Controversial School Reforms Could Complicate Funding Debate In Washington State

Feb 23, 2015

Washington lawmakers are in contempt of court over school funding. But it’s a couple of non-funding issues that could create a partisan rift.

Republicans are back this year with two controversial school reform measures. One would require teacher layoffs to be based on performance, not seniority. The other would make student performance on a statewide standardized test part of a teacher’s annual evaluation.

Republicans say it’s about ensuring quality teachers in every classroom. But the Washington Education Association vehemently opposes both proposals.

The teacher’s union says this is part of an anti-teacher campaign. On its website the WEA says proposals like this are quote ‘disrespectful’ and ‘punitive’ and amount to an ‘attack’ on teachers. And they also say that measures like this are a distraction from the Supreme Court mandate for lawmakers to fully fund public schools.

Washington lost its federal No Child Left Behind waiver last year. The requirement to make test scores part of a teacher’s evaluation is part of an effort to win it back.