Teachers in 8 Washington School Districts Plan to Strike
Instead of teaching, educators in 8 different West side schools plan a series of one-day strikes, or walkouts, in protest over recent legislative actions.
The teachers are upset the legislature has not approved yet more money to reportedly reduce class sizes, as was required by Initiative 1351. The measure was approved by voters last fall, but largely due to a misinformation campaign spurred by the Washington Education Association, or WEA - the teachers union.
I-1351 was billed as a plan to reduce class sizes by requiring the state hire several thousand more educators over the next few years, but did NOT contain any way to PAY for it. That money would have to come from the legislature. Already strapped by the crippling mandates of the McCleary State Supreme Court decision, now the legislature will have to find ways to dump even more money into this controversial idea.
The McCleary Decision was the result of the State Supreme court ruling the legislature had to legally set aside certain amounts of money for schools each year, adding up to billions of dollars over it's lifespan. Now, I-1351 would require millions more to hire the additional educators to reduce class sizes. The radio ads for the initiative misled voters by making them think it wouldn't cost them any more money, but that's not true.
It creates what is called an "unfunded liability." Such liabilities are new or expanded government or public programs that don't have accompanying tax increases or designated revenue sources to pay for them; therefore they become a liability with no funding.
Critics say the real reason behind I-1351 was to have the state hire thousands of educators, who would then be required by the WEA to pay an additional $1,000 or more annually to be part of the union- which they have to join in order to teach. This alone would pump millions of dollars into the WEA coffers, but not do anything to reduce class sizes.
Now, teachers in 8 West side districts say they want to "get the public's attention" by staging one-day strikes. According to NW Cable News:
"We're going to do something serious," said Rita Brennan, special education teacher for Stanwood High School. "We're going to get the public's attention."
"Now as teachers we have a choice to sit silent or to raise a ruckus," said Eric Grant, history teacher at Haller Middle School in Arlington."
The WEA reports teachers in other districts are holding meetings about similar walkouts.
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