NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting 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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