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Public school administrator blames voters for public school failures

April 2, 2014 in Blog

Bill Keim, Executive Director of the Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA), blames the people of Washington for the failures of public schools that are run by the members of his Association (“It’s time for voters to get serious about school funding,The Seattle Times’ Education Lab).

Where is the 2012-13 School Achievement Index?

March 31, 2014 in Blog

It is March 31st and the Washington State Board of Education has still not released the School Achievement Index for 2012-13.

This is unusual.  The State Board of Education usually releases the new Index to parents and the general public early in the year, normally near the end of January.  Now the Index is two months late.

Superintendent Randy Dorn says McCleary ruling requires $7.5 billion in higher taxes, but no school reform

March 27, 2014 in Blog

The Issue

On March 18th, Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn sent out a statement disputing Washington Policy Center’s analysis of the 2012 Supreme Court McCleary v. State of Washington decision.

Lawmakers protect bus service for charter school children

March 18, 2014 in Blog

Recently the people of Washington enacted the most significant advance in education reform our state has seen in 30 years, Initiative 1240, to allow 40 charter schools to open over five years.  Charter schools are independent community-based public schools that are popular with parents.  They have been successful in helping some the hardest-to-teach students get a good public education. Nationally over two million students attend 6,200 charter schools, with another 600,000 children on waiting lists.

WEA union says losing federal funds is OK, because school districts have “huge amount of money”

March 11, 2014 in Blog

The Olympian reports today on the conflict between the federal government and Washington lawmakers over Washington’s teacher evaluation law.

How much of proposed teacher COLA would be directed to union bank accounts?

March 7, 2014 in Blog

On March 4, the House amended the Senate supplemental budget bill, SB 6002, to add a $51.2 million appropriation to be sent to school districts as a teacher Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA).  The Senate-passed budget does not make this appropriation, so budget negotiators in Olympia will have to hammer out this and other differences before the session ends next week.  

Economists at Beacon Hill Institute respond to Rep. Ross Hunter’s criticism of economic model

March 6, 2014 in Blog

Economists at the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University in Boston have responded to Rep. Ross Hunter’s recent criticism of their economic model.  The model analyzed the impact on Washington residents of Superintendent Dorn’s proposal to increase the state sales tax and state property taxes.  Economic results show that Superintendent Dorn’s plan to increase taxes by $7.5 billion would hurt working families and weaken the economy by costing 18,500 jobs.  Rep. Hunter dismissed the finding as “unlikely to say anything interesting” and “not trustworthy.”

Average teacher pay increases every year

February 25, 2014 in Blog

Over at Cross Cut yesterday, John Stang provides a description of the Senate’s proposed supplemental budget.  His reporting suggests teachers will not be receiving pay increases, noting “Sorry,Teachers,” and “no cost-of-living raise for teachers.”

By describing just one type of teacher pay increase, the Cost of Living Adjustment, the article gives the impression that teachers haven’t received any pay increases. 

Washington’s first charter schools to open in Seattle, Tacoma, Kent, Highline and Spokane; 3,565 children to be served, 4,900 children asked to wait

January 31, 2014 in Blog

Yesterday, at West Seattle’s Bethaday Community Center, I attended an important meeting of the Washington State Charter School Commission.  At this historic meeting the Commission approved the first charter schools that will open their doors to students, since voters repealed the state’s charter school ban in 2012.

Senator McAuliffe signals support for charter schools

January 27, 2014 in Blog

In an interview Thursday with Austin Jenkins on Inside Olympia, Senator Rosemary McAuliffe (D-Bothell) signaled her support for charter schools.  

Seattle educators seek to open charter school for homeless children

January 24, 2014 in Blog

Educators at First Place School have applied to open a public charter school in Seattle under Washington’s voter-approved charter school law.  In November 2012, Washington became the 42nd state to authorize the popular independent public schools.

Charter school proposals draw hundreds of parents to public meeting

January 17, 2014 in Blog

Wednesday evening I attended a public forum in Renton to hear the proposals of three charter school applicants. More than 350 people showed up during the course of the evening, with standing-room-only the first hour.  Immigrant, low-income, middle-income and upper-income parents testified they hoped their children could attend one of the three proposed charter schools. 

House Bill 2133 would require report on collection and sharing of private student data

January 15, 2014 in Blog

House Bill 2133, sponsored by Representative Elizabeth Scott (R-Monroe) and Representative Gerry Pollet (D-Seattle), would require the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC) to prepare a report showing how the following agreements and laws require or permit the sharing of personally identifiable student data or student-level data from Washington state students, without the written consent of students or their parents or guardians:

Latest McCleary Order: Supreme Court judges propose state education budgets for 2014-2018

January 9, 2014 in Blog

                Today, Washington’s supreme court judges issued a court order that proposes education budgets for the school years 2014-18.  The judges gave only passing recognition to lawmakers and taxpayers for already adding $1.6 billion to public school spending, for a total of $15.2 billion, compared to the last state education budget.