LATEST BLOGS

AP report attacks minority families for choosing public charter schools for their children
By LIV FINNE  | 
Dec 9, 2017

An Associated Press report in newspapers across the country, including Spokane’s Spokesman Review, recently infuriated charter school families and supporters. The report says one in seven charter schools “put their students in racial isolation,” and then blames all public charter schools for re-segregating society on the basis of race. Charter school supporters and African-American school leaders across the country have roundly condemned the AP for a report so flawed in logic and lacking in fact.

The AP misses the full meaning and import of the fact that charter school families voluntarily choose to attend charter schools. This voluntary feature makes charter schools the exact opposite of the laws that forced segregation of schools by race, laws that were repealed over 50 years ago. With breathtaking heartlessness, the AP asserts minority students will not learn in sufficient numbers until society is fully integrated by race, insinuating most minority families have no hope of educating their children until then.

Just as egregious is the AP’s most glaring omission----the fact that for families, public charter schools represent the most liberating, popular school reform in 25 years.  Many families, especially minority families whose urban schools fail to educate their children, find renewed hope in the choice to enroll their child in a public charter school. This is borne out by the numbers. 

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Newspapers have clear message for Seattle on income tax
By JASON MERCIER  | 
Dec 9, 2017

Seattle has officially filed notice with the State Supreme Court an intent to appeal the court ruling invalidating its local income tax. New Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has called an appeal a "long shot." As I told KIRO radio, there is a slight chance Justices may decline to hear this case if it first goes to the Appeals Court and Judge Ruhl's decision declaring the Seattle income tax illegal on statutory grounds is upheld. In the meantime, newspaper editorial pages have a unanimous message for Seattle: This is not the way to try to change state tax policy. Here are the editorials to date since King County Superior Court Judge John Ruhl issued his devastating ruling calling Seattle's income tax illegal . . . 

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WEA union tells teachers they can expect big pay raises within current revenue
By LIV FINNE  | 
Dec 8, 2017

On December 6 the WEA teacher union issued a notice to teachers (posted below) hailing a big opportunity to “negotiate big pay raises.”

Surprise, surprise. The money is already there. Current revenues are sufficient to pay teachers, and to give them big pay raises.

Let’s review. The 2017-19 state budget for K-12 schools is $21.9 billion, a $3.2 billion increase over the last budget. The four-year budget outlook provides billions more in 2019-21. The 2017-19 state budget was the state’s final response in the McCleary school funding case, a case filed by the WEA teacher union in 2007. Since then, the state has nearly doubled school funding, from $11.7 billion in 2005 to $21.9 billion today.

The WEA union has used the complexity of school finance to confuse the state supreme court and the public about the amount of money that is actually needed for the schools. In October, less than two months ago, the WEA union lawyer told the state supreme court in the McCleary school funding lawsuit that the state has not provided enough money to fund teacher pay. The court declared on page 41 of its order that teachers need $1 billion from the 2018 Legislature to fund their salaries.

This new December 6 WEA union notice reveals that this extra $1 billion is not needed. Taxpayers don’t have to provide another $1 billion to fund teacher salaries, or even to give them “big pay raises.” The money is already there.

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