Although Washington state lawmakers may be “gearing up for a thoughtful debate,” some voters hoped they might have at least begun that during the session just finished [“Initiative 1351 aims to corner Legislature on K-12,” Opinion, April 12].
The McCleary decision calls for increased funding for the purpose of dealing with problems such as excessively large class sizes and excessive caseloads for counselors (516 students per counselor according to the article in the same section on helping disadvantaged youth get into college).
Lack of funding has exacerbated these and other problems in recent years, while additional duties and requirements for teachers and administrators have been added, many without funding. Lawmakers may be tentatively planning to take steps such as reducing K-3 class size, which would be a very good thing with high payoff. Let them begin doing and then perhaps initiatives calling their attention to issues they have ignored might not be necessary.
Clearly it’s the Legislature that “calls the shots on state education spending,” and it is a sorry statement about our concern for the common good, as well as the current political climate, that there has to be a court decision to get our legislators to do what is their “paramount duty” according to our state Constitution.
Mary Wallon, Seattle