Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 4:20 pm
OLYMPIA, Wash. - Outgoing Washington Governor Chris Gregoire is proposing to extend two temporary taxes for three-and-a-half years in order to make a $1 billion down payment on a recent Supreme Court ruling that found the state is not adequately funding public schools. Much of that new money would go to reduce K-2 class sizes, speed up the phase-in of all-day kindergarten and help districts with basic operating and maintenance costs.
Seven Seattle-area school districts have been awarded a $40 million federal Race to the Top grant. The money is aimed at improving academic achievement in high-poverty schools in the Seattle, Kent, Federal Way, Highline, Renton, Auburn and Tukwila districts.
Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 3:51 pm
OLYMPIA, Wash. – A big shake-up in the control of the Washington state senate could have major implications for how lawmakers address funding for schools next year. A coalition of Republicans and two breakaway Democrats announced Monday it has just enough votes to depose the current Democratic majority.
The chair of the Washington Democratic party calls it a “coup” and a “prescription for instability and division.” But former Republican turned Democrat Rodney Tom -- who will lead the new majority coalition -- says voters want governing from the middle.
Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 7:17 am
SPOKANE, Wash. - The kind of finely tuned data crunching that fueled the 2012 election is spreading to another venue: the classroom. You might have heard that campaign analysts can predict who you're likely vote for based on the magazines you read and the car you drive. Now, researchers are finding ways to predict who's likely to drop out of high school based on, say, a third grade attendance record. Schools are hoping a computer program will help them reach kids before it's too late.
Thomas Jefferson was a deeply political man who viciously fought for his beliefs, but he was also flawed. More than simply accepting slavery, Jefferson benefited from it in many ways — though, through the language of the Declaration, he may have set in motion its eventual disintegration. We hear more from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham ("Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power") about how this contradictory president wielded power and influence, and how he shaped America’s evolution.
Seattle Public Schools has released new aggregate student growth ratings that will be now used as part of some teachers' evaluations. The ratings reflect how students did on state and district tests from one year to the next and factor in students' poverty levels, learning disabilities and English language proficiencies.
Many teachers in Seattle Public Schools will learn today how they rank on a new scale based on student performance. They’ll be rated by how their students’ test scores changed from one year to the next. Teachers with high ratings may qualify for bonuses or promotions. Teachers with low ratings will get closer oversight.
In January the State Supreme Court ruled that Washington has not met its constitutional duty to fund K-12 education. Representatives Gary Alexander and Ross Hunter serve on the Ways and Means Committee, and they discuss what steps the House is taking to fund basic education.
The charter school initiative has passed by a narrow margin, according to the Associated Press. The vote stands at 50.8 percent to 49.2 percent. That's a difference of about 44,000 votes. Statewide, 269,000 ballots remain to be counted. The No on 1240 campaign Facebook page says campaign managers won't consider the race over until every vote is counted.
Seattle Public Schools will ask voters for property tax levies worth $1.2 billion in February. The school board unanimously approved renewals of the capital projects and operations levies Wednesday night.
The initiative to allow charter schools in Washington is narrowly passing with 51 percent of the vote. This was the fourth time the state’s voters considered charter schools. Supporters said charters would expand students’ educational options because charters aren’t bound by district or union rules.