As kids get ready to go back to school, a controversy is brewing in Seattle Public Schools. The teachers union is poised to reject a pay-for-performance teacher evaluation system sought by Seattle School District Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson. This plan is entirely voluntary, except for new teachers, and would evaluate and reward teachers in part (25% of a teacher's evaluation) for improving student learning.
A new legal analysis written for Washington Policy Center by respected former state Supreme Court Justice Phil Talmadge finds that, if passed by voters this November, Initiative 1098 would likely be ruled unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court.
Justice Talmadge was a state Supreme Court Justice from 1995-2001 and served as a Democratic member of the State Senate from 1979-1995, where he chaired the Judiciary and Health Care Committees.
In a news announcement yesterday, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn unveiled the Seattle Jobs Plan outlining a series of City-run programs, such as an energy efficiency weatherization program, that he believes will stimulate economic growth and environmental protection.
Last week's Wall Street Journal Saturday Column is from Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, and chronicles his effort to build a "green" home. Interestingly he notes some of the very problems we've highlighted with green schools here in Washington state.
This week the City of Seattle and Mayor McGinn released their "Seattle Jobs Plan." The goal is to put Seattle-ites back to work and grow business in the region. The city is taking a more direct approach, leveraging federal dollars to incentivize business growth.
Check out Danny Westneat's column today. In the midst of a possible teachers strike, he makes an astute observation about public schools that is consistent with long-standing research data. Westneat says:
"In the end a principal should do what managers must do in countless other workplaces: decide who gets promoted and who gets fired. And then take heat."
On August 17th, Washington Policy Center environmental director Todd Myers and Eastern Washington office director Chris Cargill, toured the Hanford Nuclear site. This is the area where emergency crews practice their response to any eventuality.
Last week, the Department of Energy announced it is funding a test of the Smart Grid, an upgrade to the current electrical grid. Developed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in the Tri-Cities, the Smart Grid would improve the stability of the grid and allow consumers to receive real-time information about rates and adjust their energy use accordingly.
Despite calls from union leaders that talks on a new labor contract should stay at the negotiating table, the bus union in King County held a press conference on Friday to discuss, what else but their new labor contract.