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Originally published Thursday, September 6, 2012 at 7:29 PM

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Education group won't endorse for governor

Citing issues with the education platforms of both Republican Rob McKenna and Democrat Jay Inslee, the League of Education Voters announced...

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Way to have it both ways. LEV does NOT represent the communities it claims to serve. ... MORE
LEV does not speak for education MORE
So LEV equates Charter Schools with Ed Reform and will withold an endorsement if a cand... MORE

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Citing issues with the education platforms of both Republican Rob McKenna and Democrat Jay Inslee, the League of Education Voters announced Thursday it is not endorsing either candidate for governor.

"While both candidates offer promising ideas for improving education in Washington, neither rises to the standard necessary to receive our endorsement," Bob Roseth, chairman of the group's board of directors, said in a news release. "In particular, neither candidate offers a credible plan for ample, sustainable funding of a world-class public education system."

Both McKenna, the state attorney general, and Inslee, a former congressman, have pledged to find at least $1 billion more for education. But questions remain as to how each would do it.

In its announcement, the League praised McKenna's ideas for education-policy changes and Inslee's commitment to increasing education funding. But it criticized McKenna's funding plan for relying "too much on overly optimistic estimates of growth" and Inslee for lacking detail and opposing charter schools.

"To LEV, revenue and reform are irrevocably linked. One without the other is not a truly serious education agenda," Roseth said. "Neither candidate presented a plan that delivered on both halves of this equation."

The group did, however, praise Inslee for becoming more specific as the campaign has gone on.

Education has emerged as a central issue in the governor's race, especially after the state Supreme Court ruled in January that the Legislature is not fully funding education.

While education has traditionally been a Democratic issue, McKenna has sought to make it a major focus this year. Overall, both McKenna and Inslee have similar ideas on the topic, and polls have shown that voters are split on which candidate would handle it better.

The League, an education advocacy group, endorsed Democrat Chris Gregoire for governor in 2008. It didn't endorse in 2004.

Brian M. Rosenthal: 206-464-3195 or brosenthal@seattletimes.com.

On Twitter @brianmrosenthal.

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