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.

Striking teachers average $87,890 in pay and benefits, about $5,000 more than the statewide average

May 5, 2015 in Blog

Last night, teacher union executives called for extending their ongoing one-day strike actions to close more schools, expanding to the districts of Seattle, Snohomish, Lake Stevens and Franklin Pierce. Currently union executives are using strikes to close schools to 257,000 children, for the time being denying access to public education to one in four Washington students. Teachers union executives say they are using school closures as part of their effort to lobby state lawmakers for more in pay and benefits and for other spending increases.

KOMO News Radio covers teacher pay and benefits in Washington

April 29, 2015 in Blog

This morning Carleen Johnson of KOMO News Radio interviewed me because of the spreading teachers strikes in Washington, now affecting 80,000 students in 14 school districts. Teachers union executives are calling on the legislature for pay raises, so knowing what teachers are paid now is basic to covering these strikes.

How much do teachers make? (Hint – the statewide average including benefits is $83,000)

April 27, 2015 in Blog

Executives with the state’s powerful Washington Education Association (WEA) union announced last week they plan to expand school closings by calling a strike for May 6th in the Lake Washington district, bringing to eleven the number of school districts subject to union action. The latest announcement will empty classrooms for the day of about 25,760 students, increasing to 70,000 the number of students affected by shuttered public schools.

Are teacher strikes illegal? See RCW 41.56.120

April 23, 2015 in Blog

Parents in Arlington scrambled yesterday to make alternative arrangements for their children as a strike called by teacher union executives closed local public schools.  Union leaders in Conway and Anacortes also announced plans to strike, bringing to ten the number of districts where local schools closed to students.

Union strikes seek to close schools to 40,000 students in eight districts

April 21, 2015 in Blog

Union executives in eight Washington public school districts have called for strikes starting this week in an effort to pressure lawmakers in Olympia to direct more money to increases in teacher pay and benefits. The call was affirmed by votes of union membership.

New charter school in New Orleans will add learning choices for students

April 14, 2015 in Blog

Last week National Public Radio interviewed Jonathan Johnson, the founder of the Rooted School, a new charter school opening in New Orleans. Mr. Johnson’s high school program will prepare students for the 7,000 tech-sector jobs predicted to arrive in Louisiana. Mr. Johnson believes students need more options than college. The Rooted School will offer a small-school environment to prepare students for a technical career, in addition to getting ready for college.

2015-17 Budget: Senate would cut college tuition, House would allow tuition increases

April 8, 2015 in Blog

The Senate and House proposed budgets for 2015-17 take sharply different approaches to solving the problem of rising tuition at Washington’s public institutions of higher learning. Starting under Governor Gregoire, the state cut funding for public colleges and universities, while at the same time telling administrators they could impose large tuition increases. The increased burden falls hardest on middle–class families trying to gain access to college for their children leaving high school.

Under "levy swap," taxes voted for local schools would go to Olympia instead

April 6, 2015 in Blog

State lawmakers are debating the merits of an idea called the “levy swap,” in which Olympia would take the money people now pay in local school taxes and redistribute it statewide, while in turn reducing the taxes people pay to local school districts. Still, most parents would likely be upset if they found out the taxes they voted for local schools were going to Olympia instead.

Senate bill would let families choose to receive $5,000 in education assistance

March 27, 2015 in Blog

Senator Michael Baumgartner (R- Spokane) has introduced SB 6079, to allow families that choose to receive up to $5,000 of the average $7,400 in public money the state spends per child.  Parents can use the money to access educational services for children at public or private schools. SB 6079 would help lawmakers fulfill the key purpose of education funding, to meet the paramount duty of providing for the education of every child residing in the state.