Democrat State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) Randy Dorn recently gave an interview with King 5 News in which he—in a very bizarre manner—lambasted lawmakers for not taking education funding more seriously. Specifically, Dorn referred to the activist state Supreme Court’s contempt decision that resulted in a $100,000 per day McCleary-related on taxpayers. Via King 5, Dorn went after the legislature:
“They gotta start doing their job. They took an oath of office: paramount duty, uniform system, ample funding. Fifth graders know that ample is more than average.”
Dorn went on to question whether or not even 12 to 14 legislators “actually understand the education issue and McCleary.” The implication is that he, Randy Dorn, stands above all the rest in his understanding of the court’s decision.
Of course, Dorn conveniently ignores the fact that the legislature did not prioritize public school spending when he was a member of the ruling Democrat caucus in the State House of Representatives, from 1987-94. Guess he learned about the need for more state funding for public schools when he was the excutive director of a public school union prior to getting elected SPI director in 2008.
When questioned, Dorn would not rule out the possibility of running for re-election or—bizarrely enough—for governor. Of course, an Inslee-Dorn face-off in the primary would be rather entertaining.
As if his previous statements were not enough, Dorn continued to demonstrate the delusion of Democrats by refusing to lay blame where blame is due. Dorn said that he blames “the whole state” and himself for education underfunding. While we can’t disagree with him on the latter point, Dorn is more than a little disingenuous in his obvious avoidance of the facts.
As Shift has pointed out time and time again, Democrats have been underfunding public education and higher education spending for a generation. They have controlled at least one house of the Legislature in 28 of the last 30 years – and had complete control of the Legislature in 14 of those years – including five of the years Dorn was in the state House.
Further, a Democrat governor has signed every state budget since 1985. Under these heavily Democrat-controlled budgets, the ratio of new education spending versus non-education spending was 1:2 (in other words, the Democrats’ priority was two dollars for bigger general government for every new dollar of education funding).
It took Republican leadership in the state Senate, starting in 2013, to make any sort of progress in public school funding. It’s due to Senate Republicans that our budget now prioritizes education spending. Unfortunately, that’s not something Dorn is prepared to admit.