Letters to the Editor

Latest WEA complaint just a ploy, reader says

In your enthusiasm for sympathizing with the Washington Education Association on their complaints about state funding, you failed to do your research. WEA can be counted on to want to see money flow into K-12 coffers because they get a few cents of each dollar (through union dues) to add to their stash for (often illegal) political activities.

Their latest angle is to promote lower class size and then more teachers, etc. Never mind that research shows “an insignificant effect of class size on student achievement.” (Check out Stanford economist Eric Hanushek’s review of over 200 studies on class size reduction).

Furthermore, you should be aware that more taxpayer dollars are wasted on K-12 than in any area of our economy. Between 1970 and 2000, class size in America was reduced by 27 percent. Or in other words, we’ve hired 27 percent more teachers without a significant increase in student performance. Compare that with the non-farm business sector which has shown a 74 percent increase in productivity over the same 30 years.

The Legislature currently gives about 45 percent of the general fund budget to K-12. To suggest that schools need more is ludicrous. You should better use your influence to promote merit pay for teachers, i.e., pay based on how well a teacher educates her/his pupils. That might bring about efficiency that has been sorely lacking.

Lloyd Gardner


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