Unlike some of the school districts around our region, the Kennewick School District statement on the May 21st. walkout almost sounds like an apology.

Wednesday, Kennewick released a statement indicating the schools (all K-12) will attend an additional day at the end of the year, Friday June 12th.  The original last day of school was to be Thursday June 11.  By law, the students have to attend a certain number of days, and walkouts are treated the same as snow days - students must attend extra sessions.

The following statement was included in the announcement:

 The KEA (Kennewick Education Association)  has made it clear that this is not a protest directed against the board, staff, students, or community of the Kennewick School District, but a decision made, at the encouragement of the Washington Education Association, to protest a lack of state legislative progress in adequately funding schools.  While the District also believes that the legislature should fully fund schools, we do not believe that a walkout by teachers is the best way to convey this message, because it interrupts the education of our students. (Bold lettering added for emphasis).

If that is the case, then why are they participating in the walkout?  Time to address the elephant in the room, and this might not sit well with some people.

It's clear that despite the KEA not being warm and fuzzy to the idea of a walkout, they are pretty much being "encouraged"  (translation - strong armed) into doing so by their parent union, the WEA.

It hasn't always been well-received but we at Newstalk 870 believe in being honestly blunt at times.  What other conclusion can you draw from the wording of the actual statement released by the KEA?   The WEA has a lot at stake in I-1351. If fully funded and implemented as written,  the union will stand to pocket around $33 million dollars over the life of the initiative.

Some critics compare the WEA to the controversial SEIU (Service Employees International Union) when it comes to their strong-arm and often misleading tactics.  It's considered a very powerful union in the Pacific Northwest.

That's because the thousands of new educators hired under the plan would have to pay a "new" additional $1,000 fee to the union annually.  That's a fact, and has been confirmed by numerous studies of the initiative, including a very thorough one done by the Washington Policy Center.

So, one can rightfully conclude the WEA is going to do everything in it's power to "encourage" local teachers unions -such as a KEA - to walk out. Even if Kennewick educators are reluctant because they recognize it's unfair to students, parents and families.

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