The list of local teachers’ unions that have voted to participate in illegal strikes has grown to 31 school districts. The Washington Education Association (WEA) has relied on a series of outright lies to promote and justify the illegal strikes, exclusively attacking Republicans.
The WEA has even claimed that state Senate Republicans’ want to increase class sizes via their budget. In reality, not only would Republicans’ budget decrease class sizes, it provides funding for additional classrooms to accommodate smaller class sizes (Democrats’ budget does not).
The WEA needs to lie in order to advance its selfish agenda, because—when confronted with reality—rational people quickly realize teachers’ have no reason to strike.
Here’s what Republican lawmakers have done for students this year:
- Introduced the greatest investment in K-12 of any budget in state history
- Invested in all-day kindergarten, K-3 class size reduction and fully funded costs of maintenance supplies and operations
- Dedicated 47 percent of the budget to K-12 education, the highest share since the 1980’s
- Prioritized education spending at a 3:1 ratio, a marked contrast from the past 30 years when Democrats prioritized non-education spending by a 2:1 margin over education
- Proposed a $2.7 billion spending increase for K-12 education, bringing total education spending from $15.3 billion in 2013-15 to $18 billion in 2015-17
- Allocated an additional $1.3 billion toward basic education addressing the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision
- Allocated an additional $440 million in teacher pay and benefits, including voter-approved teacher cost of living adjustments (COLAs)
- Proposed building 2,200 classrooms to lower class size for K-3 grades
Given the great lengths Republicans go to prioritize education compared to past budget, the question of “why now?” must be asked. For the 2009-11 budget, Democrats cut K-12 funding by $340 million and did not fund teachers’ COLAs. The 2011-13 budget cut K-12 funding by $652 million and, once again, did not fund COLAs.
It’s only when Republicans were able to have a say in the budget that education spending was re-prioritized. The 2013-15 budget diverted $1.6 billion back to education funding, though it did not fund COLAs. However, Senate Republicans’ budget would add $2.7 billion to education and, as previously stated, would fund COLAs. So, why now?
The WEA signaled the answer when it decided to exclusively attack Republicans, though the GOP budget does more for education than Democrats’ spending plan. The illegal teachers’ strikes are highly partisan attacks, opportunities to hit Republicans. For more proof, check out a sign attacking GOP state Senator Andy Hill that keeps popping up at teachers’ strikes (the far-left has long been threatened by Hill’s growing popularity and ability to win in a typically blue district).
While Senate Republicans are working to solve education problems, the WEA’s is perpetuating a serious problem through its illegal strikes. You see, Washington state ranks 8th in the nation for teacher absenteeism. Making matters worse, the Center for American Progress, a far-left think-tank, observes that schools “serving larger proportions of African-American and Latino students are disproportionately exposed to teacher absence.” The obvious conclusion is that more time away from the classroom, as the WEA is promoting, is detrimental to students.
The WEA is not, as it claims, concerned with “the children.” It’s concerned about what it’s always been concerned about: itself. That’s why the WEA is making a political point with its highly partisan attack strategy. The WEA knows that Democrats will bend to its will with a show of political force—it donates millions to Democrat candidates every election cycle to preserve its influence. Democrats have placed the WEA’s demands ahead of their constituents’ needs before, and the WEA knows that—with a little push—they’ll do it again. Republicans, on the other hand, present the real problem to the WEA growing its forced-dues donor base, hence the ridiculous attacks.