Monday, November 10, 2014

Washington State Says Yes to Lower Class Sizes

I'm going to call it a winner as well (the 1351 campaign already did).

Yes - 989,754
No  - 962,794

Yes - 50.69%
No  - 49.31%

The gap is only widening (No has never caught up again since Election night). 

The last drop of ballots at 6:02 pm was King County which is at nearly 55% in favor with 88K left.  No other county has near the ballots although, oddly, Spokane was supposed to have a new count at
5 pm and did not (they have 13,500 ballots).

I know many of you say the Legislature won't enact it but there's these factors.

First, they legally have to enact it for two years.

Second, class size IS part of fully funding schools and many of use believe it folds into the work of McCleary (and thus is not as expensive as has been stated).

Third, KUOW had a report on this issue this morning.

Initiative 1351 was trailing on election night, but has since picked up votes. If it passes, Washington lawmakers will have to figure out how to fund it. Or muster the votes to amend it. 

“Look, I don’t know how to pay for it that’s why I didn’t support it,” said House budget committee chair Ross Hunter.  

Hunter said one option would be to amend the initiative with a two-thirds vote of the legislature. But he questioned whether many of his fellow Democrats would support that. 

“Are they going to go back to their constituents and say ‘I know 60-percent of you voted for this, but we’re not doing that,’” Hunter said. 

Yes, they could try to amend it but what would that look like?  First, some members of the Legislature diss the Supreme Court over McCleary and then they repeal/amend an initiative that was duly enacted by voters?

Good luck with that.


dan dempsey said...

So ... what will this actually mean?

In 2015-2016 school year and beyond ... what change will occur?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Dan, I don't know.

The Legislature has dragged its collective feet on McCleary. They don't like being prodded by the Supreme Court. Now they have 1351 and I have outlined what I believe are all their choices.

I am going to be seeing some legislators at an event this week; I'll ask and see what their reaction is.

I think many legislators were focused on other elections and/or thought that voters would give up (given the outcomes from the last class size initiative). I think the Seattle delegation took their eye off the ball for 1B.

We can only sit back and watch; pass the popcorn.

Anonymous said...

What's the best and worst case scenarios for honoring or dishonoring 1351? Best case for me is an income tax, but I don't see a hunger for an income tax on the part of those using wealth to promote reform schemes, including privatization. No, no, they do not want income tax. They want to be in charge.

Turning education-as-charity-case around will take time. I won't compare this struggle to civil rights or marriage rights, but if we continue down the current path of brazen under funding, there will be a battle.


Eric B said...

In a way, I think McCleary and 1351 may help the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, if they choose to use it. The mandates from both are enough money ($6-8B) that it's clear that they're not going to get there by closing couple of loopholes, tweaking the sales tax, and kicking some poor people to the curb. It's going to be awfully hard to do this without wholesale tax system changes.

Whether they have the spine to stand for that is another question, though.

Anonymous said...

Well, let's roll the clock back to 2000 when we went through a similar vote.

I predict much hand wringing and grim stares until, the legislature declares that "tough decisions" will be made and although they can implement the initiative, they will abide by the "spirit" of it

Cynical Parent

dan dempsey said...

To add to Cynical Parent...

When the Supremes ruled on McCreary originally ... they gave the WA Legislature's "by 2018" school full funding plan the Thumbs Up.... yet at that time the "plan" had been in effect for two years and had made negative progress toward making any headway toward the "2018 Goal".

Then after a few more years the Supremes correctly noticed (a bit late) that insufficient progress was being made toward the "2018 Goal". The legislature's apparent response to this "noted lack of progress" was "So What".

Hey may be in 5 years something good may happen.

In the meantime we shall find out if the Legislators continue to consider themselves above the law.

Seems the Divine Right of King's is alive and well in Olympia.

Violate the constitution... Ignore the Supreme Court ... Doesn't ignore passed legal initiatives fit right in?

Anonymous said...

Poor, poor Ross Hunter. Mr. "I don't know how to do it" himself. It takes courage, Ross. Something you lack. It takes the big brass ones to look your benefactors in the face and actually lead for once. You need to advocate for the average folk, Ross. Billionaires really don't need your help, so you're not the do-gooder you think you are by smooching their rear ends.

I've got a suggestion in the meantime: This time, TRY.


Eric B said...

I think it would also be fair to point out that if Seattle legislators fail to lead on this, they will likely face challenges from the left that will be made easy by this issue.

