A new TV ad from the Washington Education Association’s (WEA) “It’s TIME” campaign began airing yesterday. The ad features a line-up of the WEA’s go-to, feel good talking points on smaller class sizes. Without mentioning it by name, the ad specifically advocates on behalf of Initiative 1351—the WEA’s latest money grab initiative. It urges viewers to tell their legislators to “do their jobs” and “reduce class sizes for all students.”
The truly ridiculous—and hypocritical—part of the WEA’s messaging strategy is its heavy reliance on emphasizing the importance of reducing class sizes for low-income, “high poverty” schools. The truth is that the WEA is not interested in the success of low-income students. The WEA’s only real interest is itself.
The WEA proved this when it insisted that Democrat lawmakers vote against a bill last year that would allow Washington State to retain an important federal waiver by simply incorporating student test scores on standardized exams as one aspect of teacher evaluations. The WEA strong-armed Democrats in the state Senate—who, of course, bowed to its pressure—and our state lost control of $40 million in federal funding designated to helping low-income, under-privileged students.
Following the loss, the WEA had the audacity—in the budget age of 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.
Unfortunately, the WEA is still attempting to deprive low-income school districts control of federal funding. This legislative session, the Republican-controlled state Senate passed a bill that would allow Washington State to regain its federal waiver—despite the WEA’s best efforts to thwart the bill. The Democrat-controlled state House has yet to pass the legislation. The WEA has turned its full lobbying force toward ensuring it stays that way.
The WEA, on its webpage featuring its TV ad, praises lobbyists for telling lawmakers that “instead of passing politically driven legislation tying test scores to teacher evaluations… the Legislature needs to focus on its constitutional paramount duty – fully funding K-12 public schools.” Of course, the WEA fails to recognize that the only ones politicizing a very simple, straightforward issue is itself. The WEA also fails to recognize that it has Democrat lawmakers—the very lawmakers it spends millions of dollars to getting elected—to thank for our state’s failure to fully fund K-12 education in budget after budget. Democrats have controlled Olympia for the last 30 years. It’s only under recent Republican leadership in the state Senate that our state has made any strides in turning spending priorities back to education.
The WEA will never admit the truth, about itself or the Democrat lawmakers it supports. That’s because the WEA does not truly care about the issues it claims to care about. The WEA proved time and time again that it is mainly interested in its own finances and influence in the political system, while denying new learning opportunities to help children get a better start in life.
You can check out the WEA’s ad below.