When a student in a public school intimidates or threatens someone, they’re subject to discipline and possible suspension. When the teachers we entrust to educate our children do it, it’s called freedom of speech. State Sen. Andy Hill (R-Redmond) may be accustomed to being a target for vitriolic attacks orchestrated by teachers unions, but recent efforts may have crossed a line.
According to a first-hand account, members of the Service Employees International Union used Woodinville High School’s recent graduation ceremony as a venue for political organizing, handing out “programs” attacking Hill and also distributing the senator’s personal cell phone number.
(It calls to mind another political blunder committed earlier this year by Gov. Jay Inslee’s passing around of another Republican’s phone number to assist his lobbying effort to pass an ultimately doomed gun control bill.)
The SEIU’s questionable practice of handing out personal and private information coincides with a several months-long campaign against Hill by the Washington Education Association and affiliated local unions that speak on behalf of teachers.
How does the behavior of the teachers entrusted with our children’s education square with school policies promoting the value of human dignity? Not well. The section of the Lake Washington School District code of conduct dealing with “human dignity” reads:
A major aim of education in the Lake Washington School District is the development of a commitment to the core values of a democratic society. In accordance with that aim, the district strongly emphasizes a core value of mutual human respect for each person regardless of individual differences and/or characteristics. We expect this value to be manifested in the daily behaviors of students, staff, and volunteers.
No to be deterred by commonly-held standards of civility, this coming Wednesday the WEA will again tempt parents and voters to issue them the well-deserved detention slip that school administrators will never hand out. The union has scheduled a rally in Kirkland to further fan the flames of union outrage. From a WEA communique to members:
Sen. Hill’s ideological political demands are standing in the way of what we really need: Fully funded K-12 public schools, including smaller class sizes for all students and the voter-approved COLA for all school employees.
What are the “ideological political demands” the WEA accuses Hill of making?
The Senate budget Hill has helped to craft increases funding for basic education by $1 billion in 2013-2015, and other Senate bills would create new accountability measures for student performance and end the practice of denying school principals any say in teacher placements. The Senate budget does not raise new taxes to accomplish this, and curbs the growth of non-education spending.
The House Democrat budget that also has the support of Inslee dedicates only $700 million less in new funds for basic education, but seeks to increase taxes and continues to grow non-education spending.
The WEA has made clear its demands for higher teacher pay, smaller class sizes and continued forced placement of teachers, a policy that 85% of Washingtonians say they want to see ended.