Seattle Times Question About McCleary Decision
On Thursday, I sat side by side with my opponent Larry Springer and we discussed issues with the Seattle Times Editorial board as part of their endorsement process.
The Editorial board’s first question was how will we pay for the State Supreme Court’s McCleary decision that tells the legislature to spend more on education. Representative Springer left no options off the table, including a sales tax hike or a new Washington capitol gains tax.
I had a different response for the board. I believe that more money is not the only answer; we should empower school principals to manage more of their personnel and budgets. Although this is not a direct response to the Seattle Times’ editors’ question, it is consistent with the McCleary ruling which calls for improvements to the State’s education system.
The Supreme Court does not make budgets, that is for the legislature. However, there is a chance that the court will hold the legislature in contempt if it does not send more dollars to education. But is funding the fundamental problem with our state’s education system? Washington education spending per student is about $11,400/year per year (near the national median), but we do not get results that the supreme court considers “ample.”
There is a structural problem with the way we do education and more money is not the silver bullet. Instead of approaching this problem with creative ways to tax citizens more, we should look for creative ways to make education work better.