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Monday, December 24, 2012

Clarifying McCleary

Posted by on Mon, Dec 24, 2012 at 2:03 PM

The Seattle Times editorial board might want to actually read the McCleary decision before opining on it:

Simply pouring new money into an old, dysfunctional system is a non-starter. Partisan divisions must be eliminated. Democratic lawmakers must broaden their view of the challenge before them. The task is not to find a way to get a few billion dollars more from taxpayers for the K-12 system, but rather how to better spend the money it has now and grow the state’s investment in education, from early learning to higher education.

Actually, finding more money for K-12 education is pretty much the legislature's main task. I know that Republicans and their surrogates on the editorial boards would like to co-opt McCleary into an opportunity to dramatically redefine public education in Washington state, but that's not what the court ordered.

From the court's conclusion:

Article IX, section 1 of the Washington State Constitution makes it the paramount duty of the State to amply provide for the education of all children within its borders. This duty requires the State to provide an opportunity for every child to gain the knowledge and skills outlined in Seattle School District, ESHB 1209, and the EALRs. The legislature must develop a basic education program geared toward delivering the constitutionally required education, and it must fully fund that program through regular and dependable tax sources.

The State has failed to meet its duty under article IX, section 1 by consistently providing school districts with a level of resources that falls short of the actual costs of the basic education program.

If you read the decision in its entirety you'll see that the court actually accepts the legislature's definition of basic education, but concludes that it is not amply funding it. There's nothing in McCleary ordering the state to "better spend the money," as the Seattle Times implies. Rather, the court demands "regular and dependable tax sources" to fund reforms that are already in place.

It's true, McCleary does state that "pouring more money into an outmoded system will not succeed" (language that the editors echo), but this is in a section titled "Funding the Basic Education Program with Local Levies." That's the "system" that McCleary is referring too: The outmoded funding system. It is not referring to the public school system as a whole.

That said, the editors do get one thing right:

The McCleary ruling pointed lawmakers to a framework, the 2009 education-reform law that laid out a vision, including more early-learning programs, all-day kindergarten, smaller classes and school transportation.

How the editors think we can pay for these programs without finding billions more in revenue is beyond me.


Comments (14) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
I am outraged.
Posted by outraged on December 24, 2012 at 2:36 PM · Report this
The Times is a severe disappointment. How the paper can be tolerated as a GOP and big business shill is beyond me. But I guess that's much of media in Seattle.
Posted by pat L on December 24, 2012 at 2:50 PM · Report this
thatsnotright 3
Don't we have a bunch of new charter schools to fund as well?
Posted by thatsnotright on December 24, 2012 at 2:53 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 4
Republicans want to gut education. They will turn us into another Mississippi. All so the disgustingly wealthy can get away with not paying.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on December 24, 2012 at 2:54 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 5
Time to expire all Corporate and Non-Profit tax exemptions (giveaways) that are not supported by a 2/3 majority vote of the People.

Starting with Eastern Washington.
Posted by Will in Seattle on December 24, 2012 at 3:18 PM · Report this
@5, that is prohibited by the two-thirds rule, because expired tax exemptions would be considered new taxes.
Posted by sarah70 on December 24, 2012 at 5:06 PM · Report this
Goldy, what is your source for the assertion you made in the Morning News that Crapo is a Bishop?
Posted by youarenotworthytowipetheTimesasswithyourtongue on December 24, 2012 at 11:33 PM · Report this
The legislature should simply ignore the decision. The WA Supreme Court has no authority to order the legislature to spend or tax.
Posted by Mister G on December 25, 2012 at 1:53 AM · Report this
The church says he was.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on December 25, 2012 at 2:37 AM · Report this
The Seattle Times is dumb.
Posted by Charlie Mas on December 25, 2012 at 4:25 AM · Report this

not in that article it doesn't.

'has' is past tense.
Posted by words matter on December 25, 2012 at 5:07 AM · Report this
I was reading an editorial by Bruce Ramsey last week that skewered scientists as mostly frauds.

Where do they get these people? How long has the ST kept such deadweights on its payroll?

If the ST ever hopes to serve its readers honestly, it will do some serious HR housecleaning and bring in some fresh journalists who are smart and do their research.
Posted by Fizgig on December 25, 2012 at 9:32 AM · Report this
How much ya wanna bet #12 has never actually paid for a copy of the Seattle Times, and never will?
Posted by Mister G on December 25, 2012 at 2:14 PM · Report this
#13: Oh, I have paid big time for the ST and its irresponsible journalism.
Posted by Fizgig on December 26, 2012 at 8:46 AM · Report this

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