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Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 21, 2014 at 7:01 AM

Education: Class-size reduction necessary to McCleary compliance

In its editorial “One budget-buster down: pension lawsuits; another around the corner: Initiative 1351,” [Opinion, Aug. 15] The Seattle Times suggests that Initiative 1351’s class-size improvements go beyond what is required by the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision ordering the Legislature to fully fund K-12 public education. This is simply wrong.

In fact, the class-size reductions called for by I-1351 are inherent to McCleary compliance. During the McCleary trial, the Legislature assured the court that it would move forward with ESHB 2261, a comprehensive plan for ample school funding. ESHB 2261 established the Quality Education Council (QEC) to recommend such things as K-12 class-size standards to ensure learning opportunity for all kids. The QEC class-size standards are the basis of I-1351 — they are the improvements the Legislature’s own, bipartisan panel has deemed necessary.

Washington suffers from chronic classroom overcrowding, currently ranking 47th out of 50 states in class sizes. Court transcripts, legislative records and, above all, common sense confirm that I-1351’s class-size reductions are essential to meeting our constitutional obligation to Washington students.

James Rosenfeld, director, Education Law Programs at Seattle University School of Law

Gary Plano, superintendent of Mercer Island Schools

Comments | More in Education | Topics: ESHB 2261, Gary Plano, Initiative 1351

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