The Washington Education Association has difficulty with understanding the difference between truths and lies. Unfortunately, more often than not, the money-grabbing union opts for lies to advance its rather selfish agenda. Such is the case with the WEA’s recent radio ad attacking state Senate Republicans for their 2015-17 budget plan.
The ad is set as a game show—complete with cheesy music—called, “You Can’t Be Serious!” Of course, the “game show” is really just a means to attack Senate Republicans via lies and distortions. Here are a couple examples of the lies in the ad:
– “State Senate Republicans just voted to actually increase class sizes even for kids in high-poverty schools.”
– “Senate Republicans also voted to shortchange schools for teachers and pay staff, yet the politicians themselves are likely getting an 11% pay increase.”
The first lie is nothing more than ridiculous. Republicans’ budget truly prioritizes education, spending about $1.3 billion to meet constitutional requirements as ordered in the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision. Nearly half of the budget is designated to education spending. Additionally, the GOP budget proposal—just like Democrats’ proposal—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.
The change aligns with research that shows reducing class sizes to the extent demanded by I-1351 has no impact after the 3rd grade – though it would create more dues-paying WEA members, which is the union’s primary goal. Unlike the Democrats’ plan, Republicans actually deal with I-1351 by sending the change back to voters in a referendum vote.
The second lie is not only absurd it is also highly misleading. 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. Unlike the House Democrats’ budget-busting spending plan, Republicans’ approach saves taxpayers another $150 million over two years.
Additionally, while state lawmakers may indeed to receive an 11% 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…” The Commission is set to make its final decision in May, lawmakers do not have a say.
Perhaps the WEA should be forced to write, “I shall not tell a lie” one hundred times as punishment for their outlandish lies—but, somehow, we don’t think it would make much of a difference in the future.