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WEA union sees declining influence in recent election

November 18, 2014 in Blog

It has been widely reported that Democrats lost the recent mid-term election, but less noticed is that voters also delivered a series of defeats to executives at the Washington Education Association (WEA) union.

Justices receive political contributions from lead party in charter school lawsuit

October 31, 2014 in Blog

New research finds that some justices on the state supreme court have received political contributions from a lead party in a key lawsuit now before the court.

Parties in the case, League of Women Voters, Washington Education Association, et al vs State of Washington, are asking the court to strike down Washington’s charter school law, passed by voters in 2012, and bar children from attending a charter public school. 

Teacher cuts at Garfield High shows why families need more school choices

October 27, 2014 in Blog

Nine weeks after classes started, students at Garfield High School in Seattle learned last week that they will be losing one of their teachers.

Administrators at the state’s largest school district, overseen by Board President Sharon Peaslee and six other board members, informed Garfield and five other local schools they planned to take away one of their teachers.

The surprising and growing opposition to Initiative 1351

October 22, 2014 in Blog

It’s widely assumed that Initiative 1351, the ballot measure that purports to reduce class sizes, will pass by a wide margin.  The initiative title has bumper-sticker attractiveness, it faces no organized opposition, and executives at the powerful WEA and other unions are putting $3.5 million of their members’ dues money behind it. (In Washington, teachers must pay the union as a condition of employment.) 

Initiative 1351 is like voting for puppies and apple pie

October 21, 2014 in Blog

Backers of Initiative 1351 are asking voters to support reduced class sizes without providing a way to pay for it.  Smaller class sizes without higher taxes – who wouldn’t be for that?  As one skeptic quipped, it’s like asking people to vote for puppies and apple pie. 

Why Initiative 1351 will not improve learning for school children

October 15, 2014 in Blog

Initiative 1351, the ballot measure on class sizes, will bring new profits to the powerful WEA union because all new teachers will be forced to pay about $1,000 a year in dues as a condition of employment.  Overall the measure represents a $7.4 million windfall for the union, every year.

At the same time, I-1351 would do little to improve learning for Washington’s school children. 

Here’s why:

Democratic party statement wrong about Initiative 1351 endorsements

October 15, 2014 in Blog

A statement released Saturday by the Washington state Democratic Party falsely describes the political support behind Initiative 1351, the unfunded ballot measure intended to reduce class sizes.

The statement says “As Democrats, we are united” in supporting strong schools and educational opportunities then adds in bold lettering,  “That’s why Democrats support Initiative 1351 to reduce class size for every child, in every grade.”

Charter School Commission rejects three of four applications – rejections fall hardest on Hispanic families

October 13, 2014 in Blog

Last week in Yakima, in the second round of charter school applications, the Washington State Charter School Commission approved only one new school and rejected three others. Here are the actions Commissioners took:

State Charter School Commission to decide on new applications tomorrow

October 8, 2014 in Blog

Washington’s charter school law, one of the best in the country, is working as the voters intended when they passed Initiative 1240 in 2012.  The state Charter School Commission has approved seven new schools to open their doors to students this year and next, and officials at the Spokane School District have approved a charter school to serve the city’s low-income families.  The state’s first charter school, First Place Scholars, opened in September in Seattle’s Central District, helping homeless and low-income children gain access to a good public education.

How schools can reduce class sizes without increasing taxes

October 7, 2014 in Blog

A lot of false claims are being made these days about school funding and class sizes. Supporters of Initiative 1351, the class-size reduction initiative, say Washington’s schools do not have enough adults on staff to provide smaller class sizes. They want to increase the number adults paid by public schools by creating 25,561 new staff positions.

More Democrats voice opposition to WEA union initiative

October 1, 2014 in Blog

In a growing trend, more Democrats are expressing doubt and skepticism about Initiative 1351, the class size reduction initiative put on the November ballot by executives at the powerful teachers union, the Washington Education Association (WEA).

Citizens Guide to Initiative 1351: To Reduce Class Sizes

September 25, 2014 in Blog

To help voters understand the class size reduction initiative on the November ballot, Washington Policy Center has just published a new study, “Citizens Guide to Initiative 1351: To Reduce Class Sizes.”   

Class size mandates force schools to put classes in libraries, gyms and portables

September 24, 2014 in Blog

KOMO News Radio reported yesterday that Evergreen Heights Elementary in Auburn is having trouble meeting the legislature’s mandate to reduce class sizes. The school does not have the room. The school’s principal has instead been forced to put classes in the library, the gym and in a new portable. The library is now off-limits to students during class time. The gym has been divided into two classes, so students will no longer be able to take gym classes inside.

Democrats voice opposition to WEA union’s class-size initiative, I-1351

September 19, 2014 in Blog

In a surprise move Tuesday, the 43rd District Democrats in Seattle refused to endorse the Washington Education Association union's class-size ballot measure, Initiative 1351. State senator Jamie Pedersen (D-43, Capitol Hill) spoke against the measure, warning it would hurt legislative efforts to fund the schools in response to the McCleary decision.

Why are local schools short of money when school district budgets are going up?

September 5, 2014 in Blog

A mom in Seattle contacted me recently and asked how much money her children’s school, Blaine K-8, receives from the Seattle School District.  I looked it up and we were both stunned to discover how little funding, barely half, reaches a typical neighborhood school out of the central budget.

Many people wonder how education budgets can keep rising while local schools remain chronically short of money, so thought I would share my findings with my readers.