The Washington Education Association (WEA) appears to have revealed the agenda of state Senate Democrats in its latest call to action asking voters to tell lawmakers not to limit I-1351 funding in order to balance the state budget. Here’s what the WEA is asking voters to send to their legislator:
“I strongly support state’s new class-size law, and oppose the various schemes being considered to cut $2 billion in I-1351 funding in order to balance the state budget.
“If we can raise taxes by $12 billion to fund transportation projects, we can find a revenue solution to provide students the class sizes they need and deserve. Taxes on carbon pollution and investment profits are preferable to overcrowded classrooms for students older than age eight.
“I expect the legislature to find the funds provide students in all grade levels the small class sizes they are entitled to under I-1351.”
The WEA claims lawmakers want to “cut” funding for I-1351. That’s deceitful. Lawmakers are not considering a “cut” of $2 billion in I-1351 funding. You cannot “cut” funding for an initiative that never actually received funding. Lawmakers are simply choosing to limit funding for smaller class sizes to K-3—grades in which study after study shows smaller class sizes actually make a difference.
The WEA reveals its true agenda—and that of Senate Democrats—with the statement, “Taxes on carbon pollution and investment profits are preferable to overcrowded classrooms for students older than age eight.” In other words, the WEA wants to new taxes—specifically Democrats’ cap-and-tax and state capital gains income tax—in order to inflate its union dues. Make no mistake, the WEA is not concerned with smaller class sizes for “students older than age eight.”
Though the WEA claims I-1351 is a class size reduction measure, it does not primarily add classroom teachers. Rather, new teachers only make up 29% of the 25,000 employees I-1351 promises. Over 17,000 are “support staff,” and 1,027 are “administrators.” I-1351 would require the state to hire more staff than is affordable. WEA would stand to profit $1,000—via forced union dues—from each of the new hired staff member.
In total, I-1351’s hefty price tag would create 25,561 new staff positions. That means $7.4 million a year in additional mandatory union dues for the WEA, which means more money for political activities… including the election of Democrats. Meanwhile, working families would be hit with a heavier tax burden to pay for it all.