Ross Hunter on education

State House Budget Chair Ross Hunter (D, 48th LD) sent out an email today to constituents and supporters.

I’m writing to ask for your support to help continue our work:

  • to reform and adequately fund Washington State’s education system,
  • finish the 520 bridge,
  • re-work the state budget so that it is more resilient to economic changes, and
  • actually govern the place in a reasonable way.

Hunter rightfully boasts of passing a state budget that made no new cuts to education, neither to primary, secondary, or higher education. This was greatly helped by the State Supreme Court’s McCleary decision,“a unanimous statement by the Supreme Court that we have failed to make ‘ample provision for the education of all children.’”

Hunter goes on to say, “We have work to do to improve the education system, work that will involve not only funding but reform. The system has to be about enabling the success of children, not the comfort of adults. This next year will be a watershed in how Washington State chooses to implement our school funding system, and I intend to help build a statewide consensus about how the system should work, both financially and structurally. It will be very hard to build a broad consensus, hard perhaps to even get to 50 votes in the House, but it must be done.”

Does this mean that centrist Dems will work with Republicans to push charter schools? That’s my guess.

On his campaign website he has a webpage celebrating his endorsement by the League of Education Voters.

The League of Education Voters endorses “Public charter schools:”

Charter schools are independently-managed public schools that are operated by non-profit organizations. They do not charge tuition, are open to all students and receive funding based on student enrollment just like traditional public schools.

The fact that these charter schools are public and non-profit is a plus.

But Article IX (Education) of the Washington State Constitution says:

SECTION 2 PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM. The legislature shall provide for a general and uniform system of public schools. The public school system shall include common schools, and such high schools, normal schools, and technical schools as may hereafter be established. But the entire revenue derived from the common school fund and the state tax for common schools shall be exclusively applied to the support of the common schools.

This suggests that charter schools are unconstitutional. See The State Constitution and other reasons to oppose charter schools.

Moreover, many progressives think the entire charter school movement is a thinly veiled effort to destroy public education. Republicans are well on their way to destroying the New Deal social programs, the system of progressive taxation established after the Great Depression, the regulatory systems set up over the last 100 years, and unions (both private and public. as in Wisconsin). Their next target is public education, because they hate it when government works for the people.

In a later post, I’ll discuss Hunter’s views on taxation and “entitlements.”


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