We stand with Orcas Island teachers

We think it’s the responsibility of state Legislature to fully fund K-12 public education.

A solid educational system is the cornerstone of healthy communities. Without that foundation, kids are at a higher risk for dropping out of school, committing crimes – the list goes on. Educational opportunities lead the way for bright futures.

Across Washington state, teachers have led one-day walkouts to protest the Legislature’s failure to fully fund public schools despite a Supreme Court decision (McCleary) that said state officials have not fulfilled their constitutional duty as well as the voter-approved Initiative 1351 that calls for smaller classrooms.

The local teachers union voted to not walk out on their classes and will instead hold a rally on May 17 at noon at the ferry landing. We thank them for that decision. They invite community members to attend and wear red as a gesture to the Legislature. We encourage you to attend in support of our students and our teachers.

According to the Washington Policy Center, Supreme Court judges found that just adding more money to the school system is not sufficient for the legislature to meet its constitutional duty to provide for the education of children in the state and that “effective reforms are needed, and that only the legislature can enact these reforms.”

The Supreme Court has given Washington state lawmakers until 2018 to fulfill their constitutional duty to make ample provision for public education. We hope this happens sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, we are so grateful for the Orcas Island Education Foundation that has pledged “to continue to fundraise so students may have access to the kind of art, science, math, reading and music experiences that make for a fully realized education.”