This Throw Back Thursday, new evidence has prompted us to take a look back on the Washington Education Association (WEA)’s war on the GOP during the 2014 election cycle and on charter schools, well, all the time.
Washington State Democrats have chronically underfunding public education and higher education spending for a generation – that’s a budget fact. Under heavily Democrat-controlled budgets, the ratio of new education versus non-education spending was a backwards 1:2.
Under Democrat control of Olympia, that means that for every new dollar of public education funding, Democrats spent two dollars to grow the size of state government.
It was only under Republican leadership in the State Senate—with Senator Andy Hill as chief budget writer—that our state made meaningful strides in making public education our top priority. Republicans proved as early as 2013 that simply funding education first could provide education solutions. During the 2013 legislative session, under the Majority Coalition Caucus (MCC) and Republican leadership, the state budget prioritized education over non-education spending at a 4:1 ratio for the first time in 30 years.
That was all done without raising taxes, which Democrats from Jay Inslee on down were demanding.
That’s probably why the Washington Education Association (WEA) worked so hard to defeat Sen. Hill during the 2014 election cycle. The WEA ceaselessly bombarded voters in the 45th Legislative District mailers attacking him and his commitment to education in our state. Check out one mailer the WEA sent out on October 29th in a desperate, last-minute attempt to influence the November 4th election:
Interestingly enough, the teacher the WEA highlights in their attack ad, Brigitte Tennis, was recently featured in a puff piece done by the Redmond Reporter. The article features the eighth-grade teacher and legislators she invited to come visit her class and co-teach at Redmond’s Stella Schola Middle School in Lake Washington School District. Via the Redmond Reporter,
“Creating personal relationships with legislators in the classroom creates opportunities for students to learn more about current issues so they can engage in the legislative process when they can vote.
“(Brigitte) Tennis has been building relationships with legislators and community members for a number of years.
“‘It takes courage to step into a classroom and co-teach, and I admire that our public officials strive to really learn about kids and schools today,’ she said.”
Given the attack she leveled against Sen. Hill, we assume that by “building relationships” with legislators and community members, the Reporter means building relationships with Democrats… and WEA officials. Or, perhaps the “building relationships” aspect of her job is put on hold during the election season when, apparently, it becomes okay to be featured in hit pieces filled with misinformation about a lawmaker’s record on education.
The situation takes a turn for the hypocritical—as it so often does with anything involving Democrats and the WEA—when one considers the school highlighted by the Reporter. Stella Schola Middle School is a choice school, which means admission is entirely by lottery. Apparently, it’s okay with the WEA for this teacher to “choose” to teach at Stella Schola and for students to “choose” to attend Stella Schola, but 1,300-plus kids across the state cannot—under any condition—choose to attend a charter school.
The WEA doesn’t get any money out of charter schools—the teachers don’t have to pay union dues – but it certainly does with “choice” schools like Stella Schola. The hypocrisy is just more proof that the WEA’s war on charter schools is not about education of children. Rather, it’s about more money in the union’s war chest.