by Liv Finne
Washington Policy Center
February 20, 2014
Policy Brief
The Washington State Supreme Court McCleary decision has caused significant confusion among lawmakers, educators, parents and the general public. This important January 2012 ruling argued that the state legislature has failed to fulfill its paramount duty under the constitution to “make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders...” The uncertainty about the meaning of the McCleary decision has encouraged interest groups to quote selectively from its provisions to claim it requires the legislature to add more public money to their favored programs. A thorough reading of the decision, however, shows the Supreme Court judges found that simply adding more public money to the current school system is not sufficient for the legislature to meet its constitutional duty to provide for state education. The court ruled that effective reforms are needed and that only the legislature can enact these reforms.

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