Lfinne

20,000 parents march to defend charter schools in New York City

October 10, 2013 in Blog

Today’s WSJ column by Daniel Henninger reports that two days ago, on Tuesday, 20,000 African-American and Hispanic parents marched across the Brooklyn Bridge to New York City Hall.  This is a very large number of people to be marching on the City.  Why did they do this?  These parents marched to defend their charter schools from a new threat: the leading candidate for mayor of New York City, Democrat Bill de Blasio.  Mr. de Blasio is supported by the city’s teachers union.

Parent group hopes to open Sunnyside Charter School to serve disadvantaged students

October 9, 2013 in Blog

Last fall voters lifted the ban on charter schools, making Washington the 42nd state in the nation to provide a charter school choice to parents.  In approving Initiative 1240, voters passed one of the strongest charter school laws in the country.  Now that this law is being implemented, engaged parents hoping to open charter schools are emerging all over the state. One such group comes from Sunnyside, Washington, a small agricultural community in eastern Washington.  

Is Superintendent Randy Dorn planning to underfund charter schools?

October 2, 2013 in Blog

Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn has just released his calculation of how much he wants to give charter schools and their students when these popular, voter-approved schools open next fall.  As many of my readers will recall, Superintendent Dorn opposed allowing children in Washington state to attend charter schools. 

Today is opening day for charter schools in Washington state

September 23, 2013 in Blog

Today the Washington State Charter School Commission launched its charter school application process.  The Commission invited communities and charter school pioneers to file their charter school applications. See the Commission's Request for Proposals, available here.  

Good news from today’s revenue forecast

September 19, 2013 in Blog

Jason Mercier, budget analyst for Washington Policy Center, just wrote an informative analysis of the good news from today’s revenue forecast. 

Rainier Beach school officials allowed to reject bad teachers

September 16, 2013 in Blog

On Saturday, Lynne Varner of The Seattle Times wrote an informative editorial about Rainier Beach High, a Seattle school that serves mostly poor and minority students.  Varner notes something remarkable: 

“Rainier Beach successfully persuaded the Seattle School District to exempt it from forced teacher placements.”

State Board of Education approves Spokane's application to open charter schools

September 11, 2013 in Blog

Today, in Yakima, the State Board of Education unanimously voted to give Spokane Public Schools the authority to open charter schools. With this vote, Spokane Public Schools, Washington state's second-largest district, of 28,000 students, will become the first district in the state to offer parents a charter school choice.  

Results Washington will fail to improve the public schools

September 11, 2013 in Blog

Yesterday Governor Inslee launched a new initiative, Results Washington, the latest announcement by a governor to improve state government and the public schools.  Governors Gary Locke and Christine Gregoire tried similar initiatives. 

In this one, Governor Inslee says the following about goals for the public schools

Anti-reform activists push back on giving parents education choice

September 9, 2013 in Blog

Today, Rick Hess at National Review Online writes a great article drawing the battle lines in education reform.  On one side are voices like Diane Ravitch, whose new book attacks school reformers for supporting school choice, accountability, merit pay and greater respect for parents' role in the education of their children.  On the other side are caring school reformers, of both parties, alike, who have signed on to well-

Seattle union backs away from strike action; agrees to allow children to attend school on time

September 4, 2013 in Blog

Last night, executives at Seattle's powerful teachers union decided to back away from their threatened strike action and allow Seattle's 50,000 public school children to attend classes on time.  Over the Labor Day weekend parents across the city had been making alternative child care arrangements in case the union followed through on plans to close schools to students. 

The union and District officials settled on a two-year contract agreement.  I have just finished reading the new agreement.  Here are its key terms:

Seattle teachers strike: What’s a fair contract?

September 2, 2013 in Blog

Last week, as Seattle parents prepared for the fall-out of a threatened teachers strike, Rich Wood spokesman for the state teacher union, told West Seattle Herald reporter Patrick Robinson,

“The Seattle School Board needs to make teachers and other school employees a fair contract offer...” 

Research shows Seattle School District pays some of the highest teacher salaries in the state – average salary + benefits tops $90K

August 29, 2013 in Blog

This morning, Linda Shaw of The Seattle Times provides an informative report on the threatened Seattle schools strike by union executives over contract negotiations with the school district.  One of the issues in contention is the cost of teacher compensation, described as follows: 

“Under the school district’s offer, she said [School Board member Shelley Carr], Seattle teachers would remain some of the most highly paid in the state.” 

Seattle parents brace for teachers' strike

August 28, 2013 in Blog

Today in The Seattle Times, the Seattle school district notified families to prepare for a possible strike by teachers on the first day of school, September 4, next week.  

Charter schools have younger teachers

August 27, 2013 in Blog

Today the New York Times reports that charter school teachers are younger, on average, than traditional school teachers. While charter school teachers have an average of two to five years experience, teachers in traditional schools have close to an average of 14 years experience.  

Charter schools see the youth of their teachers as a desirable quality.  

Federal government repeats demand that Washington rewrite its teacher/principal evaluation bill

August 16, 2013 in Blog

Yesterday, the news broke that the U.S. Department of Education meant what it said last summer, when it told Washington state to rewrite its teacher/principal evaluation bill, SB 5896. Because lawmakers did not do so, the federal government has now declared Washington’s one-year waiver from No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements at “high risk” of not being renewed. 

I said it last summer, and I’ll say it again.  The federal government has a lot of nerve.