The Washington Education Association (WEA) organized statewide illegal teachers’ strikes in an effort to pressure the state Legislature to direct more money to increases in teacher pay and benefits. The WEA is not happy with the 2015-17 budget proposed by the state Senate – or even the spending proposal from state House that does not even reach budget status because it is not balanced — though, thus far, the WEA has only attacked the Republican-controlled state Senate for its plan.
The GOP budget proposal— like the Democrats’ spending wish list—assigns funding to reduce class-sizes for Kindergarten through the 3rd grade, altering the WEA-sponsored Initiative 1351’s push for class-size reductions that would swell its union dues. It is also a budget that truly prioritizes education. Nearly half of the budget is designated to education spending– the highest percentage of the state budget for public schools in a generation.
The WEA signaled what the illegal strikes were truly about when it decided to exclusively attack Republicans, though the GOP budget does more for education than Democrats’ spending plan. The illegal teachers’ strikes are—perhaps more than anything—highly partisan attacks against Republicans. But, they are also about advancing the WEA’s rather selfish interests (more WEA members means more union dues) even at the expense of our children—strikes hurt students and their families.
Check out three signs that speak volumes of the WEA’s true priorities concerning the illegal teachers’ strikes.
1. The following sign specifically targets top GOP budget writer state Sen. Andy Hill. The far-left—including the WEA—is threatened by Hill’s growing popularity (a result of his responsible leadership record). It is proof of the hyper-partisan nature of the illegal teachers’ strikes.
2. The sign below illustrates the WEA’s exclusive attack on state Senate Republicans. It accuses the Senate (and notably leaves out the state House) of ignoring voters, defying the Supreme Court, cheating kids all while receiving an 11% raise. You can check out the truth of what Senate Republicans’ budget actually does for education here.
The WEA has used the 11 percent pay raise as a means to attack Senate Republicans—it is, simply put, an outlandish lie. First, the Senate Republican budget does, in fact, grant teachers and other school employees annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) based on inflation. The COLA raises are in-line with the plan originally approved by voters with Initiative 732 in 2000.
Second, while state lawmakers will indeed to receive an 11 percent pay bump, to suggest that it is the idea of Republicans is an outrageous misrepresentation of reality. In January, the Washington Citizens’ Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials—a Commission of 17 unpaid, citizen members—voted 9-5 to support the proposal that would give lawmakers a raise. The Commission made its decision after hearing an appeal by Democrats state Senate Minority Leader Sharon Nelson “to consider an increase so the ‘best and the brightest’ in Washington can afford to serve in the Legislature…”
3. Most rational people would confidentially say that legislators do not, in fact, hate kids. The shock factor of the sign below is just for public relations, and a few chuckles down at the union hall. The most important part of the sign is actually the “stop testing” demand that follows. You see, the WEA does not want student test scores to be used as any aspect of teacher evaluations—not even 1% – because that might involve accountability. The WEA has even been willing to sacrifice control of a whopping $40 million in federal funding designated to helping low-income children to get its way on this issue.
As a side note, Jay Inslee says teachers are not on strike. Rather, he claims the illegal strikes are protests. Question for Inslee: If what he says is true, then why do all the WEA’s signs use the word “strike”?