It is astonishing to read The Seattle Times’ editorial on school finance and find at its conclusion the statement that “lawmakers have nothing to be ashamed of” and that the courts should “back off” and let legislators continue “doing their job” [“State Supreme Court should accept McCleary report, leave K-12 to Legislature,” Opinion, May 5].
Citizens have been asking the courts to enforce the Constitution’s educational standards for decades and the Legislature has dragged its feet through that entire period.
Because of this decades-long display of legislative impotence, Washington ranks near the bottom of state-provided resources for K-12 education — surely something “to be ashamed of.” And the historical record noted above shows that courts may be the only avenue of redress, since courts can insist that basic constitutional standards be met, even when legislators find doing so awkward, inconvenient or tenure threatening.
No court would let a Legislature ignore a constitutional command to compensate the owner of a piece of property taken for public use. Why should a court permit the Legislature to ignore a constitutional command that so deeply impacts our children?
William R. Andersen, Seattle