For three or four years now we’ve seen numerous editorials and letters demanding the state legislature “fully fund K-12 education.”
There was one in a recent edition (“Ask your local lawmakers to fully fund education,” Kirkland Reporter, June 23). Would someone please tell us what it means to fully fund education? I have a hunch that if you asked 100 people that question, you would get 100 different answers. Even the State Supreme Court did not offer an opinion of what this meant. Why? Wouldn’t that have simplified things a great deal for the legislature? That makes me wonder if even the justices couldn’t agree on what “fully funded” means. The Legislature has already taken one “fully funded” plan to the court and was turned down. Seems to me if the court didn’t define what “fully funded” meant they, by default, left it up to the Legislature and should have no option but acceptance of the Legislature’s definition.
When our state constitution was written in 1889 and said “the paramount duty of the state is to fully fund education,” it meant that every child in the state would have the opportunity to attend 12 years of publicly funded education, grades 1-12. There was no kindergarten in 1889; nor was there head start or preschool.
While it is a noble goal to attempt to make all schools equal, it is never going to happen. Someone is always going to be able to nitpick the system and find some inequality. Now that the courts have opened the door to this argument it will go on forever.