The fight surrounding Washington State’s failure to obtain a No Child Left Behind (NCLB) federal waiver is expected to re-emerge during the 2015 legislative cycle. Last year, Washington was the first state to fail to meet simple federal qualifications to obtain the waiver when a handful of Senate Democrats backed out of an agreement on a straightforward bill. The Washington Education Association (WEA) lobbied hard against the bill, fearing any measure of accountability, and managed (quite easily) to convince the Democrats who publically supported it to back down.
As a result of the bill’s failure, Washington State school districts lost control of nearly $40 million—a sum that the WEA brushed off saying that local school districts have “a lot” of money anyway. Most school districts were also forced to send letters to parents informing them that their child’s school was failing.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn said the Legislature’s failure to pass the bill “hurt public education.” He said, “This was not helpful to kids… It was the wrong thing to do.”
Dorn plans to push legislation that would meet federal requirements and regain the waiver this legislative cycle. As for the WEA, the self-interested union plans to—once again—lobby against any bill presented to the Legislature, proving that it always places itself before kids.