"65% of this district wanted smaller class sizes. Reuven Carlyle chairs the House Finance Committee. He failed to lead and now our class sizes are bigger than ever. We need a leader in Olympia. Vote ____."

dan dempsey said...

WSDWG .... seems to think that we live largely under the rule of Oligarchs and Plutocrats.... hard to argue with that given the circumstances of the last several years.

So Patti Murray and Maria Cantwell, where is our US Constitutional Amendment restricting campaign contributions?

Please follow Bill Bradley's lead on this incredibly needed amendment. .... Restoring "The Republic" depends on it.

$4 Billion spent on mid-term elections..... definitely the best government money can buy.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I will also add - I don't want to hear any whining about the closeness of the vote count. If it was good enough for the charter initiative, it's good enough for 1351.

Anonymous said...

I think most of you are missing something - something which is much related to NPR's headline yesterday said "2014 midterm election turnout lowest in 70 years".

The legal WA. state candidate filing deadline this year was Fri. 16 May.

On the prior Sat. the Washington State Labor Council endorsed about 70 incumbents. I'd love to tell you what the WEA (WEAPAC) was up to, but, as a dues paying member who isn't on the secret lists, and who refuses to be "active" by first dedicating 8 hours of my life a month to last-minute-secret-agenda meetings, I can at least say they weren't ahead of the curve.

So, after the Boeing handouts, the largest group of labor "leaders" in the state go off and ... and ... don't rock the boat. I've been to enough SEA-WEA meetings to stand firm in my conviction that the Seat-At-The-Table for our well paid "leaders" takes priority over anything like kind of maybe considering to think about possibly rocking the boat, maybe.

Do the math - it takes about 5 grand to get 1000 signs at a place like Borucks - for 50 grand the unions could find 10 challengers who might not be perfect, but, who would at least be replacements to a legislature of cowards, and put up 1000 signs for 'em. Instead, we got go along & get along, AND THEN 3 WEEKS BEFORE THE ELECTION EMERGENCY HAIR ON FIRE YELL HURRY RUN RUN RUN... back to go along get along.

The legislature isn't held accountable, and they SHOULD do what they've always done - lie to us, threaten us,


Anonymous said...

Melissa, I think the closeness of the vote may come down to the voters who are consistently anti-tax and anti-funding on principle, or voters who are resigned to no money, no change.

The unwelcome guests in the room are districts like SPS, the ones that grow ever more top heavy while cutting teachers while boasting about PreK (cough, data collection and profiling), for all. I'm sure there's a large groups of voters who think, 'Why give them more when they already blow what they have?' As I said, this will be a long battle.


NONRC Supporter said...

Reuven Carlyle supports "reforms" such as charter schools. He has had another interesting item on his mind..which also takes away the voice of the voters.

I'm glad voters took this one away from the legislature. Voters know that one teacher can't provide supports to 150 students.

Anonymous said...

The state Republicans aren't going to fund McCleary or 1351 without major Democrat concessions. (Because in their view, the fact that it has to be funded at all, IS their party's concession.) I suspect, as I've posted before, we'll be seeing cuts in whatever social services have the least-loud constituencies. As well, I expect a number of ed "reforms" the Republicans haven't been able to get through in past years will be attached to whatever educational funding scheme moves forward.

It will all be in the name of "compromise." Our Democrat faction will have cover - they'll point to the court mandate to provide funding and say that 'give and take' was mandatory to move forward. Because from those who lean left, there are still a portion who are A-OK with Corporate Reform. Hunter and Carlyle fall into that camp. Frockt and Pederson look likely to be swayed to the LEV view of education. That leaves a substantial minority who align to what, for shorthand, I'll call the WEA (labor) view of the way education should work in this state.

I'm bracing myself now for The Grand Bargain we will no doubt be hearing about from our 'apologetic but pragmatic' local legislators. Murray, who did nothing for K12 state education -let alone Seattle Public School education - while in state office, won't blink when the Corporate Reform plan marches forward.


TheGoodFight said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melissa Westbrook said...

Good Fight, no.

1) I have no idea why/how you have a SaveSeattleSchools name but you might want to consider a rename.
2) not on topic
and, most important,
3) DO NOT put info that you say has documentation without that documentation.


n said...

I've gotten to the point where I don't know what is true and factual anymore. Frockt then Carlyle was/is my rep. Of the two, I liked David Frockt. So, what's the LEV view of education as opposed to the corporatist view?

