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.
Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is in the process of creating a new rule for health insurance companies selling policies in the state exchange. (Here) In an interesting turn of events, hospitals and insurance companies are lining up together to oppose the ruling, but for very different reasons.
Seattle – Yesterday the people of King County soundly rejected increasing regressive taxes to provide more money to Metro transit, but that does not mean they want to cut bus services in local communities, as County leaders are threatening.
For several months now, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Councilmember Larry Phillips and other county leaders have told the public they will cut neighborhood bus routes if they do not receive more revenue from regressive taxes. King County officials say that without the new regressive taxes, they plan to cut 550,000 hours of bus service in many neighborhoods. Their planned cuts would fall hardest in many low-income neighborhoods across the county.
According to Crosscut, the state may be on the hook for $17.6 million due to the labor dispute that shut the tunnel project down for about a month. Last year, the contractor (Seattle Tunnel Partners) and the union argued over four dirt hauling jobs that resulted in picket lines even though the Project Labor Agreement assured there would be no labor unrest.
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.
A new report ranking the economic competitiveness in the 50 states shows that while Washington’s economic performance over the past ten years (2002-2012) has been better than most states, the future looks grim.
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz recently warned an increase in the minimum wage could result in a reduction in the company’s famously generous employee benefits. Schultz argues minimum wages should take into consideration the “total compensation” an employee receives, which in the case of Starbucks employees includes full health coverage, free food, bus passes, 401K, education assistance, stock rewards, bonuses and more—even for part-time workers.
King County Metro Transit officials may use new revenue from regressive sales and car taxes enacted under April 22nd’s Proposition 1 to provide money to speed negotiations over a stalled three-year union contract.
King County Metro officials reported on the $30 million windfall in sales tax revenues they are receiving this year. Speaking at a committee briefing for members of the King County Council this afternoon, Dwight Dively, Director of the Office of Performance, Strategy, and Budget, called the unexpected new money “...really good news.” But it may not be good news to Metro riders.
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.”