The Washington Education Association (WEA) is billing its latest money grab, I-1351, as a smaller class size initiative. But, as SHIFT has reported in the past, while I-1351’s public relations positioning may sound noble, but its true purpose is much more sinister.
In reality, I-1351 is about increasing union dues and gaining control of the Legislature’s purse strings, not about benefitting children’s futures. The union just wants to cut in the legislative funding line, and not wait its turn for salary (and dues) money.
The News Tribune recognized this and has come out in adamant opposition to I-1351. A recent editorial accuses the WEA of “malicious mischief” and warns it that a vote for its imitative would pose a “grave threat to Washington’s safety net – to funding for foster children, early learning, homeless families, foster children and the mentally ill.”
And, just weeks away from the November elections, it now appears that a handful of state Democrats are willing to go public with their opposition to I-1351. The Washington Policy Center (WPC) reports that, last week, the 43rd District Democrats in Seattle refused to endorse the WEA’s money grab. Democrat state senators Jamie Pedersen (D-43, Capitol Hill) and Jeanne Kohl-Wells (D-Seattle), along with Representative Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle), rank among the very few Democrat legislators to publically oppose the deceptive initiative. All explain their opposition by admitting that I-1351 would complicate the Legislature’s ability to fulfill its constitutional duty concerning the McCleary decision and would add billions in new costs while busting the state budget .
Jay Inslee has yet to say anything definitive about I-1351, or declare any concerns he might have about its hidden agenda and consequences. Of course, Inslee has a track record of being very good to his major campaign donors. So, considering the WEA donated $1 million to Inslee’s 2012 gubernatorial bid, Inslee isn’t likely to upset the WEA over a little thing like the future of education in our state.