COMMENTARY: What happened to Washington's Constitution?

REDMOND, Wash. — Parents and students rallied urging the Lake Washington School Board to reverse its decision last week which will extend distance learning for 6-12th grade students through the end of the school year in June.{ } According to KOMO News, the parents are fighting for middle and high schoolers to get back to in-person learning after the district announced last Thursday that those grades would stay remote for the rest of the school year. (photo: KOMO News)

Um, what happened to the backers of the McCleary decision that cited the Washington Constitution's fateful words the "paramount duty of the state" is education of children to legally justify the allocation of more taxpayer money to public schools?

Remember McCleary? It was affirmed by the Supreme Court of Washington (SCOW) in a 9-0 ruling and it led to billions of extra Washington tax dollars supporting K-12 public instruction.

In fact, the plaintiffs in McCleary demanded a "uniform system of education".

But now, with the push to restart in-class education across Washington, the teacher's unions are fighting district-by-district to delay or defer the resumption of on-campus classes. The teacher's unions are resisting this notion of "uniform" education and it's going to leave those students who are stuck at home with distance learning at a disadvantage as other districts bring those students back to class.

Just this morning the Renton Education Association teacher's union voted to defy the school board's planned return to pre-K and special education instruction set to start tomorrow. Literally the most vulnerable students and the REA refuses to return to the class room to teach those youngsters.

Last night in Redmond, a crowd estimated in the hundreds rallied at the Lake Washington School District headquarters at the Redmond Town Center demanding the most affluent district in the state bring 6-12th grade students back to the classroom after announcing last week that those secondary students will remain on distance-learning for the duration of the school year in June.

It seems that all of a sudden the Washington Constitution has been forgotten by advocates of the McCleary decision--many of whom were teacher's unions--who are now delaying the resumption of in-class learning during the pandemic.

So, what happened to the Constitution? It's championed when it benefits the union to receive more taxpayer money spent on education but the Constitution is ignored when the actual education part is in the balance. Let's put this into a math equation that our state's educators might understand: Money > Education in Washington. That's the legacy some teacher's unions are going to leave as their chapter in the story of COVID.

This reeks of political duplicity and sadly the education of children is the pawn in this naked political game.

If you're one of these teachers refusing to resume in-class learning, are you going to the grocery store to buy groceries? Are you shopping at Costco, Target, Home Depot, Lowes or other big box stores right now? If so, why are you willing to grocery shop (while wearing your mask) along side other customers who never get their temperature checked yet you're unwilling to be around masked children who do get temperature checked (per protocols of schools resuming in-class instruction in Washington)? You'll go buy your groceries but you'll refuse to teach children? More hypocrisy and inconsistency from the union teachers.

Some of the biggest unions are losing credibility as they resist this return to the classroom and make excuses while parents are demanding that schools re-open. Will more parents rally in protest to urge them back to the classroom? Will their righteous outrage build or wane? Parents have the science on their side in this argument. The teacher's unions just seem to have empty demands. And its hurting children the most.

I guess the paramount duty of the teacher's unions is getting more money out of taxpayers. The education part is clearly a distant second.

Phil Vandervort is the producer of The John Carlson Show which airs 6a-9:06a on Talk Radio 570 KVI and he speaks for nobody but himself.

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