Melissa Westbrook said...

You could go to LEV's site and look it over.

My take is that they did start with much more of an activist vision. But as time went by, they had more of the neo-liberal view of ed reformers. Some of their work is worthy but seemingly is tinged by who funds them.

They were the original "smaller class size matters" and now, not so much.

They are like the Alliance; started on way and now are very rigid on the "right" way to better education. (They are also not open to dialog and very much have the "win at all costs" attitude.)

Eric B said...

LEV had a hilarious "we won!" email out yesterday or the day before. They cited passage of 1B, election of some large percentage of their "education champions" (people they endorsed), and then this paraphrased gem:

The fact that 1351 is only passing narrowly shows that many voters know that we have to use scarce education dollars in a thoughtful way.

In other words, we lost, but a narrow loss is just like a win!

Anonymous said...

And a day later: Here is the beginning of that Grand Compromise I predicted. Right on cue we have Ross Hunter in this a.m.'s PubliCola, laying the stage for the Dems to lie down and let Corporate Ed Reform roll right over them (not to mention various human services "fixes")

Saying he expected a "blood bath" in the upcoming legislative session in the fight to find K-12 funding—the legislature needs to find about $5 billion extra to meet the Washington State Supreme Court's McCleary mandate and now another $4 billion to meet voter-approved I-1351 to lower class sizes—state house budget leader Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48, Medina) told me he "doesn't believe" the legislature can find the money without new revenue. He's heard, though, that his counterpart, Republican budget leader Sen. Andy Hill (R-45, Redmond), says the fix doesn't require new revenue. (Hill didn't return our call).

Hunter didn't see any immediate way forward: "Do you have the votes for a lot of taxes? No. Are there votes for a lot of cuts? No."


TechyMom said...

So, how will this work in Seattle? Our classes are about 1.5x the size the should be, and there's no where to put more classes. I'm guessing they'll add IAs or something. That helps with part of the problem, which is each kid getting more time. It doesn't help with (IMHO bigger) problem of too many people in the room, too little personal space, too much stimulation, too many bodies to move to recess, too many kids to transition from one task to the next.

Anonymous said...

I share EdVoter's cynicism, and Dan, last Tuesday's results proved the ownership by plutocrats and oligarchs better than any argument I can throw down.

It's kids versus Microsoft, folks. It's kids versus Amazon, folks.
It's kids versus Boeing, folks.

They'll say it's "jobs, jobs, jobs" but all that means is that taxes are, as Leona Helmsley once said, "for the little people" in the working class.

"Cut we billionaires taxes so we can create jobs, which creates lots of little taxpaying citizens to fund McCleary and the like, so we billionaires can keep our dough in the bank or throw it around as we please." Yet, as Nick Hanauer says in his book, "if tax cuts created jobs, we'd be drowning in them."

But will Nick say that to Gates's face? To Boeing's? To Amazon's? I like Nick and agree with him on lots of stuff, but this here is a clear case of put up or shut up for he and his ilk over at LEV.

My bet is they ignore 1351 because it doesn't align with their Articles of Ed Reform Faith.


Anonymous said...

EdVoter - my day job kind of interferes with my crystal ball gazing, but, you pretty much nailed it w.t.o. a Wishy-Warshy, Pacified Northwest Grand Bargain.

One quibble - the leadership stance of WEA will be to sell us dues paying working stiffs out & tell us about compromise and being collaborative adn being moderate. I'm defining the leaders as the people who make 6 figures a year down at Federal Way headquarters, not all the "leaders" who get lead around by the nose by the Federal Way crowd - that Federal Way "leader" crowd is laser focused on keeping the Ross Hunters & Carlyles happy cuz it would rock the boat if those highly connected highly degreed Rueven Hunters weren't happy.


Melissa Westbrook said...

WSDWG, rest assured, I would LOVE to say many things to Bill Gates' face.

That might be the difference between me and Nick Hanauer - I don't need money to give me the courage to say what I want.

TechyMom said...

To be fair, Bill Gates was very much in favor of the state income tax

Anonymous said...

To be fairer, Bill Gates SR was very much in favor of the state income tax


Melissa Westbrook said...

Reader and Techy, I find it so charming that you want to be fair. I'm the same way. However, the people we are dealing with could give a rat's ass about being fair so don't expect it in reverse.