Goldy’s piece on how if we want to save education in this state, we’re going to have to pay for a lot more of it at the state level got me thinking about how the response to McCleary has been sold to us by both Democrats and Republicans.
Inslee and McKenna both more or less ran on magical solutions. Inslee thought we’ll grow our way out of it: hopefully OK for the short term, but not really a sustainable solution. And McKenna’s solution was to take money out of Puget Sound schools and put it into the rest of the state. Not really OK when Puget Sound schools are in trouble too. We were also told that charters would bring the magic of the market to education.
But no, we’re going to have to pay for it if we want better education, as Goldy says:
Instead—and here’s a novel and straight forward idea—why don’t we just raise the state school levy from the $2.26 per thousand dollars of property value rate it stands at now, to the maximum statutory $3.60 rate it stood at during the mid-1980s, the era of peak K-12 funding equity? That would add over $1.1 billion in new K-12 spending, about $1,000 per student. Sure, everybody’s taxes would go up, but by far the largest share would still be shouldered by those of us in “property-rich” districts, thus increasing both equity and funding. If local voters then want to cut their own local school levies, that’s up to them.
But of course, people would scream bloody murder if that were to happen. They’ve been told that they can fund education with magic. The debate is simply what magic to use.