It’s no secret that the Washington Education Association’s (WEA) so-called class size initiative (I-1351) was presented to voters under a less than truthful guise. SHIFT reported time and time on the WEA’s true agenda for I-1351—an agenda that has little to do with helping improve our children’s education and a whole lot to do with the WEA grasping at more money and power.
One way WEA managed to pass I-1351—albeit by a narrow margin—was to convince Washington voters that our state is at the bottom of the national list for class sizes. Time and time again the WEA spouted the statistic that Washington State ranks 47th for class size. Well, don’t believe the hype as the Seattle Times recently put it.
Contrary to what the WEA would like voters to believe, Washington does not—in fact—rank 47th for class size. The statistic doesn’t even pertain to class sizes. Rather, it refers to the ratio of students to teacher—a number that even the National Education Association (the country’s largest teachers’ union) stated should not be confused with class size.
The Seattle Times points out that it could not actually find any real national ranking for class size. But, that doesn’t appear to concern the WEA. A union spokesperson told the Times that “it’s [the ratio figure] the only measurement available and has been used for years to quantify class size.” Essentially, the WEA knowingly deceived voters by presenting a statistic out of context and it doesn’t think that’s wrong.
As SHIFT recently reported, how the Legislature plans to deal with I-1351 now that the deceptive initiative has been passed is yet to be determined.