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.

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Washington schools can retain teachers and other employees without a second federal bail-out

July 10, 2010 in Blog

Friday the Seattle Times reported that Arne Duncan visited Seattle, pushing a second Congressional bailout for schools, this time for $10 billion (last time it was for around $100 billion).  He says that in many places, school districts have been trimming teacher positions for five or six years in a row.

State auditor finds that Seattle School District has placed public resources at risk

July 6, 2010 in Blog

The State Auditor's office released its audit of the Seattle School District of June 21, 2010.  Here is a quick summary of its findings:

1. The District is not recording meeting minutes and making them public, in violation of the law.

Key Facts about Washington Public Schools: 2009-2010

June 30, 2010 in Publications

The people of Washington are generous in funding our public schools, and by any reasonable measure public education in the state receives ample funding.  Education budgets are at historic highs, and per-pupil spending in Washington state is about $10,100 a year, the highest level ever. Yet because of restrictive work rules and a multi-layered bureaucracy, only 59 cents of every education dollar reaches the classroom, and public school students continue to lag in academic achievement.

A Short History of Collective Bargaining in Washington Public Schools

June 30, 2010 in Publications

Powerful public-sector unions strongly influence public education today, but it was not always that way. At one time the principal was the primary manager and education leader in each public school, similar to the way private schools are managed now.

Public Schools Have Ample Funding, So Where Does the Money Go?

June 28, 2010 in Publications

This op-ed appeared June 27, 2010 as part of WPC's monthly column by Paul Guppy in The Spokesman-Review

Public schools not underfunded

June 27, 2010 in In the News
Spokesman Review (Spokane)
Spokesman Review (Spokane)
Sunday, June 27, 2010

Edmonds School District has ample funding

June 2, 2010 in Blog

I was stunned to find this statement from School Board President Susan Phillips on the Edmonds School District website: “The dramatic reduction in state funding over the last several years limits our options.” 

Seattle teachers' union allows quality teachers and performance pay at Hawthorne Elementary, West Seattle Elementary and Cleveland High

May 31, 2010 in Blog

Three Seattle schools will be allowed to operate outside of the strictures of Seattle's collective bargaining agreement with teachers. Normally, collective bargaining rules prohibit school managers from assigning teachers to their schools based on their effectiveness and from rewarding them for raising student achievement. See our recently released 

Denver Public Schools starves Manual High and other innovation schools, violating state and federal law

May 25, 2010 in Blog

The Denver Post reports that Denver Public Schools may be violating Colorado's Innovation Schools Act of 2008. Lawyer Cara Lawrence asserts that the Denver school district has breached the terms of the law by failing to give three innovation schools their annual budget allocations in a timely manner. These three schools are Manual High, Montclair Elementary and Cole K-8. Colorado's Innovation Schools Act of 2008 gave innovation schools autonomy over 1) the selection of their staff, 2) the actual dollars in their school budget and 3) the design of their educational program.