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AP reports on Dorn effort to stop children from attending better schools or receiving free tutoring

July 1, 2014 in Blog

The Associated Press (AP) reported on Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn’s announcement yesterday that he wants to exempt Washington schools from the standards of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

The 2002 education reform law gives families assigned to schools that fall short the ability to select a better school for their children, receive free transportation and get free outside tutoring.

Superintendent Dorn seeks to deny parents access to school choice and free tutoring

June 30, 2014 in Blog

In a sternly-worded statement today, the state’s highest public education official, Superintendent Randy Dorn, announced he is seeking to keep parents from learning about school choice and free tutoring services to which their children may be entitled under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Seattle School Board chooses math texts for Seattle elementary schools, overruling district managers

June 9, 2014 in Blog

Last week, in a bit of good news for Seattle children, the Seattle School Board voted 4-3 to adopt the Math in Focus textbook for Seattle’s elementary schools. Math in Focus is a solid curriculum based on the effective Singapore method for teaching math. The board of the state’s largest school district, serving nearly 50,000 students, has exercised its authority to reject a lower-standard math text chosen by school district officials, EnVision Math.

Seattle School Board to vote on weakening math standard

May 21, 2014 in Blog

The Seattle School Board is scheduled to vote tonight on providing a watered-down math curriculum for the city’s elementary schools, a change that would affect the 95 schools in the district and some 49,000 students and their families.  A District committee is recommending that School Board members adopt a program called EnVision Math.   A group of concerned math and science high school teachers and college professors calls EnVision Math the weakest choice available.  

George Will explains the Common Core in one minute

May 8, 2014 in Blog

As we’ve seen, Common Core is meeting increasing resistance from parents and educators across the country.  George Will explains why.

In new report, lawmakers cite separation of powers debate in McCleary case

April 29, 2014 in Blog

Today at 2:00 p.m., the Joint Select Committee on Article IX Litigation of the Washington State Legislature (JSCAIXLWSL) sent a report to the Supreme Court in response to the justices’ latest order in the seven-year-old McCleary education funding case.

Union’s defeat of teacher evaluation bill leads to loss of NCLB Waiver

April 24, 2014 in Blog

We all want Washington state to be first in education, but not like this.  Today Washington became the first state in the nation to lose its waiver under the No Child Left Behind Act.

U.S. Department of Education officials had long warned state leaders this would happen if the 2014 Legislature failed to include student performance on state standardized tests as one factor in teacher evaluations.

Latest McCleary order may be repeating the failures of the 1970s Doran decision

April 21, 2014 in Blog

In January, the state Supreme Court handed down a new order in the 2012 McCleary case that reads almost like a line-by-line budget, as I wrote here. This 2014 order represents a significant shift in approach compared with the court’s original McCleary decision, which held that the Legislature had not fully funded education.

Exaggerating the evidence on class size

April 11, 2014 in Blog

On Wednesday, Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn announced support for the teacher union's new class size reduction initiative, I-1351. The union hopes to gather enough signatures to put this initiative before the voters this November. Superintendent Dorn said:

“Reducing class sizes is key to improving student learning, particularly with at-risk students. That, in turn, will improve graduation rates.” 

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.