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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The bubble and our universities

September 29, 2010 in In the News
Wenatchee World
Wenatchee World
Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Citizens' Guide to the Spokane Children's Investment Fund Initiative

September 28, 2010 in Publications


This November, voters in the City of Spokane will decide whether to raise property taxes in an attempt to lower Spokane’s public high school dropout rate. The measure is being promoted by a political 527 group called “People for the Children’s Investment Fund Initiative.” Supporters say the new spending is needed because, “Spokane is facing a persistently troubling school dropout rate that educators and civic leaders alike agree is undermining the social fabric of our families and community life.”

Teachers union leaders refund their salaries and some benefits to their school districts, accruing rights to second pension

September 28, 2010 in Blog

In my last blog, I reported that Mary Lindquist, president of the Washington State teachers union, draws a salary of $163,479 from the union, plus $14,925 in pension benefits. As public records show that she draws a salary from the Mercer Island School District, I reported that she received a salary from the district as well.

Lawmakers hear higher education reform options

September 28, 2010 in Blog

The Governor's Higher Education Funding Task Force briefed lawmakers today on the various reform options that are being discussed to reset the state's role in higher education.

Teachers union and school board directors provide "Key Messages" to refute Waiting for Superman school documentary

September 25, 2010 in Blog

Yesterday, Waiting for Superman hit movie screens across the country. Oprah has been promoting it all week.

Waiting for Superman is a new documentary which shows families praying and begging that their lottery numbers will allow their children to escape their local failing public school. Only Lady Luck can help them attend high-performing charter schools, as powerful interest groups aided by laws and taxpayers make sure that spaces at these schools are limited.

Teachers union blogger uses funny Lily Tomlin/Ernestine skit, drawing parallels between AT&T and the public school monopoly

September 24, 2010 in Blog

Ryan, a teachers union activist from Spokane, and I enjoy debating on the blogosphere about how to improve public schools. In his latest critique of my work, available here, he uses the image of Lily Tomlin’s character, Ernestine. Ernestine was the wisecracking, snorting telephone operator from At&T on the 1960’s comedy TV show The Laugh-In.

State ban means Washington students lose out as Oprah hands out $6 million for charter schools

September 22, 2010 in Blog

On Monday's show, Oprah joined the nationwide movement to increase the number of spaces available to students seeking to attend charter schools.  Oprah said "I value nothing more than education.  It is the reason why I stand here today.  Education is the open door to freedom.

Top tier out of school budget woes’ reach

September 18, 2010 in In the News
Spokesman Review (Spokane)
Spokesman Review (Spokane)
Saturday, September 18, 2010

When do we get to see the secret agreement the Seattle School District has reached with its teachers?

September 16, 2010 in Blog

House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, and Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, today said: “The fact is, the current budget situation clearly demonstrates that state government must be rescaled to fit the new fiscal reality.”

The same is true for the Seattle School District.

On September 1st, the District reached a closed-door agreement with its teachers union.  The teachers ratified the agreement September 2, but it has not yet been made public.

Schools don't need more public school employees--they need principals like Ben Chavis

September 16, 2010 in Blog

John Stossel's excellent piece yesterday, "Money is not what schools need," cites CATO education expert, Andrew Coulson, who shows that over the past 40 years schools across the nation have been hiring personnel at nearly ten times the rate of student enrollment.