Republican legislators (and a handful of Democrats) fought to save voter-approved public charter schools during the 2016 legislative session, an action required after the state Supreme Court’s partisan decision outlawing them last year. Their efforts (and the efforts of charter school supports) paid off.
Just before finishing the regular session, the state Legislature passed a bill to save public charter schools and, although Jay Inslee chose not to sign in an act of political cowardice, it became law.
Unfortunately, the Washington Education Association (WEA) refuses to accept reality and allow thousands of underprivileged children attend their public charter schools. In another desperate effort to destroy charter schools, the WEA launched another lawsuit against them. The WEA’s new lawsuit claims that the changes made by lawmakers do not satisfy the liberal court decision.
Of course, the real reason behind the WEA’s lawsuit is the fact that the union does not get any money out of charter schools—the teachers don’t have to pay union dues. And, the WEA cannot accept the existence of educational institutions that they do not profit from.
The WEA has, time and time again, revealed its sad, power-play agenda. So, in light of the WEA’s latest aggression against public charter schools, we’ve put together a list of three times the WEA exposed its true, self-interested agenda. Without further ado:
- During the 2014 legislative session (and again during the 2015 legislative session), the WEA used its considerable influence over Democrat lawmakers to ensure the failure of a bill that complied with federal standards and protected the federal waiver. The U.S. Department of Education pulled Washington State’s No Child Left Behind waiver – the only state in the country to suffer such a fate – and our state lost control of nearly $40 million in federal grantsallocated to low-income children as a result of the WEA’s heavy-handed efforts.
Adding insult to injury, following the loss of the federal waiver, the WEA had the audacity—despite the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision—to dismiss the $40 million loss as insignificant. A WEA official actually stated that local school districts have a “huge amount of money” anyway.
- During the 2014 electoral cycle, the WEA pushed and managed to pass Initiative 1351, the so-called class size initiative. The WEA deceived voters by claiming that I-1351 funds teacher and not bureaucrats, and allows school districts flexibility if they are unable to accommodate smaller class sizes. Of course, the assertions were highly misleading.
I-1351 does not primarily add classroom teachers. Rather, if lawmakers would implement the initiative in full, new teachers only make up 29% of the 25,000 employees I-1351 promises. Over 17,000 are “support staff,” and 1,027 are “administrators.” All would pay union dues.
- Prior to the end of the 2015 legislative session, the WEA decided to express its displeasure with the 2015-17 budget proposal by organizing statewide illegal teachers’ strikes in an effort to pressure the state Legislature to direct more money to increases in teacher pay and benefits. As could be expected, the WEA only attacked Republican lawmakers even though the GOP budget did more for education than Democrats’ spending plan.
The WEA decided to continue leading illegal strikes when the most damage could be done: at the start of the school year. Teachers’ unions decided to strike at the beginning of the 2015 school year in order to cause as much disruption to working families and students as possible.
The WEA’s past proves that its true concern is not about furthering the education of the next generation. Rather, the WEA’s priority is about gaining more power [and money] at the expense of members and Washingtonians.
The union’s opposition to public charter schools is further proof of that reality.