Friday, November 07, 2014

Washington State Class Size Initiative Clings to Affirmative Lead

I've been tracking I-1351 for most of the day. 

At 2 pm, they were neck and neck with Yes- 50.07% and No-49.93%. 

But as the vote totals go up - Yes had about 7500 more votes at 4 pm, then up 9,000 votes by 5:30 pm and at the last vote count, Yes had over 11,000 votes and has its biggest percentage lead at ....64%. 

King County still has 121,000 votes left to count, Snohomish has 58,000, Spokane has 13,000 and Pierce has 9,000.

King is solidly yes but Snohomish and Spokane are barely yes.

But the trend is to the Yes side. 

For me, this is very reminiscent of watching the vote counts for 1240, the charter school initiative.*  Except that, day after day, the trend never changed.  This one is changing. 

As I mentioned elsewhere, the Times had not one but two whiny editorials today (and truly, there is no other way to describe them).

One was about 1351 and how Governor Inslee said that he had voted no on 1351 BUT had not let voters know and that shows a lack of leadership. 

"Inslee might have wanted to let voters make up their own minds, but that's no excuse for sitting back and not doing what voters expect him to do: lead." 

*The other editorial was even more laughable - "Give charter schools time to succeed."

They are unhappy that there is a lawsuit against the charter school law.  Could that be that they watched the recent oral arguments in the Supreme Court and got worried? 

"The court could take several months to issue a decision, which could derail this important venture into charter schools - and that should be avoided."

How?  By telling the Supreme Court to drop it?  Hurry up?  They don't say.

They also quoted an older Rand study to prop up their charter support rather than the more present-day CREDO study.

In Washington, the majority of voters made it clear they want to give charter schools the opportunity to succeed.

By the slimmest of margins.  In fact, many think one reason the Court took the case is that very slim margin.  (But, of course, the Times will bemoan a slim margin if 1351 wins.)

As one commenter at the Times rightly points out - this isn't about whether charters work or not.  It's about whether a law is constitutional.  


Anonymous said...

I'm the master of stating the obvious: There's not room in SPS.

Other districts, who have better and/or functioning unions, negotiate class size as part of the teacher contract.

Seattle teachers are so traumatized and cowardly that they don't even go there. Which, again, is why many people with a spine and conscience go elsewhere. The ethics of the leadership tend to trickle down into the trenches.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

enough already,

There's not room at SPS for what? Are you saying that we can't have smaller class sizes at SPS because that would entail having more teachers in more classrooms, and we don't have the building space for that?

David Edelman

n said...

David, at my school a representative for WEA told our small group that clearly the legislature told the Court that the reason class size was not reduced was that there were not enough classrooms to accommodate those reductions. The legislature told the Court that they had the money but could not distribute it until their was room to provide the space.

Now that might not be true but that is what WEA said at our meeting last year. I asked them to repeat it myself. They did. Beyond that, I'm clueless.

If the legislature did tell the Court that space was the barrier, I do not understand the lack of reporting such information. Or maybe it has been reported and I missed it?

n said...

"there was room" - sorry

Melissa Westbrook said...

Of course there isn't space and districts can't afford to add it.

But that is so short-sighted. The ONLY way to reduce class size is by more space?

Again, you could have an IA in the room who works with groups/specific kids. I'd be willing to bet most teachers would be very happy for the help.

(And, in fact, for a couple of dual-language schools, this is what they tout when asking parents for the dollars to pay for the IAs. They also say the IAs are great for extra lunch/playground and school activity uses.)

As well, did everyone forget that many schools had to give up counselors, nurses and librarians during the recession? This would help put them back and add them to schools who need them.

Do you need space for those people? Of course, but it's not a whole classroom.

Anonymous said...

David Edelmen, I did mean there aren't enough classrooms to reduce class sizes. They could bring in more portables, however.

Melissa, I believe the initiative calls for fewer students per classroom. IAs would not be part of this equation and neither would support staff.

--enough already

Lynn said...

(ii) Districts that demonstrate capital facility needs that prevent them from reducing actual class sizes to funded levels, may use funding in this subsection (4) for school based-personnel who provide direct services to students. Districts that use this funding for purposes other than reducing actual class sizes must annually report the number and dollar value for each type of personnel funded by school and grade level.

Initiative 1351

Melissa Westbrook said...

Enough already, then there is confusion because I was told, directly by the campaign, that this would be for support staff.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Lynn, I just read the overview.

That is definitely good news.

--enough already

n said...

Given the above and Lynn's always useful contributions, why does the legislature get away with this deception over and over and why don't people know that it isn't about the money? Or is it?