The narrative around school funding needs to change: saying we’ve “already done enough” is how to talk about a car payment, not about our kids’ education. According to this logic, if we fulfill McCleary, whether it be now or next year, then we don’t need to think about funding education ever again. Or at least until there’s another Supreme Court case forcing us too.
But education is not a one time payment every few years. Supporting our kids with the resources they need to thrive is an ongoing commitment. If we want to grow an excellent education system that serves each and every child in Washington, we should be excited about regularly investing in the success of our kids.
This is not a radical idea. We regularly fund the criminal justice system (and imprison people of color at alarming rates). As a state, we should be consistently investing in our priorities, and word has it, education is still the number one priority for Washington voters (while giving money to jails somehow did not make the list).
While some may be questioning whether to invest $1 billion into education to fulfill McCleary in a timely fashion, we say we need this and more. Yes to $1 billion to cover teacher’s salaries next year. Yes to $550 million to the Learning Assistance Program (a pool of funds that exclusively helps students scoring below grade level). Yes to investing in our kids.
The bottom-line: investing in our kids’ futures does not have an end date.