Education

WPC's Center for Education conducts objective research and makes practical policy recommendations to improve Washington State's ability to carry out its paramount duty to educate every child within its borders.

Education Blog

$2 billion hole blown in brand new 2015-17 budget

July 1, 2015 in Blog

Around 11:30 p.m. last night (30 minutes before a government shutdown) Governor Inslee signed the state's 2015-17 budget. Though the new budget is only a few hours old, there is already a $2 billion cloud hanging over it.

Legislature approves budget/transportation package; averts government shutdown but work still to be done for budget to balance

July 1, 2015 in Blog

With just hours to spare before a partial state government shutdown, the legislature overwhelmingly adopted the state’s 2015-17 budget. By a vote of 38-10 in the Senate and 90-8 in the House, lawmakers approved a $38.2 billion biennial budget ($79 billion all funds). This represents a 13% increase in spending from the 2013-15 budget.

New state budget to spend $2.9 billion more on public schools; 19% increase is one of largest in state history

June 30, 2015 in Blog

Yesterday, after 165 days of discussion and negotiation, lawmakers in Olympia reached agreement on a state budget for 2015-17.  The new budget will increase spending on K-12 public schools from the current $15.26 billion to $18.15 billion, an increase of 19%. Lawmakers achieved this large rise in spending with the natural increase in current revenues, without imposing new taxes on Washington families and business owners.

Every School: One Citizen’s Guide to Transforming Education

June 26, 2015 in Blog

Education leader Don Nielsen gave a fascinating and informative presentation recently at the Discovery Institute in Seattle about his new reform book "Every School." Watch the video here:

Every School: One Citizen’s Guide to Transforming Education

Read the summary here. 

On average, teachers make more than the families who pay their salaries

May 22, 2015 in Blog

Education leader Rep. Chad Magendanz has released an informative chart (below), based on OSPI data, showing that teachers on average are not underpaid, but make well above the median household income in our state. 

The numbers show that on average teachers make more than the taxpaying working families who pay their salaries. The teacher salary figures are for a ten-month work year, while most people earn their income over twelve months. 

WPC comments on SB 6116, on strikes in public schools

May 19, 2015 in Blog

This afternoon I was invited to speak before the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee about SB 6116, on strikes in the public schools. 

Below is an outline of my remarks.

1. Teacher union strikes against the legislature are not possible

a) Union executives say they are calling strikes against the legislature.  This is not possible.

b) Union executives have signed labor contracts with school districts, not the state legislature.  These strikes are by unions against their local community schools.

Striking teachers average $87,890 in pay and benefits, about $5,000 more than the statewide average

May 5, 2015 in Blog

Last night, teacher union executives called for extending their ongoing one-day strike actions to close more schools, expanding to the districts of Seattle, Snohomish, Lake Stevens and Franklin Pierce. Currently union executives are using strikes to close schools to 257,000 children, for the time being denying access to public education to one in four Washington students. Teachers union executives say they are using school closures as part of their effort to lobby state lawmakers for more in pay and benefits and for other spending increases.

KOMO News Radio covers teacher pay and benefits in Washington

April 29, 2015 in Blog

This morning Carleen Johnson of KOMO News Radio interviewed me because of the spreading teachers strikes in Washington, now affecting 80,000 students in 14 school districts. Teachers union executives are calling on the legislature for pay raises, so knowing what teachers are paid now is basic to covering these strikes.

How much do teachers make? (Hint – the statewide average including benefits is $83,000)

April 27, 2015 in Blog

Executives with the state’s powerful Washington Education Association (WEA) union announced last week they plan to expand school closings by calling a strike for May 6th in the Lake Washington district, bringing to eleven the number of school districts subject to union action. The latest announcement will empty classrooms for the day of about 25,760 students, increasing to 70,000 the number of students affected by shuttered public schools.

Are teacher strikes illegal? See RCW 41.56.120

April 23, 2015 in Blog

Parents in Arlington scrambled yesterday to make alternative arrangements for their children as a strike called by teacher union executives closed local public schools.  Union leaders in Conway and Anacortes also announced plans to strike, bringing to ten the number of districts where local schools closed to students.