Policy “plate tectonics”: Funding new investments in education

Plate tectonics aren’t particularly easy to see – but we can feel the results, which can literally move mountains. Such is the case with the debate over education funding in Washington State.

The Daily News and the Columbian have editorials within a week of each other calling for more investment in education. Neither mentions two public policy “plates” moving underneath us right now:

  1. A pending lawsuit by a coalition of teachers, parents, community groups and school districts.
  2. A pending report to legislators by the basic education finance task force.

By December 1, 2008, the task force will:

“Review the definition of basic education and all current basic education funding formulas” and “develop options for a new funding structure and all the necessary formulas, and propose a new definition of basic education.”

The outcome of the lawsuit is of course uncertain. But in all likelihood, state lawmakers reporting to work in January 2009 will face the task of finding new ways to fund basic education.

A suggestion: with low- and middle-income taxpayers already shouldering (more than) their share, it’s time to look elsewhere for those funds.

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