Northwest NEWS

December 7, 1998


A sad state

The lack of a school contract in the Riverview School District is near cat-fight status; students are carrying home horror stories of maltreatment, crowded classrooms, and poverty wages to their mortified parents. The teachers and staff threaten a walk-out and send home information sheets that suggest the school board members are solely responsible; the flyer conveniently does not give the phone number of the teachers' organization that produced and distributed it.

   I am saddened when the teachers boldly proclaim they are not asking for an increase in their "basic wage rate" (which is de facto set by the state, anyway), but do not disclose they are seeking another paid day. If they think it is justified, they should not disguise it.

   Squarely in the middle are the parents and taxpayers. In Washington, only 17% of households have students in the public K-12 schools. About 90% of their education (excepting construction costs) is paid by the state. Right-wing extremists pass anti-tax, anti-spending laws that limit options when the state has budget surpluses that could be used for these items. It's time the state funded a true 100% of education costs, outlawed local levies, and set reasonable salaries that take into account teacher effectiveness, local cost of living, and other variables. What a sad state we find ourselves in.

Anders Tronsen, Carnation