Reject Class Size Initiative Initiative 1351, which would mandate smaller class sizes in public schools across the state, is the wrong idea at the wrong time and should be rejected by voters. The idea sounds appealing; who wouldn advocate for smaller class sizes? But weighed against the difficult budget task already facing the Legislature and against valid questions regarding whether smaller classes enhance learning, the arguments in favor of the initiative prove to be paper thin. Because of that, The Columbian urges a vote from the electorate. As always, this is simply a recommendation. We have faith in the ability of voters to examine the issues and reach their own conclusions. In examining I 1351 which is backed by the Washington Education Association, the state largest teachers union voters will find a proposal that will cost the state $4.7 billion through 2019, according to an estimate from the Office of Financial Management. In addition, the financial impact statement for the initiative states nike kd that local school district expenditures would increase by $6 billion over five years to account for costs not covered by the state. In spite of that, the measure does not provide a funding source. I 1351 class size limitations would force most districts to hire additional teachers and office staff, and in many cases would require the construction of additional classrooms. As Mark Hottowe, the Battle Ground Public Schools Superintendent, explained to Columbian reporter Lauren Dake, think part of the issue is folks may understand the value of the concept, but not go to the second stage of thinking where you ask the question: are we going to put the additional teachers? I 1351 also mandates vast increases in the minimum number of non teaching positions such as school nurses, social workers and psychologists in the schools, accounting for a large chunk of the spending mandated by the proposal. All of this would be piled upon the daunting task already handed to the Legislature nike yoga shoes by the state Supreme Court in the 2012 McCleary v. Washington decision. That ruling directed lawmakers nike zoom vaporfly 4 to live up to the constitutional mandate that declares public education to be the state duty. Using the Legislature own numbers for what constitutes fully funded K 12 education, lawmakers must come up with roughly $3 billion in state spending by 2018. I 1351 would simply muddy the waters of an already murky situation. Cost, however, is not the only argument against the initiative. There also is the fact that scant evidence exists to suggest that reducing class size is a panacea for student learning. In a report from Education Week earlier this year, Washington ranked ninth among the states for K 12 student achievement. This despite being worse than average in student teacher ratio, and despite receiving an grade for the amount it spends on public education. Now consider Oregon, which is Washington most closely aligned neighbor both philosophically and geographically. Oregon spends more per student than Washington, and also ranked worse than average in student teacher ratio. Yet Oregon ranked 40th in terms of student achievement. The fact is that quality education requires more than meeting certain benchmarks for spending or for class sizes. It requires strong administrators, effective teachers, and students who are eager to learn. I 1351 would dig into taxpayers pockets for billions of dollars without addressing any of those crucial areas. It should be rejected.