Garfield history teacher lectures Olympia on the state’s duty to fund education

UPDATE: Garfield students plan Wednesday walk out

Garfield High School AP US History teacher Jesse Hagopian lead a group of fellow teachers and protesters in Olympia Monday, calling for a citizen’s arrest of the legislature for breaking the law by underfunding education.

Slog posted the following video from a tipster:

Brandishing a pair of handcuffs, Hagopian told the police that rather than arresting protesters (no one was actually arrested), they should go down to the house chamber and arrest legislators for not upholding the state constitution. “Arrest them, not the people that don’t have camping permits,” he said, echoing Matt Taibbi’s call in Rolling Stone for the NYPD to stop focusing on the Wall Street protesters and arrest the people who caused the financial crisis instead.

In February 2010, King County Superior Judge John Erlick ruled in the case Network for Excellence in Washington Schools vs. Washington State (the ongoing case brought by education groups and parents challenging the state’s declining funding for K-12 schools) that state policy was unconstitutional because education is identified in the state constitution as the state’s “paramount duty.” (K-12 funding has dropped from 50 percent to 41 percent of the state budget over the last several decades—and has taken a $2.5 billion hit in the last three years.)

“I came down to Olympia today to demand that the state fulfill its constitutional duty,” Hagopian said. “The kids in my classroom should come before tax loopholes for some of the wealthiest corporations in the world.”

7 thoughts on “Garfield history teacher lectures Olympia on the state’s duty to fund education

  1. Thank you all who took the time to go to Olympia and make your voices heard. Thank you!

  2. I’d just like to say, as a GHS parent, that Mr. Hagopian is an amazing, inspiring teacher. My child is one of his AP History students, and he is completely beloved. Do those of you who are old like me remember history class? Snooze! This guy’s class is extremely interesting, and he’s a true scholar with a passion for what he does. I’m so glad my child has had the benefit of being in his class. We need more teachers like Mr. H. Thanks, Mr. H., for being a great teacher an an advocate for our kids!

  3. I’m sure I’ll regret my support eventually, but, Ya Man! Good plan. Arrest the stinking legislature. And the govenor. And the Congress. And the President. Toss em all in the klink and lets start fresh. Hagopian has my support for now. Plus your down there doing something other than wasting kids time. Good job.

  4. Come on people! Let’s arrest the politicians. Citizens arrest. Hold them in a unfortunate hell until the tell the truth about their crimes.