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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 21, 2014 at 6:00 AM

Education: Give teachers a pay raise; good move by state Supreme Court

Teachers deserve a COLA

What a headline: “Raise pay for schoolteachers? Inslee touches off a storm” [Local News, Jan. 15]. It is a sad commentary on the state of our society. Gov. Jay Inslee only wants to give teachers a cost-of-living increase, which they have not had for six years. So, teachers have effectively had their pay docked substantially.

In our increasingly competitive world, having a well-educated populace is becoming critical, unless we want to become a Third World country. Yet, Republicans are howling about simply allowing teacher pay to stay abreast of inflation. We are not even talking about a raise.

My sister is a teacher, I was a teacher long ago and I have known many teachers. I can hardly think of a harder working group or one more critical to our country’s success. And not only do teachers have the job of educating our children, but they also now have to handle behavioral problems that were the responsibility of parents during my childhood.

Please, give teachers a COLA and a raise. They more than deserve both.

Jim Erckmann, Kirkland

It is distressing to hear statements like those of state Rep. Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish, suggesting that court decisions on school funding are invading the legislative province [“Inslee’s spending plans trigger Republican protests,” Local News, Jan. 14]. He says the courts “want to do both our jobs. And if that’s what they want to do, let them run for the Legislature.”

In high school civics classes, one hopes students are still taught that the Legislature’s job is to make policy and it is the courts’ job to ensure that policies are consistent with the Constitution. This is not always an easy distinction to make, but it is essential.

The latest education funding case (McCleary) did two things: First, it required that the Legislature define a school plan that met the constitutional standard (the Constitution requires an “ample education”). Second, it required that the Legislature fund the plan it defined. The Legislature has made substantial progress on the first of these tasks, but has so far not fully funded the plan.

The court is insisting it do so since an unfunded legislative promise obviously cannot satisfy a constitutional mandate. It is quintessentially a judicial function to declare this perhaps unwelcome truth. We are fortunate to have judges — who are also elected — willing to step up to this plate.

William R. Andersen, Judson Falknor Professor of Law Emeritus, UW School of Law

Way to go Gov. Inslee

Holy moly, I’m surprised a thunderbolt did not come shooting out of my morning newspaper as I opened the fold and saw the headline, “Raise pay for schoolteachers? Inslee touches off a storm.”

I have been saving newspapers about historic events since the 1960s, and this one will have to join the others. The nerve of this governor to suggest a raise for a public employee.

A brave move by our new governor who has been keeping a low profile. It’s a much-needed change in dialogue when it comes to putting more money into workers’ pockets and into our economy. You go governor!

Diane Bowers, Shoreline

0 Comments | More in Education | Topics: Mcleary Decision, Teacher pay

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