In a move that fits perfectly into the mold of irrelevance that has defined his so-called “leadership” of Washington State, Jay Inslee did not act on voter-approved pubic charter schools. Instead, our green governor allowed the bill that lawmakers passed to save charter schools to become law without his signature.
No governor has opted to allow a bill to become law without their signature since 1981.
Inslee said of his decision, “Despite my deep reservations about the weakness of the taxpayer accountability provisions, I will not close schools.” In other words, he would not support public charter schools either.
In a battle between the public’s will to save voter-approved charter schools and the Washington Education Association’s (WEA) war against public charter schools, Inslee chose to do nothing.
It is a weak leader’s way out of not taking a stance on an issue that is critical to the future of our state.
Democrat State Rep. Larry Springer, who supported the bill to save charter school, said that he believed Inslee “probably took the best path he could, politically, with most Democrats against the bill, along with many parents and the powerful teachers union.”
The statement was Springer’s way of defending Inslee’s non-action. But, likely inadvertently, it exposed the core problem of our green governor’s entire gubernatorial term thus far.
Inslee’s non-action was political maneuvering.
When Inslee reviewed the prospect of thousands of children (most of whom are unprivileged) losing their schools, he saw a partisan issue. And, when Inslee contemplated the choice of whether or not to shutdown schools that have a proven track record of improving test scores for underprivileged children, he viewed the decision as a political game that he must (some way or another) win.
Hyper-partisan political maneuvering has defined Inslee’s “leadership” of our state thus far. Time and time again, our green governor worked to prove his loyalty to his special interests campaign supporters. Whenever possible, Inslee moved to support the agenda of special interests.
The same cannot be said of Inslee’s commitment to what is best for Washingtonians. In fact, our green governor has a proven record of choosing special interests over working families.
And, should public opinion and potential electoral backlash block his path to supporting the agenda of special interest, Inslee has simply chosen not act. Inslee’s refusal to take a stance on public charter schools follows this pattern of weak “leadership,” especially when it comes to improving education in our state.
During the 2014 elections, WEA pushed Initiative 1351, the so-called class size initiative. Simply put, the initiative was a money-grab disguised as a smaller-class size measure. Though the initiative threatened to cost state taxpayers $4.7 billion and carried no funding mechanism, Inslee refused to publicly state his position on the issue.
It was only on election night (after it was too late to make a difference either way) that Inslee finally made it clear to the public that he did not, in fact, support I-1351.
Inslee’s failure to take a stance on I-1351—despite all its negatives—was not a surprise. Just like it is not a surprise that Inslee did not sign the bill to save charter schools.
The WEA donated $1 million to Inslee’s gubernatorial bid and, as we all know, he needs its financial support in 2016. In the end, it’s not about doing what’s best for working families for Inslee. Rather, it’s about giving his donors a substantial return on their investments in his political fortunes.
Inslee faced a dilemma. Advocates of charter schools have nakedly played politics with the futures of the children entrusted to their care, setting up charter schools while knowing there was a serious court challenge against the enabling legislation. Their intent, now realized, was the cynical use of these children as pawns to advance their political agenda. (And, let’s be clear: anyone who intentionally puts the education of a child in jeopardy has instantly and forever forfeit all claim to be an advocate for children.)
Inslee has campaigned against charter schools, and while Shift has no problem with politicians rampantly, opportunistically, and contemptuously breaking their promises to voters, Gov. Inslee does not agree with Shift on that. Instead of breaking faith with the majority of Washington voters who had believed him, he kept his promise — while ransoming the childrens’ educations which have been cynically held hostage by the manipulative and heartless advocates of charter schools.
Taking a bad situation and making the best of it Is called great leadership. Little wonder Shift just can’t recognize that upon seeing it.
Jim Thomas says
Sorry, that logic is flawed….leaders lead…not sit on their behinds while life goes by…
What would you have had him do — break his promise, violate his principles, because children were used as pawns against him in a political fight?
How about you show your logic? What would you have done?
I would have had him take some kind of action, one way or another. Either keep his promise to the voters and sign it or keep his promise to the WEA and veto it. But being an election year and trying desperately not to piss off his benefactors or voters, he courageously chose to do nothing. He didn’t even have to be here to not violate his lofty principles and take his inaction. He could have been on a state visit to North Carolina while it became law, and nobody would have missed him or cared that he banned state travel there. Logic says that’s irrelevance
“Either keep his promise to the voters and sign it…”
He campaigned against charter schools. Signing it would have violated his promise, not kept it.
“…keep his promise to the WEA and veto it.”
Which would have thrown children out of school, when the state’s paramount duty is to provide for the educations of all children who reside here.
Look, those children should never have been in that position, but the school-privatizers cynically played politics with those children’s educations. Inslee did the best he could in defusing a hostage crisis which had been manufactured by his opponents for their own political gain.
Exactly. The Supreme Court should have had the children in mind when they made their WEA backed decision to strike down charter schools on semantics. Maybe you can tell me why the Washington Education Association would want children to be thrown out of school? With a name like that, a logical person would assume they WANT to have children in school, not to file lawsuits to keep children out of school. Perhaps it’s just another deflection of the truth like “Mom’s (Bloomberg) demand action (confiscation)”
“He campaigned against charter schools”
So what? He’s not candidate Greenie anymore. Unfortunately , he’s Governor Greenie now, for a little while longer, anyway. The citizens spoke and they said “charter schools”. He could either accept the will of the people and sign the bi-partisan bill into law, take a stand with the WEA and throw children out of school, or take the cowardly way out and do nothing. A true leader would follow the will of the people, despite what they did or didn’t campaign on. Do Democratic Socialists think life is an endless campaign?
“recognize great leadership when they see it”
Yeah, we’re still waiting to see it. You communists… sorry, “democratic socialists” recognize great leadership by the (D) after their name. Inslee “faced a dilemma” and chose to do nothing. For the first in 35 years, our dynamic leader chose to let a bill become law without his signature. Quite an accomplishment. He could have taken a stand with the WEA, against his constituents and vetoed the bi-partisan bill. How well did that work out in budget negotiations? Oh yeah, his own party, his fellow travelers in the House voted to override 27 out of 27 vetoes he made in a snit. What great leadership. Remind me, which number of his 75 point plan he campaigned on was standing with the WEA at all costs? Dear Leader took that awesome historical stand against I-1351 on election night after everybody had voted. Powerful. What’s amazing is it has taken a “leader” this spectacularly incompetent to finally turn the governors office.
“And, let’s be clear: anyone who intentionally puts the education of a child in jeopardy has instantly and forever forfeit (sic) all claim to be an advocate for children”
I agree, the WEA long ago forfeited all claims of being an advocate for anything but themselves.
inslee “faced a dilemma” and chose to do nothing.
Yep, just like our state Constitution provides. He kept his promise to the majority who had elected him, without giving into the hostage-takers who’d cynically used children as human shields for their own political purposes. Well done, Governor!
“He kept his promise to the majority who had elected him, without giving into the hostage-takers who’d cynically used children as human shields for their own political purposes”
Wouldn’t actually signing the legislation into law “keep his promise” to the majority who elected him better than to just let it happen by neglect? For the first time in 35 years? How is doing nothing “not giving in” to something that will happen with or without you? How does he “keep his promise” to the majority who voted for charter schools? How about charter schools held together with NRA stickers? Enlighten me with details, comrade.