The Washington Education Association (WEA)—our state’s powerful teachers union—just can’t seem to help itself. Once again, the WEA is actively campaigning to place its own interests ahead of our children—all under the guise of improving education.
The power union’s latest self-serving mission is to place Initiative 1351 on the ballot. The measure, written and promoted by the WEA, promises to reduce class sizes. Conveniently, the measure makes no mention of how to pay for smaller class sizes. However noble its mission may sound, the initiative disingenuous.
As the Seattle Times editorializes, the initiative is “really about who calls the shots on state education spending.” It’s all about power, control and money—the very things by which the WEA thrives.
In McCleary v. State of Washington, the state Supreme Court left control over how to spend billions more on education to lawmakers. The last thing the WEA wants is a thoughtful debate on education spend in the legislature about “reforms, accountability and student outcomes.” The WEA wants that power, not accountability—hence, Initiative 1351. The Seattle Times,
“Initiative 1351 offers a different answer: the union’s. Its vision is all about money, and it would lock the state into a hiring spree that would be difficult to reverse.
“The measure would require the state to hire some 12,000 new teachers — new union members, most likely… By the 2017-2019 budget period, a legislative estimate suggests it would cost state government $3.4 billion and local school districts even more…”
Initiative 1351 is just the latest in the WEA’s political tricks. It would dangerously restrict the legislative process by “piggybacking on McCleary” to take the power of the purse away from elected legislators and it in the hands of the WEA.
Legislators are already “tentatively planning” to reduce “K-3 class sizes at a cost of about $1 billion.” Initiative 1351 “adds another $2.5 billion in spending on top of that, none of which counts toward the McCleary obligation of fully funding basic education.” And, with no way of paying for the added expenses without cutting other services and programs.
Don’t be fooled by Initiative 1351’s mission to reduce class sizes—that is not the measure’s true purpose. Initiative 1351 is about union dues. It’s all about more control and more money for an already powerful union.