The first item to note - right in the first paragraph - is this new dog-whistle code being used by conservative ed reformers - "the public education industry." In the next couple of sentences, Mr. Wallace rails about the constitution's mandate of public education as its "paramount duty." Let's see how he puts it:
Suffice it to say, our state constitution says something to the effect that the state's paramount duty is to provide 'basic education.' While no one seems to know exactly what basic education is, the judges have determined that we aren't adequately funding it.If he has any doubts about what the constitution says, why doesn't he just read it (especially since he's writing about what it says?) As well, he apparently did no research about what HAS been done in the Legislature, for decades, to determine what basic education is.
He then does the classic thing of multiplying the "roughly" $12,600 per year per student that is funded via local levies, state/federal dollars x 25. (He says "assuming 25 kids or so" in class, not realizing that many classes are much larger than 25 students.) He deducts teacher salary and then says, "We've either got a Donald Trump-sized margin or one whale of a lot of overhead, waste or both."
Or, there is administration for each school, facilities upkeep, nutrition, safety, curriculum, computers...should I go on? I'm not going to dispute that it is likely there is some waste or too many administrative costs but it's nowhere near the level he is alleging. And, he doesn't say how HE would spend the money (ed reformers never do.)
He does say one interesting thing:
To comply with the court edict, the Legislature merely needs to come up with new state revenue to off-set the levy money, then district-by-district place a cap on levies so that the schools get the same money they would have had and the tax-payers don't get double-dipped.Did you see that? "New state revenue." Gets me all happy and stuff. Except that I fear he's being sarcastic as he then says:
This, however, is nothing more than an opportunity for the education lobby to land a windfall. Of course, they want to increase rather than replace dollars, and we all know what they would be spent on - salaries for members of the union for whom about half the legislators in Olympia are lap dogs.Again, he clearly doesn't know the real state of Washington state's public schools if he thinks all of McCleary dollars would all go to teachers' salaries.
He also has one fair thing to say, noting the high number of students who don't graduate or don't graduate ready for college/workplace:
Is this solely the fault of teachers and the education bureaucracy? Of course not. I believe much, if not most, of the blame lies with society. Absence of a father in the home, drugs and a culture that disparages academic achievement are more significant contributors.He then goes on to extol how a voucher system would be better so that "schools would have to compete for their business." Sigh. Again, despite efforts to make it so, public education is NOT a business. (He does note that "the likelihood of a voucher system in Washington is about zero."
Frankly, a few more kids getting rapped on their knuckles by nuns or inculcated with a little morality training wouldn't be a bad thing for this country.No comment because that statement can just hang out there all by itself.
So what does he offer?
Next best thing might be an expansion of the charter school system. While they lack the experience, systems and in some cases the accountability of the parochial schools, they offer similar benefits of parental involvement and dedication to student achievement.Couched in those terms, he certainly makes charters sound, well, underwhelming.
He claims that the teachers' union "rules Olympia" and yet a completely new charter law was passed in the last legislative session over getting McCleary done .
It would appear that Mr. Wallace is completely out of his depth on this one.