The Washington Policy Center last week published a report showing perhaps Washington state's return to public school in-person education is smoke and mirrors?

Gov. Inslee, since late December, and SPI Chris Reykdal, suddenly began a 'crusade' to push public schools to reopen for at least hybrid learning.

Despite a setback from the school board in Oct. Kennewick has returned all its kids K-12 (A-B) hybrid, with other area districts following suit. Columbia Burbank and Riverview (Finley) as well as North Franklin (Connell, Othello) were in class hybrid last Oct.

But for the whole state, The WPC reports we rank 47th out of 50 in student returns to public schools. Burbio is a digital platform for community events and data reporting. They are an independent research platform, and they show the following data:

States with 100% student return (even if some hybrid):

Iowa, Montana, Wyoming.

States with 90 percent or higher:

Florida (99.9!), Arkansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Texas, Utah.

Six more states have between 80-90 percent student return, including South Carolina, South Dakota, Indiana. Idaho is at just over 70 percent.

However, with an overall public school student rate of return at only 19.2 percent, Washington state ranks 47th.  Oregon is EVEN worse, ranking 48th at 12.8 percent; the only states with lower marks are CA at 11.1 percent (49th) and Maryland is tail-end Charlie with just 9.8 percent of students back in public schools. Maryland is where Washington D.C. is located, by the way. (These figures were based as of February 24)

The WPC article was written by Liv Finnie, who specializes in educational matters for the group. According to Finnie:

 "The data shows states with the strongest teachers unions, like Washington, are blocking students from returning to school."

So much for the push to get students back into class in large numbers in our state. Is it turning out to be smoke and mirrors? Considering the extreme pushback and controversial comments from the local PAE, including President Scott Wilson (his white privilege comments about parents wanting in-class education) it could very well be.