NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Class size initiative too close to call

With 49.5% of the vote, it’s too soon to tell if Initiative 1351 will pass. If approved by voters, the initiative would lower public school class sizes in grades kindergarten through 12. Washington’s pupil-teacher ratio ranks 47th nationally, and both the state and national teachers unions were the primary supporters of the campaign.

State Superintendent Randy Dorn is also on board:

If it passes, I-1351 will place those recommendations into law. Reducing class sizes is key to improving student learning, particularly with at-risk students. That, in turn, will improve graduation rates. When I-1351 passes, the next step will be for the Legislature to fund those class-size levels.

Since there’s no funding associated with the initiative, it remains to be seen how passage of I-1351 would affect the legislature’s attempt to satisfy the McCleary obligation to fully fund public education. Decreasing class size is just one part of the McCleary court order to increase education funding, which also includes providing more money for transportation, materials and operations, and salary increases.

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