Thankfully, nobody was seriously injured when the Skagit River Bridge on I-5 collapsed yesterday. While state and federal officials investigate the cause of the collapse, a new bridge needs to be built as quickly and efficient as possible. The best method is cutting regulations and using a public-private partnership.
Today we released our new study: “Officials Use Race to Help Set Academic Achievement Goals,” available here.
Last fall, the state Superintendent of Public Instruction and education officials at the state’s 295 school districts used student race as a factor in setting state, district and school-level academic achievement goals for tests in math and reading for 2012 through 2017.
On April 27, 1,200 delegates of the powerful state teachers union, the Washington Education Association, gathered at a Representative Assembly meeting in Bellevue to elect new top executives. The new union leaders will serve two-year terms. The union president received a compensation package worth $186,000 in pay and benefits in 2010, the latest year for which figures are available.
Every public school principal is painfully familiar with being forced to send children to a classroom where she knows the teacher there is not the best fit, but the teacher's placement has been forced on the school by higher-ups at the central district. In an effort to improve classroom instruction, bad teachers are often shuffled from one school to another, an administrative tactic known among principals as "The Dance of the Lemons."
With it being all quiet on the Western Legislative Front, there is one date to keep in mind concerning the ongoing state budget negotiations: June 1.
While there are rumors that lawmakers may wait for the June 18 Revenue Forecast to see if the recent improvement in state economic activity can help bridge the budget divide, state law may make waiting that long a bit tricky.
While there isn't much news coming out of Olympia since the Special Session started on Monday there is one development that could hold huge implications for citizens going forward. At a media availability on Monday Senate Republican Leader Sen. Schoesler said that Senators may meet via teleconference to help keep cost down for members living out of the area.
While the people of Washington and most lawmakers breathlessly await the outcome of closed-door budget negotiations (a process clothed in "sanctity," according to Governor Inslee), Senator Michael Baumgartner has introduced a bill that would promote fairness and social justice for every working person in the state.
A few lawmakers kicked off the first 30-day Special Session yesterday to finish work on the 2013-15 operating budget. At a press conference Governor Inslee said some progress had been made concerning the assumptions in the various budgets but that he was not in a position to disclose those assumptions needing to keep the "sanctity" of close-door budget negations intact.
President Obama has declared the week of May 5-11 as National Charter Schools Week. He called on communities to support charter schools and the students they serve. He described charter schools as “incubators of innovation” and models of reform for other schools. He also said this:
Yesterday, the nine-member charter school commission met in Bellevue for its second meeting. The commission is still getting organized. It has the important job of approving some of Washington state’s first charter public schools.
In the wake of last fall's voter-approved Initiative 1240, parent-led groups interested in opening charter schools in their communities are starting to emerge. Debbie Cafazzo at The News Tribune reports on parents' intentions to pursue charter school applications in their local Tacoma and Peninsula school districts.
Hello Washington Policy Center readers, I am Bob Pishue, and as the new WPC Center for Transportation director, I will be the eyes and ears on transportation policy going forward. I believe that a productive Washington needs freedom of movement, and that congestion relief should be a top priority in any transportation project or legislation. My goal is to keep government efficient and accountable, while informing the public of meaningful and impactful transportation policy.
The new nine-member state Charter School Commission held its first meeting on April 4th in Olympia. The commission has set up a website, here. Their meeting focused on reviewing essential laws and procedures. The agenda for the April 4 meeting is available here.
The sun is slowly arriving and the bees in my new beehives, as well as bees across the Northwest, will be happier for it. As they begin to pollinate flowers and orchards, however, they will face a number of challenges: Varroa mites, wasps, pesticides and loss of suitable bee pasture.