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

Respected former Democratic senator recommends review of “basic education” definition

January 5, 2015 in Blog

Over the holidays, respected former state senator Jim Kastama (D-Puyallup), who served from 1996 to 2012, wrote in The Seattle Times about being misled when he voted for ESHB 2261, the hugely complex bill that redefined “basic education” and called for massive increases in funding, but included no significant reforms in the way education services are delivered.

Does Washington rank 41st, 30th, 22nd or 6th in education? It depends on how you count

December 4, 2014 in Blog

As lawmakers prepare for the upcoming legislative session in Olympia, there is a lot of debate about where our state ranks in education spending.  As an analyst, I know this all depends on what metric a lawmaker uses, and the metric chosen often depends on whether the lawmaker wants to increase taxes.  A poor ranking makes it appear that more spending and a heavier tax burden are urgently needed.

WEA union sees declining influence in recent election

November 18, 2014 in Blog

It has been widely reported that Democrats lost the recent mid-term election, but less noticed is that voters also delivered a series of defeats to executives at the Washington Education Association (WEA) union.

Governor Inslee on McCleary and tax increases: 2012 versus 2014

November 7, 2014 in Blog

At a post election press conference earlier this week Governor Inslee was asked about his 2012 campaign promise not to ask for tax increases and how that squares with his new calls for tax increases to address the McCleary K-12 funding ruling. When asked what changed since 2012 the Governor said on Wednesday:

WPC on I-1351 after day two of ballot returns

November 6, 2014 in Blog

After day two of ballot returns from Election Day, WPC is closely watching the result trends of Initiative 1351, the class size initiative. Below you will find our statement on the ballot returns for I-1351.

A look at three claims being made about Initiative 1351

October 28, 2014 in Blog

Union executives have spent $3.5 million promoting Initiative 1351, because they stand to profit by up to $7.4 million a year in new member dues taken from public education budgets.  If it passes, they could double their “investment” in the first year.

Teacher cuts at Garfield High shows why families need more school choices

October 27, 2014 in Blog

Nine weeks after classes started, students at Garfield High School in Seattle learned last week that they will be losing one of their teachers.

Administrators at the state’s largest school district, overseen by Board President Sharon Peaslee and six other board members, informed Garfield and five other local schools they planned to take away one of their teachers.

The surprising and growing opposition to Initiative 1351

October 22, 2014 in Blog

It’s widely assumed that Initiative 1351, the ballot measure that purports to reduce class sizes, will pass by a wide margin.  The initiative title has bumper-sticker attractiveness, it faces no organized opposition, and executives at the powerful WEA and other unions are putting $3.5 million of their members’ dues money behind it. (In Washington, teachers must pay the union as a condition of employment.) 

Initiative 1351 is like voting for puppies and apple pie

October 21, 2014 in Blog

Backers of Initiative 1351 are asking voters to support reduced class sizes without providing a way to pay for it.  Smaller class sizes without higher taxes – who wouldn’t be for that?  As one skeptic quipped, it’s like asking people to vote for puppies and apple pie. 

WPC debates Initiative 1351 on TVW's Inside Olympia

October 20, 2014 in Blog

Watch below as WPC's Education Director, Liv Finne, debates Initiative 1351 on TVW's Inside Olympia.