Thursday, January 12, 2012

Polar guest opinions . . .

In case you missed the Guest columnist in Tuesday’s Seattle Times here is a link. It is by Stephanie McCleary, a party to the education funding lawsuit leading to the recent State Supreme Court ruling. She shares her thinking concerning the ruling and public response by some legislators that education is still being considered for cuts in this session.

With those words, each Washington legislator promises to abide by our constitution. Admonished very clearly by our state's highest court that they are currently violating that oath, those same legislators are nonetheless poised to continue breaking that solemn vow.

Shame on them.

As with many of the guest columns and editorials, the real story is in the comments to the article and there are many for this one. Reading them makes me think that Russo may have it wrong when he says that anti-reformers have a greater online presence than reformers. At least on this topic, with this one guest opinion, that would not be the case as there are more disagreeing with McCleary. Below, are a few comments from those that take exception with McCleary’s position.  To see a a different opinion on the court's ruling read today's guest opinion by Liv Finne the education director at the Washington Policy Center.  The title describes her opinion well, "On K-12 education, Washington Supreme Court makes itself a super-legislature".  I'll try to follow the comment string tomorrow night.

What if people found out that public funding (per pupil) has gone up 4x since the seventies but outcomes are flat to down?

What if they found out teachers are paid very well but most of the funding has gone to a bureaucracy surrounding and restricting them?

What if you (living under a rock) suddenly found out that public schools force classroom/teachers to take all comers and more: such that teachers must deal with disciplinary problems without authority, challenged kids who take huge amounts of time/effort, and students ready to be taught end up low on the priority list? If you are a parent this is not a feature.

You won't see any of that in this paper.

There's one heavily entrenched party supporting one heavily entrenched special lobby that decides the big answer is more money!

WA Public Schools = failed, corrupt, wasteful, state-sponsored babysitting service.

To change, MUST: (1) introduce vouchers (2) introduce charter schools (3) abolish all teacher unions (4) remove illegals (5) fire all bad teachers

The court decision was nothing but a cynical attempt by the WEA union to further pad teacher salaries and benefits by ripping the taxpayers off for more money. It has nothing to do with improving education of our kids. The schools have more than enough money its just not being wisely spent.

We can fix their goose. Just make all the local tax levys state levys and then 100% of the school funding comes from the state. The state fully funds education and they don't have a leg in court.

There is already plenty of existing money sloshing around in the K-12 system.

The legislature should take act upon TRI-Day elimination BEFORE it acts to create new taxes for education.

At the local level, voters should reject all levies until all TRI-Day dollars are going to fund ACTUAL school day expenditures.

The WEA's 295 local affiliates presently extract $350 million to $400 million of expenditures annually OUT of the General Funds of the local school districts from revenue derived either from the state, Maintenance and Operations levies and/or Federal Impact Aid and then claim that K-12 education is not "fully funded".

They do this via TRI-Days.

In Washington state the legislature has the sole power to increase teachers' salaries via cost of living adjustments (COLAs) or base salary increases. School boards cannot provide these types of across-the-board salary increases to teachers, but the WEA as found another way to increase pay; Time Responsibility and Incentive (TRI). TRI was set up to improve academic achievement, but the WEA has managed to use it for cost-of-living increases above the level funded by the legislature. Since these funds must come out of local levies, TRI contracts are negotiated above what local districts can fund and they then reduce basic education funding or use local levy funds and claim that the legislature is not fully funding basic education.

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