Seattle teachers are on an illegal strike today. It’s all because the Washington Education Association (WEA) and its local affiliates are not pleased with the budgets proposed by the state Senate and state House—though it is only publically targeting the Republican-controlled state Senate for its budget. Both budgets assign funding to reduce class-sizes for Kindergarten through the 3rd grade, altering the WEA-sponsored Initiative 1351’s push for class-size reductions that would swell its union dues. In attempt to rally support, the WEA is telling rather tall tales to excuse their [illegal] reaction and create empathy.
Here are three lies the WEA is relying on:
- The teachers’ strikes are not illegal.
Local teachers unions—along with the WEA—are telling teachers that there is language in their contracts that permits them to “participate in a statewide action against the Legislature.” That claim is false. Teacher strikes are illegal in Washington State. The high-profile “walkouts” are not allowed under state law. The same law applies to all public employees at the state and local level.
- The illegal teachers’ strikes are not strikes. They are “protests.”
This word-change is a step below the previous claim. It’s the WEA’s attempt to justify the teachers’ strikes—which it knows are illegal—with a simple change in rhetoric. And, unfortunately, top Democrats are only too willing to aid the WEA in its deceptive messaging tactics. Not too long ago, Jay Inslee refused to call the recent illegal teachers’ strikes for what they are, strikes. Rather, our green governor chose to use the WEA’s wording, claiming that the strikes are not strikes, but “protests.”
- The Senate Republican budget would increase class sizes.
It’s unclear why the budget proposed by the Republican-controlled state Senate is anything to illegally strike about. Or, why the WEA is choosing such a ridiculous and deceitful line of attack against Republicans. Nearly half of the Republican budget is designated to education spending. In fact, Republicans increase spending from $15.3 billion to $18 billion. That’s a $2.7 billion biennial spending increase that includes $350 million to reduce Kindergarten through 3rd grade class sizes—the grades experts say class size reduction makes a difference. The House Democrats’ budget limits class size reduction to K-3 as well—but that’s not something you’ll hear the WEA publically lambasting.
The WEA—and its Democrat supporters—has added insult to injury by claiming the planned strikes are for the sake of children. As Shift previously stated, no matter what union leaders may say to excuse the illegal strikes, school districts, parents and students should take the strikes personally. The illegal strikes negatively impact school districts, they place undue strain on working families and they, effectively, punish students—an unjustifiable punishment meant to benefit unions, not children.