Gov. Christine Gregoire released her all-cuts budget today, and in closing a $4.6 billion shortfall without offending beverage companies and editorial boards, it surely makes for a meaner, poorer, less healthy and less well educated state. It also shows up all of us—the governor, the legislature, the Seattle Times editorial board, the business community and voters—as a bunch of big, fat hypocrites when it comes to education.
The governor proposes to continue suspension of the class-size reduction initiative, I-728, to save $860 million. The same is true for I-732, which mandates annual raises for teachers, pegged to inflation. That saves another $253 million.
The K-12 cuts don’t stop there. Gregoire’s budget saves: $216 million by eliminating funding to reduce class sizes in kindergarten through forth grade; $99.5 million by suspending bonuses to teachers who go through national teacher certification; and $56 million by suspending incremental step increases for teachers.
To put that in perspective, that’s nearly $1.5 billion in K-12 education cuts, or roughly $740 a year for every public school student in the state. You know, imagine what your typical elementary school might do with an extra quarter of a million dollars a year. Now imagine everything your kid’s school can’t do, because it doesn’t get this money.
Oh, politicians and editorial boards and corporate executives talk a good talk about education—incoming House Minority Leader John Boehner even cries a good cry about it. But without the willingness to actually fund education reforms, it’s all talk, and nothing else.
I mean, if it’s a choice between raising taxes and fucking over school children, well, the message is clear. Fuck the kids. And God Bless America.