Vance seeks $5 billion more for schools

July 13, 2015 in Blog

Chris Vance, who works for Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn, has a commentary today at Crosscut on the legislature’s alleged shortcomings in funding public education.  The commentary has bi-partisan roots – Dorn is a Democrat, and Vance is a former Republican state party chairman.

Parents say they like education choices offered by new charter schools

July 7, 2015 in Blog

Reporter Gwen Davis at the Madison Park Times has been talking to parents about the new charter schools opening this fall. She provides this informative report, “Charter schools about choice in education, parents say,” on what she found out.

Is reducing class sizes the best way to improve student learning?

July 2, 2015 in Blog

Completion of this year’s legislative session is on hold for the moment, and the just-completed 2015-17 state budget faces a $2 billion hole, because of a late-breaking dispute over funding for Initiative 1351, the class-size reduction initiative. 

New state budget to spend $2.9 billion more on public schools; 19% increase is one of largest in state history

June 30, 2015 in Blog

Yesterday, after 165 days of discussion and negotiation, lawmakers in Olympia reached agreement on a state budget for 2015-17.  The new budget will increase spending on K-12 public schools from the current $15.26 billion to $18.15 billion, an increase of 19%. Lawmakers achieved this large rise in spending with the natural increase in current revenues, without imposing new taxes on Washington families and business owners.

Every School: One Citizen’s Guide to Transforming Education

June 26, 2015 in Blog

Education leader Don Nielsen gave a fascinating and informative presentation recently at the Discovery Institute in Seattle about his new reform book "Every School." Watch the video here:

Every School: One Citizen’s Guide to Transforming Education

Read the summary here. 

Movie review of new charter school documentary

June 26, 2015 in Blog

Recently I asked my research assistant Katherine Hill to watch the new documentary on charter schools called “Most Likely to Succeed” and to write a short description of it.  Here is her review.

Review of "Most Likely to Succeed," by Katherine Hill

State Commission votes to continue Seattle charter school for homeless families

June 24, 2015 in Blog

After months of suspense and threats of closure, members of the state Charter School Commission narrowly voted Thursday to allow First Place Scholars charter school, located in Seattle’s Central District, to continue operations.  The school serves some 75 low-income and homeless families, including a number of special needs children, who otherwise would have difficulty gaining access to a quality public education.

Good news for charter school families

June 19, 2015 in Blog

As those who read my blog know, First Place Scholars Charter School in Seattle has long faced closure by the state Charter School Commission.  My blog from earlier this week goes into more detail on this.

State commission to consider closing Seattle charter school

June 16, 2015 in Blog

Members of the State Charter School Commission, created by voters in 2012 as part of Washington’s charter school law, plan to meet Thursday at 10:00 a.m. at South Seattle Community College to consider whether to close the state’s first charter school, First Place Scholars school for homeless children in Seattle. 

Superintendent Randy Dorn’s attack on me contains many errors and contradictions

June 5, 2015 in Blog

Recently, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn attacked my credibility for how I described the proposed rules he wants to impose on charter schools and the families they serve.

New movie about High Tech High School shows exciting benefits one charter school provides for students

June 2, 2015 in Blog

Last night I saw “Most Likely to Succeed,” a new movie attracting a lot of buzz in Seattle, about a charter public high school in San Diego.  About 500 people packed Queen Anne’s vintage Uptown Cinema last night, and the movie shows again today at 3:00 pm. “Most Likely to Succeed” was selected for SIFF, the Seattle International Film Festival, after winning awards at Sundance.

Good news for charter school families: Superintendent Dorn delays effort to impose restrictions on charter schools

May 29, 2015 in Blog

There’s good news today for charter school children and their families.  Reporter Jim Camden at The Spokesman-Review provides an informative account of the reaction of charter school supporters on learning that the surprise rules state Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn wants to impose would sharply restrict innovation and student learning at the new schools.

Washington State Superintendent’s regulatory power grab will hurt charter school families

May 27, 2015 in Blog

They say that if you want to make an announcement that won’t be noticed, post the notice on an obscure website and schedule the hearing the day after a holiday weekend.  That’s just what Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn did when he issued his plan to impose 119 pages of administrative rules on public charter schools and the families that support them.

On average, teachers make more than the families who pay their salaries

May 22, 2015 in Blog

Education leader Rep. Chad Magendanz has released an informative chart (below), based on OSPI data, showing that teachers on average are not underpaid, but make well above the median household income in our state. 

The numbers show that on average teachers make more than the taxpaying working families who pay their salaries. The teacher salary figures are for a ten-month work year, while most people earn their income over twelve months. 

WPC comments on SB 6116, on strikes in public schools

May 19, 2015 in Blog

This afternoon I was invited to speak before the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee about SB 6116, on strikes in the public schools. 

Below is an outline of my remarks.

1. Teacher union strikes against the legislature are not possible

a) Union executives say they are calling strikes against the legislature.  This is not possible.

b) Union executives have signed labor contracts with school districts, not the state legislature.  These strikes are by unions against their local community schools.