On Tuesday, November 17, the Medal of Honor Character Development program is holding a free teacher training conference in character development at the Talaris Conference Center in Seattle, details here. All middle and high school teachers, and counselors, coaches and administrators are invited to attend.
On September 4th, in a 6 – 3 ruling that stunned parents three weeks into the school year, Washington’s state supreme court voted to shutter the state’s nine charter schools and forbid the opening of new ones. The ruling suddenly left 1,300 schoolchildren in educational limbo.
Charter schools operate in 42 states and serve some 2.9 million children. They are non-controversial and extremely popular with parents. Before opening, each of Washington’s nine charter schools had to hold lotteries to fill a limited number of slots because of high demand from families.
A couple of weeks ago, Brian and Anna Jones, Seattle public school parents, donated $70,000 of their own money to Alki Elementary School to keep a popular teacher from being transferred. The Joneses learned that the Seattle school board wants to abruptly reassign 25 teachers, and they heroically stepped forward to help one school.
Professor Thomas Halverson, director of UW’s Master in Education Policy program, has created a free film series and public forum to discuss important education policy issues. School finance is the subject for Tuesday, October 27, at 6:00-8:00 pm, Smith Hall 120. The award-winning film documentary The Cartel will be shown, followed by a discussion of the movie. I am one of the panel members.
The Washington state supreme court's mean-spirited ruling against charter schools has sparked reaction across the country. Defenders of family choice in education have created a humorous satire, a three-minute rap video. Parents in this satire video say that, since judges, administrators and union executives want to take away choice, they should "Tell us what to think! Tell us what to do!"
Last week Attorney General Bob Ferguson asked Chief Justice Madsen, and Justices Johnson, Owens, Wiggins, Stephens, and Yu of the state supreme court to reconsider their ruling striking down charter schools. AG Ferguson's excellent analysis shows these six justices have made serious errors which, if uncorrected, will hurt charter schools and other innovative school programs in Washington.
Five Washington Attorneys General, past and present and representing both parties, say the state supreme court’s decision striking down the voter-approved charter school law is wrong. They note that from a legal standpoint the decision is flawed, disruptive and unfair to families, and that its newly-invented “common schools” doctrine is pointless.
As public schools in Washington experience turmoil (as The New York Times puts it), due to recent court decisions, Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat points to what he says may be one source of the problem – campaign donations from special interests to state judges.
Right before the start of the Labor Day weekend, the state supreme court, in a 6-3 decision, declared unconstitutional the voters’ charter school law, passed in 2012. With this decision, the court has denied public funding to the 1,300 children enrolled in Washington’s 9 charter schools, cancelled the opening of more charter schools, and hurt the children and families with the least political power and influence in our state. Washington Policy Center calls upon the Governor and other legislative leaders to make the technical fix required to restore public funding to charter schools.
As the days grow shorter and the nights grow cooler, families across Washington prepare for a yearly ritual, getting kids ready to go back to school. And too many families have to prepare for a different ritual – when a union-led teacher strike hits their local school.
As predictably as the swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano, teacher strikes close schools in parts of Washington each year with depressing regularity.