Washington Law Review


L.K. Beale


Early American political thinkers deemed universal education essential to the proper functioning of a republican form of government. Accordingly, each state developed a public school system supported by general taxation. The Washington Constitution requires the system to be both "general" and "uniform." Common schools, for which certain school funds are constitutionally reserved, are the most important and only mandatory component of the system. Recent charter school proposals raise questions as to whether such institutions fit within a general and uniform system and whether they are "common schools" entitled to common school funds. In order to provide a framework for such an analysis, this Comment surveys the history and development of common schools in the United States and particularly in Washington State. It then interprets Washington's Education Article in light of the original purposes of state-funded public education and concludes that the concept of independent "charter" schools is inconsistent with the comprehensive constitutional plan.

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