I noticed an interesting Washington Post article this week. It reports that Democratic mayors in Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland, Newark and Boston are challenging teachers unions. It is unusual for elected leaders in major cities to identify local unions as one reason reforms cannot be achieved. According to the story, these mayors:
Last week I had the good fortune to participate in a principal-led tour of Asa Mercer Middle School on Beacon Hill in south Seattle. The school serves 900 eager young students, ages 10 to 14, mostly from immigrant, low-income and minority families. Twenty different languages are spoken at the school.
Teachers union executives in Seattle had a bad day yesterday. They failed in their effort to ban Teach for America from Seattle classrooms. Teach for America (TFA) is a nationally-recognized training program that provides highly motivated, talented teachers to schools nationwide, especially helping poor and minority children in inner city communities. The union supported the election of two new board members, Sharon Peaslee and Marty McLaren, who then moved to cancel the Teach for America contract and ban these talented teachers from Seattle.
Third grader Enrique (not his real name) eagerly describes his Teach for America teacher like this: “He let us borrow bigger books.” “I am learning English now.” “My goal is to be at fourth grade in reading by the end of the year.”
As I drove to work last Monday, I listened to a fascinating discussion on the Bob Rivers radio show (KJR 95.7FM-Oldies). Bob was describing how school districts in Washington now offer all-day kindergarten in high-poverty schools. Having conducted extensive research into the educational claims of funding all-day kindergarten, this caught my interest.
A new Senate budget proposal announced today would lift Washington’s ban on charter schools. It would allow up to 10 charter schools to replace persistently low-performing schools, mostly in inner-city neighborhoods, as identified by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Most of the state's 2,200 public schools would not be affected.
Today a new poll confirms that 60% of voters favor allowing charter public schools in Washington. This poll, from the Freedom Foundation and Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, confirms Washington Policy Center's recent poll findings.
Last night I went to a meeting at Seattle School District headquarters in the John Stanford Center on Lander Street South, because the Seattle School Board is moving to bar Teach for America teachers from Seattle schools. Teach for America is the teacher training program that provides talented teachers to schools across the nation, especially helping poor and minority students. At the meeting were Superintendent Susan Enfield and the seven school board members, including two new members elected in November, Sharon Peaslee and Marty McLaren.
I have been reading the House and Senate education budgets, and compared them to the level of education spending in the last budget. Here is what I’ve found out.
The Senate Republicans’ budget, which passed so dramatically in the wee hours Saturday with the help of three break-away Democratic Senators, would increase spending on K-12 education and higher education by more than either current spending or the Democrats’ House-passed budget.
Yesterday KUOW’s Ross Reynolds had a great show on charter public schools. Ross interviewed Senator Rodney Tom (D-Bellevue), Attorney General (and Republican candidate for governor) Rob McKenna, education historian Diane Ravitch, Mary Ann from Queen Anne and a few other callers about allowing charter schools to open in Washington.
A proposed bill, HB 2569, would impose a new rating system on child care providers in Washington state, known as the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), on top of the requirements of Washington's normal child care licensing laws.