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New charter school in New Orleans will add learning choices for students

April 14, 2015 in Blog

Last week National Public Radio interviewed Jonathan Johnson, the founder of the Rooted School, a new charter school opening in New Orleans. Mr. Johnson’s high school program will prepare students for the 7,000 tech-sector jobs predicted to arrive in Louisiana. Mr. Johnson believes students need more options than college. The Rooted School will offer a small-school environment to prepare students for a technical career, in addition to getting ready for college.

2015-17 Budget: Senate would cut college tuition, House would allow tuition increases

April 8, 2015 in Blog

The Senate and House proposed budgets for 2015-17 take sharply different approaches to solving the problem of rising tuition at Washington’s public institutions of higher learning. Starting under Governor Gregoire, the state cut funding for public colleges and universities, while at the same time telling administrators they could impose large tuition increases. The increased burden falls hardest on middle–class families trying to gain access to college for their children leaving high school.

Under "levy swap," taxes voted for local schools would go to Olympia instead

April 6, 2015 in Blog

State lawmakers are debating the merits of an idea called the “levy swap,” in which Olympia would take the money people now pay in local school taxes and redistribute it statewide, while in turn reducing the taxes people pay to local school districts. Still, most parents would likely be upset if they found out the taxes they voted for local schools were going to Olympia instead.

Senate bill would let families choose to receive $5,000 in education assistance

March 27, 2015 in Blog

Senator Michael Baumgartner (R- Spokane) has introduced SB 6079, to allow families that choose to receive up to $5,000 of the average $7,400 in public money the state spends per child.  Parents can use the money to access educational services for children at public or private schools. SB 6079 would help lawmakers fulfill the key purpose of education funding, to meet the paramount duty of providing for the education of every child residing in the state.

SOAR Academy Charter School holds lottery to select its inaugural kindergarten, first grade classes

March 24, 2015 in Blog

Hundreds of excited parents and students gathered early Saturday for a lottery to select students to attend a new charter public school to open in Tacoma this fall.  SOAR Academy, the first elementary public charter school in Pierce County, will provide kindergarten through 8th grade for schoolchildren.  The school received 234 applications for 124 available slots in kindergarten and first grade.  Principal Kristina Bellamy-McClain drew at random from a drum to select student names.

New charter school to open in Kent

March 11, 2015 in Blog

Excitement is building in Kent as the opening day for the community’s first charter school approaches.

Chris Vance describes levy swap idea

March 5, 2015 in Blog

The levy-swap concept, in which state lawmakers would take local levy funds in return for lower local property tax rates, is being debated in Olympia as one way to increase state funding for public education under the McCleary decision.

Excited parents and children gather for Washington state’s first charter school lottery

March 3, 2015 in Blog

Photo: Brenda McDonald, principal of PRIDE Prep charter school draws the names to fill one 
of 150 spaces available for enrollment

How Senator Liias can increase teacher pay without raising taxes

February 25, 2015 in Blog

Senator Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood) has released a new edition of his Washington White Board video series, arguing that state officials pay entry-level public school teachers so little they qualify for public assistance.  Senator Liias has also introduced a bill to create a state income tax.

Let’s make sure teachers get the classroom support they need

February 20, 2015 in Blog

In a new video posted over at The Stand, the union online newsletter, public school math teacher Mrs.

Rep. Carlyle calls for rethinking state’s role in funding K-12 schools

February 13, 2015 in Blog

This week, always-thoughtful Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle), Chairman of the House Finance Committee, released an interesting paper discussing state and local funding of the public schools. He notes that for 40 years, Washington has pursued a “state funded” education system, where most tax dollars are sent to Olympia to be distributed back to local schools, and small added local levies are intended to pay for modest enhancements.

SB 5744 would help every student have a great teacher

February 11, 2015 in Blog

On Monday the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee held a hearing on SB 5744, a school reform bill sponsored by Senator Litzow (R-Mercer Island). The bill would require administrators to consider teacher performance when layoffs are required.

SB 5393 would give high-performing public schools educational flexibility

February 4, 2015 in Blog

Senator Litzow and several other senators have introduced SB 5393.  The bill would free public schools with the highest rank, “Exemplary,” on the state’s School Achievement Index from 38 of the Common School regulation’s 72 chapters.

Governor Cuomo on teachers union—“Don’t say you represent students”

January 28, 2015 in Blog

In a meeting with editorial writers last week, Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo critiqued the role of powerful teachers unions in our public education system. He said teachers unions represent themselves, not students.

Charter School Commission may block family members from charter school boards

January 15, 2015 in Blog

Today, The Seattle Times reports members of the state Charter School Commission may consider a rule to prohibit family members from serving together on the board of directors of a charter school.  The charter school law allows family members on charter school boards, but the Commission is moving to block family members from working together to help their local school.