Social Media Swarm: Enabling Inequity

mccleary_busThere is no interest more special than a child’s civil right to public education, and yet Washington — a state of great prosperity and intellectual capital — has underfunded public schools for over a decade, and remains in contempt of court for failing to amply fund basic education. Maintaining a sense of urgency in fulfilling our paramount constitutional duty is difficult when it has been neglected for so many years. However, the legislature is in session until April 23, 2017, and so NOW is the time for every citizen who values a child’s civil right to public education to engage in the process of solving our state’s paramount problem.

Parents and teachers are notoriously altruistic and philanthropic, preferring to anonymously donate time, talents, and money for the betterment of children. While noble, this kindness and generosity has an unintended consequence of exacerbating inequities and enabling the Legislature’s continued failure to provide ample funding for basic education. It is time for you wonderful people to out yourselves as enablers by revealing what you have done and how you continue to provide basic education for children of Washington!

In 2009, the Legislature adopted HB 2261, which defined “basic education” (further clarified in HB 2276). These bills articulated a “prototypical school model” which has never been funded in accordance with the bills. Some of the “basic education” requirements are outlined in this Seattle Times article and by the OSPI. Let’s keep our representatives motivated to *finally* amply fund basic education this session by telling them how we have funded and continue to fund basic education, between March 16th through March 20th:


2. Open your social media platform of choice. (Twitter, if you have it.)

3. Include a personal message that answers one of the questions in Step 4 and the hashtags: #paramountproblem, #waleg, and #waedu. Be sure to include your zip code (how legislators identify constituents) and make a *public post* within one or more of the following platforms:

<Personal message> #paramountproblem #waleg #waedu <your zip code>

<Personal message> #paramountproblem #waleg #waedu <your zip code>

<Personal message> #paramountproblem #waleg #waedu <your zip code>

Your personal message should one of the following questions regarding how you have enabled our state’s failure to amply fund basic education for all children in our state (Answer one question per tweet or post):

  1. How many hours have you volunteered to alleviate the challenges that large class sizes present?
    (ex. I volunteer X hours per week because there are 32 kids and 1 teacher in my child’s 2nd grade class)
  2. Which school supplies have you donated to a public school or schools in the past 6 years?
    (ex. I donate 5 reams of paper annually to my local public school)
  3. Approximately how much money have you spent on basic school supplies for your child/ren, students, or for children in your community?
    (ex. I spent $400 for school supplies for my children and other students in the school this year.)
  4. Approximately much time have you (teachers) spent creating DonorsChoose or other crowdfunding campaigns to raise funds to cover school or program supplies that should be provided within the definition of basic education?
    (I volunteer X hours per month creating crowdfunding campaigns on weekends, so that my students have access to Y books.)
  5. How much money have you (teachers) raised via DonorsChoose and other crowdfunding campaigns to fund “basic education” supplies and programs?
    (Via donorschoose, I raised $ to fund a literacy program for ELL students.)
  6. How many more students over the recommended class size of 1 teacher to 17 students are you teaching (for parents, how many are in your child/ren’s class/es)?
    (ex. My child’s K class has 7 more children than the required 17 to 1 teacher.)
  7. Is your disabled child / student receiving the services s/he needs in public school?
    (ex. My child / student needs X, which is not available because of Y.)
  8. How much money has your school’s PTA contributed to pay for staff or other basic education supplies and programs over the course of the past six years (or just in the last year)? 
  9. How much has your family paid (2010-2016) for full day kindergarten?
    (ex. My family paid X in 2013 and Y in 2015 for full-day K)
  10. How many hours have you donated to PTAs or schools, planning fundraising events and activities to bridge the gap between legislative inaction and ample funding of basic education? 
  11. Which services or in-kind donations have you donated to public schools or PTAs to assist with paying for basic educational needs of students? 
  12. What is not included in the definition that you feel should be included?
    (ex. X should be included in the “basic education” definition because Y.)
    For answers to this question, please include #basicedwa

Post ideas and suggestions for other questions in the comments below, please.

4. (OPTIONAL) ADD AN IMAGE. Some memes have been posted in Washington’s Paramount Duty Group ( that you may use, but feel free to use your own compelling image.


6. Watch the swarm develop by searching the hashtag #paramountproblem in your social media account.

Thank you for advocating for the children in our state who cannot advocate for themselves!

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