The illegal teachers’ strikes—organized by the Washington Education Association (WEA) in school districts across the state—will have no impact on the state Legislature’s final education funding plans, according to the Olympian’s editorial board. The Olympian,
“First, on what planet do teachers expect lawmakers to come up with an “extra” $2.1 billion in new revenues to pay for the union-sponsored Initiative 1351, which mandated smaller classroom sizes? (Voters approved it last fall, apparently without understanding the price tag.)…
“Teachers going on pseudo-strikes – walkouts scheduled with management on mutually convenient dates, which require make-up days at the end of the year – aren’t going to change that.
“Lawmakers are already trying to increase school funding by about $1.4 billion in response to a Supreme Court ruling.”
The Olympian goes on to point out that both the state House and state Senate’s budget include cost-of-living-adjustments (COLA’s) for teachers and K-12 staffers. The illegal strikes have, in the end, only served to frustrate lawmakers (especially GOP state senators targeted by the WEA in attacks).
Certainly, it doesn’t take the Olympian editorial board’s latest piece to come to the realization that the illegal teachers’ strikes will have no impact on lawmakers’ final education funding plan. But, of course, that’s not what the illegal teachers’ strikes are really about. As Shift has pointed out, the illegal strikes appear to be more about engaging in a highly partisan attack on GOP lawmakers than anything else.
Spokane Education Association (SEA) President Jenny Rose recently admitted to the futility of the teachers’ strikes in a recent interview with the Spokesman-Review. Rose was asked, “One thing I wonder about the political reality of this is that lawmakers who are less likely to support more funding for schools already see the union as a problem. Does this walkout help you at all in terms of trying to persuade them?” Rose responded, “To be honest, I don’t think anything would persuade them.”
Of course, the obvious follow-up question (which the reporter failed to ask) is, “If nothing would persuade them, why put kids through this?”
During the course of the interview, Rose also claimed that the illegal teachers’ strikes “started organically.” That claim is false. In fact, the WEA began planning the strikes as early as last year. Minutes from a WEA meeting held on April 24, 2014reveal the union’s intention to organize illegal strikes—that’s long before lawmakers announced any plans for how they would proceed with education funding. The minutes read,
“That WEA prepare and organize a plan for a possible statewide action for the 2015-16 school year that may be implemented if the State Legislature suspends or eliminates the cost of living adjustment (COLA) for 2015-2016 by the end of the 2015 Legislative Session.
“WEA staff at the state and council level will work with local leaders to develop action plans appropriate to the local association and community. To the greatest extent possible, the statewide locally determined actions should involve external partners and serve to build support for and secure an ongoing and stable cost of living adjustment for public education employees.”
In the end, it’s further proof the illegal teachers’ strikes are—more than anything else—a highly partisan attack coordinated by the WEA.