Vince DeMiero 1st Legislative District Representative Position 1 Democrat
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Our kids and educators need us now

15 April 2011


Last spring and summer I told you that there were about 160 reasons why I ran for the state legislature. Those 160 reasons are the students I see in my classroom every day at Mountlake Terrace High School.

Today I come to you on behalf of those students and the tens of thousands of students across the state – perhaps your children or siblings or neighbors – to urge you to contact your legislators and demand that they immediately stop a horrific injustice that they’re about to inflict on public education and the kids of our state.

Earlier this week, the House and Senate adopted budgets that, if signed into law, would irreparably destroy public education as we know it. Moreover, the Senate passed an amendment to a House bill that would effectively destroy the teaching profession in this state.

Here are just some of the provisions of these pieces of legislation:

  1. Education funding is slashed by more than $2.3 billion in the next two years – that’s more than $2,000 per student or a nearly 30 percent cut

  2. Voter-approved I-728 funds aimed at reducing class size are suspended

  3. K-4 class size reduction efforts are eliminated

  4. Salaries for all K-12 employees would be lowered by 3% as of September 1, effectively forcing educators to shoulder a $251 million cut

  5. Voter-approved I-732 funds aimed at addressing cost of living adjustments for teachers are eliminated

  6. A new pay system would be created that discredits a teacher’s education and experience.  The savings harvested by lowering teachers’ salaries would be moved to a “merit pay” system based on principal evaluation, despite the fact that numerous studies show merit pay does not work in education.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The economic future of our region and the quality of life that we have come to expect and enjoy in this state depends largely on the skills and intellectual capacity of each of us. This looming intellectual and economic disaster is as real as it gets, and if these cuts and amendments are put into effect, the ramifications will be felt for generations.

We’ve seen other states make similarly poor decisions and decades later they’re still suffering the consequences. During these challenging economic times, legislators face difficult choices and must make tough decisions, but they also have a constitutional obligation to provide ample funding for the education of all students in the state.

These budget proposals and amendments represent a clear dereliction of that duty and an abrogation of responsibility. Simply put, these proposals are a disgrace.

Yes, education is deeply personal to my family and me. Not only am I a 23-year veteran educator, but I’m a parent and a voter and a taxpayer, too.

Like you, I believe the promise of tomorrow depends on the investment we make in today’s youth.

We cannot allow myopic legislators and insatiable corporate interests to decimate a generation. This cannot stand. Washington’s kids and teachers deserve better.

Please, take a moment and contact your legislators today. Call. E-mail. Inform your family. Talk to your neighbors. Post to Facebook. Tweet. Taking a few minutes today could make all the difference in the educational lives of hundreds of thousands of students during the next few years, and perhaps beyond.

On behalf of Washington’s students and educators, thank you for speaking out in support of our kids and our educators.


Vince DeMiero