Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Here's an FU to the LEV

So HB2356 is making its way through the legislature right now. It's the bill that would suspend I-728, the initiative that provides extra money for class size reduction, full-day kindergarten, and some staff development. We've all seen it coming since the Governor's budget came out in December; doesn't make it easier, but you don't have to like it.

Unless you're the League of "Education" Voters. Check out this synopsis from the testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee last week:
(In support with concerns) The League of Education Voters, under a different name, sponsored Initiative 728 many years ago. As a result, the League is fiercely loyal to its survival and uses. Under the current budget, the League has concurred with your judgment that you'll need to reduce it, but a better solution is to amend the 2009-11 allocations only, rather than making permanent changes to the Initiative.
"Hey, we're fiercely loyal, but we understand.....hell, it's only money!"

Contrast that to the WEA testimony:
(Opposed) The Washington Education Association opposes House Bill 2356. This bill completely eviscerates Initiative 728. It is important to note that this Initiative was passed by the voters by a 72 percent majority vote and is used for important programs like reducing class sizes, full day kindergarten, and other important reform initiatives. Currently about 2,500 teachers are funded by this initiative. The Basic Education bill reinforces many of the initiatives that are already being funded by the Initiative. Additionally, this bill and the resulting cuts will just push Washington further down the rankings in national spending per pupil. It also overturns the will of the voters. A sensible solution to the problem is simply to reduce the spending amounts in statute for two years, rather than making a permanent change to the statute.
"We oppose this, this is why we oppose this, and here's a better way."

Understand that when you sign in to testify at a committee hearing in Olympia you have to indicate your stance on the bill in question. The L"E"V guy consciously signed in on the support side, and I don't care if he did qualify that with a tepid "with concerns"--he's still saying it's OK.

I'll take my union, thanks.

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