About WPC's Center for Education

Publications are filed under seven topics: Charter Schools, Education Savings Accounts, Improving Public Schools, Parent Choice, Policy Guide, School Achievement Index, and/or School Finance and McCleary, accessible here.

Washington Policy Center's key recommendations for improving schools are:

  1. Expand family access to charter schools
  2. Expand access to choice in education
  3. Allow state-funded Education Savings Accounts
  4. Adopt “fund the child” budgeting
  5. Shift from funding staff to funding children’s needs
  6. End the Prototypical School Model
  7. Repeal life-time tenure and certification rules

For more detail, see Chapter Five of WPC’s 2016 Policy Guide, “Improving Public Schools,” available here.

The Center for Education invites policymakers and practitioners to annual conferences to discuss innovations in education policy:

  • Solutions Summit 2016 “How Education Savings Accounts can Improve Schools,” with Jonathan Butcher of the Goldwater Institute and Paul Guppy, Vice President for Research, Washington Policy Center. TVW video of Bellevue event available here.  
    • WPC Study: “Education Money for Families: How Education Savings Accounts can help children learn in Washington state,” here.
    • WPC Studies and Commentary:  See Education Savings Accounts and Parent Choice, here and here.
  • Solutions Summit 2015 “School Choice and McCleary,” with the Hon. Rob McKenna, former Washington State Attorney General, and Paul Guppy, Vice President for Research, Washington Policy Center, video available here.
    • WPC Studies and Commentary: See School Finance and McCleary, and School Achievement Index, here and here.
  • Education Breakfast 2014 “Introducing Washington’s new charter schools,” with Adel Sefrioui of Excel Public Charter School, Maggie O’Sullivan of Rainier Prep Charter School, Jen Wickens of Summit Sierra and Olympus Charter Schools, Kristina Bellamy-McClain of SOAR Academy Charter School, Marco Petruzzi of Green Dot and Dan Seydell II and Sheri Day of First Place Scholars, video available here. Brenda McDonald of PRIDE Prep and Dan Nicklay of Coeur d'Alene Charter Academy in Idaho, at the breakfast in Spokane, video available here.
    • WPC Study: “Opening New Doors for Students: Washington’s First Public Charter Schools,” here.
  • Solutions Summit 2013 “What is a charter school and how do they improve education for students?” with Steve Sundquist, Chair, WA State Charter Schools Commission, and Anton Kramer, Principal, St. Therese Catholic Academy, in Bellevue, video available here. Dr. Shelley Redinger, superintendent Spokane Public Schools, and Cindi Williams, Member, Washington State Charter Schools Commission, in Pasco, Washington, video available here.
    • WPC Studies and Commentary: See Charter Schools, here.
    • The Daily Sun News, “Charting a new course for Washington public schools,” here.
  • February 2012 Event: Keynote address by Mr. Paul Pastorek. Following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, school reformers in Louisiana took the opportunity to reorganize the previously failing New Orleans Public Schools system. Paul Pastorek, former State Superintendent of Education, reorganized the New Orleans school district to serve (not micromanage) the schools, 93% of which are now charter public schools. This model, known as the Recovery School District, allows top school principals to set their own budgets so that more money gets to the classroom, allows teachers to teach, allows parents to choose the school that is best for their children, and allows community members to form boards to oversee the schools. The school district does not tell teachers and parents how to educate their children, but rather monitors and holds them accountable for performance.  
    • Mr. Paul Pastorek’s Seattle Times column, here.
    • WPC Study: “An Option for Learning: An Assessment of Student Achievement in Charter Public Schools,” here
  • February 2011 EventKeynote address by Dr. Andres Alonso.  CEO of Baltimore Public Schools, Dr. Andres Alonso, turned around one of the worst school systems in the country by changing the culture of the schools, streamlining the district to serve the schools, giving flexibility and budget authority to great school principals and teachers, and increasing parent choice.   He used Fair Student Funding (also known as Student Centered Finance, Weighted Student Funding) to shift control over spending from the district to the schools, giving principals control over 81% of their school budgets in actual dollars.  This allows great school leaders to fund the positions and programs that have the greatest positive impact on student learning.
    • WPC Study: “What Can We Learn from Baltimore Public Schools?” here.
    • Crosscut op-ed: “What can we learn from the struggles of Baltimore schools?” here.
  • February 2010 Event:  Keynote address by Rob Stein, school principal.  Denver’s Manual High School was closed in 2006 as the lowest performing school in the state.  In 2007, Principal Rob Stein reopened Manual High.  Using budget and staffing tools allowed by Colorado’s Innovation Schools Act of 2008, Principal Stein took Manual High from complete failure to the top-performing Title I school in Colorado.  Even though the Denver School District receives well over $8000 per Manual High pupil, Principal Stein achieved this turnaround by controlling only $4700 per pupil. (Watch Stein's address here, and check out his PowerPoint presentation here.)
    • WPC Study: “Innovation Schools Raise Learning Outcomes for Students,” here. Colorado law allows school leaders to obtain waivers from the heaviest state regulations and the most restrictive collective bargaining agreements to offer new, creative teaching models for delivering high-quality education to school children.  The Innovation School model is a promising model for Washington state.
    • WPC Op-ed Column: “How the Innovation Model allows principals to raise student achievement—Manual High School Provides Blueprint for Student Success,” here.   
  • January 2009 Event:  Keynote address by Professor Bill Ouchi, Anderson School of Management, UCLA.  Professor Ouchi, an expert in organizational design and public school finance and management, shows that when principals are allowed to control their budgets in actual dollars, student achievement improves dramatically.  His book The Secret of TSL (Total Student Load): The Revolutionary Discovery that Raises School Performance (Simon and Schuster 2009), shows how principals able to design their educational program and determine school staffing needs are able to reduce student loads on high school teachers. (Watch Prof. Ouchi's address here.)
  • January 2009 Publication of WPC’s education reform plan, “Eight Practical Ways to Improve Public Schools, here:
    1. Put the Principal in charge of the actual dollars in his budget, of the hiring and firing of his staff and of his educational program
    2. Give parents choices among public schools
    3. Let teachers teach
    4. Double the pay of the best teachers
    5. Replace the WASL
    6. Create no-excuses schools with clear lines of accountability for performance
    7. Transparency—put school budgets and teacher qualifications online
    8. Make the Superintendent of Public Instruction an appointed office