McCleary Decision is not about spending money, but about improving schools, say Senate leaders
On Tuesday, the Majority Coalition Caucus held a press conference to announce their plans for the 2014 Legislative Session. When a reporter asked what plan A is for the Majority Coalition Caucus, Senator Tom said:
“We still have a lot to do as far as education reform. When it comes to McCleary, McCleary is not about dollars---McCleary is about making sure our kids will have a world class education. Dollars alone will not get you there. If you look at what we did in the Senate, I think we passed out 12 pretty substantial education reforms that would put us to that next level. Remember that when it came to Race to the Top, our own friends, the Obama Administration, ranked us 32 out of 36 states. If the Seahawks were in that position, we’d all have our heads down. But education is so much more important than athletics. We need to make sure we are putting our best players on the field. We had seniority legislation out there making sure that when there are terminations it is based upon performance, not how long you’ve been there.” At: 29:25.
Senator Tom is correct about the meaning of the court’s ruling in McCleary. The McCleary decision’s central concern is not about money, but about improving the schools. The McCleary decision concludes its long analysis with this statement: “fundamental reforms are needed for Washington to meet its constitutional obligation to its students. Pouring more money into an outmoded system will not succeed.” (Page 69, McCleary opinion.)
The McCleary decision calls on the Legislature to meet its constitutional obligation to its students. Structural reforms are needed to improve the way dollars are spent, including efforts to retain only the best teachers for Washington's children, and to substantially increase the role of their parents.