The Washington Education Association (WEA) is attempting to convince Washington voters to pass its latest power-grab—Initiative 1351—through deceptive means. In the past, SHIFT has reported that I-1351 is not really about smaller class size—though that is what WEA would like voters to believe. Rather, I-1351 is about adding more money to the WEA’s already substantial coffers. Moreover, by piggybacking on the McCleary Decision, the initiative is the WEA’s last ditch effort to shift powers of discretionary spending from the state Legislature to itself.
Q13 Fox recently reported another way the WEA is not telling the whole truth about I-1351. Multiple ads supporting I-1351 make the claim that Washington State currently ranks 47th out of 50 in class sizes. The ads cite a 2012 study conducted by the National Education Association as the source.
The statistic is misleading because it does not take into account the fact that Legislature has—since 2012—added “$119 million to reduce sizes in same kindergarten and first-grade classes.” The dishonest statistic is symptomatic of the bigger problem plaguing I-1351—the WEA simply fails to tell voters the unaltered truth. It relies on voters feeling they are voting for “apple pie and puppies,” and not a significant threat to our state’s budget and legislative process.