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.

What's New

Revenue forecast helps grow budget reserves

September 19, 2013 in Blog

While those following the state's monthly revenue receipts expected state revenue collections to continue to grow, the amount of yesterday's increase was a bit of a surprise.

According to the state's economist, Dr. Steve Lerch, revenues are now projected to grow by another $345 million for the current budget and $342 million for the 2015-17 budget:

Rainier Beach school officials allowed to reject bad teachers

September 16, 2013 in Blog

On Saturday, Lynne Varner of The Seattle Times wrote an informative editorial about Rainier Beach High, a Seattle school that serves mostly poor and minority students.  Varner notes something remarkable: 

“Rainier Beach successfully persuaded the Seattle School District to exempt it from forced teacher placements.”

State Board of Education approves Spokane's application to open charter schools

September 11, 2013 in Blog

Today, in Yakima, the State Board of Education unanimously voted to give Spokane Public Schools the authority to open charter schools. With this vote, Spokane Public Schools, Washington state's second-largest district, of 28,000 students, will become the first district in the state to offer parents a charter school choice.  

Results Washington will fail to improve the public schools

September 11, 2013 in Blog

Yesterday Governor Inslee launched a new initiative, Results Washington, the latest announcement by a governor to improve state government and the public schools.  Governors Gary Locke and Christine Gregoire tried similar initiatives. 

In this one, Governor Inslee says the following about goals for the public schools

Governor kicks off "soft" launch of Results Washington effort

September 10, 2013 in Blog

Today Governor Inslee put his stamp on the state's long track record with performance management efforts with a "soft" launch of Results Washington. As noted by his press release:

Gov. Jay Inslee today formally launched Results Washington, which will provide faster and easier answers to those questions and access to an unprecedented array of performance data related to his top goals.

Anti-reform activists push back on giving parents education choice

September 9, 2013 in Blog

Today, Rick Hess at National Review Online writes a great article drawing the battle lines in education reform.  On one side are voices like Diane Ravitch, whose new book attacks school reformers for supporting school choice, accountability, merit pay and greater respect for parents' role in the education of their children.  On the other side are caring school reformers, of both parties, alike, who have signed on to well-

Seattle union backs away from strike action; agrees to allow children to attend school on time

September 4, 2013 in Blog

Last night, executives at Seattle's powerful teachers union decided to back away from their threatened strike action and allow Seattle's 50,000 public school children to attend classes on time.  Over the Labor Day weekend parents across the city had been making alternative child care arrangements in case the union followed through on plans to close schools to students. 

The union and District officials settled on a two-year contract agreement.  I have just finished reading the new agreement.  Here are its key terms:

Seattle teachers strike: What’s a fair contract?

September 2, 2013 in Blog

Last week, as Seattle parents prepared for the fall-out of a threatened teachers strike, Rich Wood spokesman for the state teacher union, told West Seattle Herald reporter Patrick Robinson,

“The Seattle School Board needs to make teachers and other school employees a fair contract offer...” 

Research shows Seattle School District pays some of the highest teacher salaries in the state – average salary + benefits tops $90K

August 29, 2013 in Blog

This morning, Linda Shaw of The Seattle Times provides an informative report on the threatened Seattle schools strike by union executives over contract negotiations with the school district.  One of the issues in contention is the cost of teacher compensation, described as follows: 

“Under the school district’s offer, she said [School Board member Shelley Carr], Seattle teachers would remain some of the most highly paid in the state.”