A Superior Court judge in Alameda County has thrown out the State Board of Education’s approval for Aspire Public Schools to open charters throughout the state, bypassing local school districts. Judge Jo-Lynne Lee has given Aspire a year to obtain local charters for the half-dozen schools it now operates under the State Board’s authority.
Lee’s 29-page ruling, issued last week, is a win for the three Education Coalition groups suing the State Board over its discretion to issue a “statewide benefit charter,” a type of charter that can be granted to an effective organization that can prove its schools will provide a distinct value to the state. The State Board has granted a statewide benefit charter to three charter organizations – Aspire, High Tech High, and Magnolia Public Schools. (Of the three, Magnolia, which is being investigated in other states for its ties to the Gulen movement in Turkey and alleged hiring preferences for Turkish teachers, is the most controversial.)