Friday, February 23, 2007

Dems back unions; study backs education spending

Story one
Speaker of the House Frank Chopp, U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, Gov. Chris Gregoire and Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, all Democrats, addressed a crowd of union members in the Red Lion Hotel Olympia.

Gregoire scored two standing ovations from union members during her speech - one for guaranteeing that state workers union contracts will be approved, and one when she called health care "a right to every Washingtonian and every American in this country."
Story two:
"This study, along with others that have been done ... all indicate that this state is not meeting its paramount duty" to fund public education, WEA President Charles Hasse said.

The report calls for improvements such as full-day kindergarten for all students, class-size reduction in kindergarten through third grade, additional special-education teachers, more professional development for principals and teachers, improved campus security and more counselors and social workers.

When asked about the price tag, Hasse said, "It is a big number, but we shouldn't be afraid of big numbers if we're attempting to provide quality schools in Washington."

Lynn Harsh, chief executive officer of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, said adding more money to the system wouldn't solve the problem.

"It costs money to educate children, there's no question about it," Harsh said. "But there is no concrete evidence that extra spending significantly increases academic performance."
To a degree, Harsh is right: it's not about how much you spend, but where and how you spend it. The WEA's smaller class size recommendation, from this teacher's perspective, would be a wise place to start.

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