Lfinne

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.

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.