Washington Policy Blog

Teacher standards board undermines legislative intent in new ProTeach Portfolio requirement

October 17, 2010 in Blog

The Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) is the state regulatory board which decides all the state rules around teacher quality and certification. In 2007, the legislature directed the board to "set performance standards and develop, pilot, and implement a uniform and externally administered professional-level certification assessment based on demonstrated teaching skill." RCW 28A.410.220(13)

Note that the Legislature explicitly provided for an assessment and that it is to be based on "demonstrated teaching skill."

Report identifies need for more higher education transparency

October 15, 2010 in Blog

In 2009 the legislature passed a bill (HB 2344) directing the Joint Legislative Audit & Review Committee (JLARC) to audit "Transparency in Higher Education Data." Based on the preliminary report, Washington's higher education system is in need of some serious sunshine.

According to JLARC:

The people speak: Viaduct transit option will not force people out of their cars

October 15, 2010 in Blog

Earlier this week, the WSDOT released a survey on the Viaduct. Here are the complete topline results.

There were three questions that really stood out to me and demonstrate why the Mayor's proposal to remove the Viaduct and replace it with a surface option is dead on arrival. Seattle is the most congested city in America and its residents know it. 

School spending in Seattle and other Washington schools is increasing, not decreasing

October 13, 2010 in Blog

Today's Seattle Times article "Foes of school levy focus on leadership," allows supporters of the $48 million levy on the ballot in November to create the impression that the public is sending less money to Seattle schools. 

It is inaccurate to say that public funding of Seattle's schools is being cut.  Here are the facts:

State already spends on energy efficiency, R-52 unnecessary

October 13, 2010 in Blog

As voters cast their ballot this November one of the questions they will be asked is whether to enact or reject Referendum 52, a $500 million bond measure to fund energy retrofits on public buildings.

How to fix our schools

October 12, 2010 in Blog

Occasionally such a great education reform article comes along that the best I can do is reprint it verbatim.  Note the names of the superintendents who support this manifesto---they represent a virtual Hall of Fame of reform school Superintendents from all over the country.  If anyone knows the problems that face our schools, it is they. 

How to fix our schools: A manifesto

The Washington Post

Schools need Supermen (great education leaders), not more money

October 8, 2010 in Blog

Union representatives claim that Davis Guggenheim’s new movie documentary "Waiting for Superman" does not tell the full story about charter school success. Sandra Schroeder, president of the American Federation of Teachers, argues in the Seattle Times that charter schools like Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone succeed because they spend more money than public schools.

King County's takeover of West Seattle Ferry has failed

October 8, 2010 in Blog

King County officials have had a rough first year since they took over the West Seattle Ferry from a private operator; ridership is down 40 percent, costs have tripled, and they crashed the boat.

An election system made for late night TV

October 8, 2010 in Blog

If the race between Sen. Patty Murray and challenger Dino Rossi comes down to the wire and control of the U.S. Senate hangs in the balance, Secretary of State Sam Reed may become a mainstay on shows like The Tonight Show, Daily Show, and Colbert Report

Have voters' liquor attitudes changed since 1972?

October 7, 2010 in Blog

Following the repeal of Prohibition in 1933 state officials created the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) to regulate and control the sale and distribution of alcohol in the state.

State voters have been asked four times to change aspects of the state’s liquor control system via initiatives that qualified for the ballot since 1933. One of the initiatives sought to expand the powers of the WSLCB while the other three to loosen its restrictions.  Here is a brief summary of those initiatives and the results:

Bus union waivers (slightly) on freezing pay

October 7, 2010 in Blog

The president of Metro's bus union, Paul Bachtel has been quite firm in recent reports on the union's opposition to freezing pay increases. Bachtel's attitude is summed up in this Seattle Times article:

Berlin Wall blocks education reformers in Washington state

October 6, 2010 in Blog

Today, Seattle Times' Lynne Varner posts another excellent piece about education reform:  "A state of educational inertia." She puts it gently when she says the state of Washington should be renamed the Complacency Belt, the land where inertia rules when it comes to education reform.

Private liquor sales is the national norm

October 6, 2010 in Blog

There are currently 18 liquor monopoly states across the country including Washington. These are states that maintain some level of monopoly control over the sale of liquor. Washington is one of 12 states that employ a monopoly over both retail and wholesale liquor sales.

Does the state try to maximize liquor sales?

October 5, 2010 in Blog

One of the arguments Initiatives 1100 and 1105 proponents make is that the state's current monopoly on liquor sales distracts the Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) from its other duties and incentivizes the state to try to maximize liquor sales to generate more revenue for government budgets.