling in 2015. Throughout the Act Now for Washington Students campaign, Sen. Litzow and Rep. Springer listened to parent, student and educator voices and recognized the need to provide them with high-quality public education options.
As part of a decade-long tradition, the National Alliance honors individuals at the federal, state and local level who enrich the lives of students by leading the most impactful charter school initiatives and supporting charters as a high-quality public school option. Each year, these champions are announced during National Charter Schools Week.
“Sen. Litzow and Rep. Springer have not only given hope to the hundreds of parents who currently have their children attending charter public schools in Washington, but also to the thousands of others who will now have an opportunity to enroll their children in high-quality charter public schools in the future,” said Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “We commend and honor them for listening to parent, student and educator voices, and for recognizing the need for this public education option in the state of Washington.”
“We laud Sen. Litzow and Rep. Springer for their courageous leadership in crafting and ultimately passing a long-term solution that keeps existing schools open and creates a pathway for new high-quality public charter schools that all Washington students can access into the future,” said Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters) CEO Thomas Franta. “We are thrilled to be honoring these two pivotal legislative champions who insisted that all parents in Washington—not just those in some zip codes—have the right to choose the public school that best fits the needs of their child.”
Sen. Litzow and Rep. Springer are two of 10 leaders recognized as 2016 Champions for Charter Schools. Other champions include U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), Dallas Mayor Michael Rawlings (D), Indiana State Sen. Dennis Kruse, and Indiana State Rep. Robert Behning.