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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 18, 2013 at 6:54 AM

Washington Education Association and reforms

Guest columnist denies facts

Bob Maier, chief lobbyist for the Washington Education Association, sports a "Save The Children" tie. [Alan Berner, The Seattle Times.]

Bob Maier, chief lobbyist for the Washington Education Association, sports a “Save The Children” tie. [Alan Berner, The Seattle Times.]

Shame on Liv Finne. Her statement that reducing class size is not effective in producing high-performing schools is disingenuous, at best. [“Guest column: WEA blocked education reforms,” Opinion, July 16.]

Research has shown that reducing class size, particularly in K-3 classrooms, can and does boost student performance.

My guess is that Finne chooses to deny the benefits of lower class sizes because the gains are most evident when class size is reduced to a maximum of 18 students. Can you imagine Finne and her employer, the Washington Policy Center, along with the Republican education “reformers” in the state Senate supporting the provision of funding necessary to reduce K-3 classrooms to a maximum of 18 students and initiating real, research-based reform?

Me neither. It’s much easier to go after all those “bad teachers.”

Jeffrey Creager, Lake Forest Park

Washington Policy Center is not looking out for schools

The Washington Policy Center (WPC) that Liv Finne is an employee of supports limited government and is funded by conservative donors like the Koch Brothers, who have been quite successful in Wisconsin in destroying public-employee unions.

The so-called reforms created by the Senate majority were merely an attempt to deflect attention away from what it was ordered by the Supreme Court to do: fully fund education.

Finne’s assertion that the Washington Education Association (WEA) is supporting cutting classroom services by closing schools early two days a week is misleading.

Districts have early-release days so teachers can attend professional development during their work hours, much like doctors and lawyers do, to improve their skills, something the WPC supports.

Educators don’t leave with the kids on these days, unless it is a furlough day, created by the Legislature, in which the educators are not paid.

Finally, Finne and many legislators clearly don’t understand the impact poverty has on a child’s ability to learn. 18 percent of the children in Washington live in poverty. Sleep, nutrition and home life, things schools and the WEA have little control over, all impact a child’s ability to learn.

Martha de Carbonel Patterson, Silverdale

Comments | More in Education, Politics | Topics: classroom sizes, education, funding

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