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Liv Finne

Third grader Enrique (not his real name) eagerly describes his Teach for America teacher like this: “He let us borrow bigger books.” “I am learning English now.” “My goal is to be at fourth grade in reading by the end of the year.”

Teach For America (TFA) is a nationally-recognized training program that provides highly motivated, talented teachers to schools nationwide, especially in low-income inner city communities. TFA graduates come from highly respected colleges, including Harvard, Stanford, Princeton and the University of Washington. Studies show their students typically make more progress in reading and math than students of other teachers, including veteran and certified instructors. read more »

 

Recently the state Supreme Court decided in McCleary v. State of Washington that lawmakers have failed to provide enough money to K-12 education to fulfill constitutional requirements. The court also held the state’s constitutional duty will be satisfied only if the Legislature spends money on an education law passed by the Legislature in 2009, ESHB 2261.

The Supreme Court has overstepped its authority by trying to micromanage schools. The court interprets the meaning of the constitution and the laws, and applies these interpretations to the facts of particular cases. The Legislature and the governor, not the Supreme Court, set education policy and decide how schools will be funded. read more »

 

Seattle parents are beginning to wonder whether the recently approved Seattle teacher contract will improve teacher quality. Regrettably, the densely-worded document does anything but clearly explain what is really happening.

Parents deserve better answers. They worry about teacher quality and know that the number one factor that determines if their children learn is whether teachers are performing well. Here are a few answers for parents.

Will the contract improve the quality of teachers in Seattle? No. The teacher contract creates a complex new process for evaluating and identifying good and bad teachers. Teachers who receive low scores on their evaluation will gain new procedural protections under this contract. read more »

 
Point... Counter Point

Governor Gregoire is promoting her education bill, SB 6696, as an effort to improve Washington schools and give the state a shot at a share of the $4.3 billion available through President Obama’s Race to the Top initiative.

Rather than improve schools, though, the Governor is blocking the authority to fire poor-performing teachers requested by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn and superintendents of 23 school districts, including Tacoma and Seattle, as revealed in a letter they sent to lawmakers on February 22. read more »

 

Washington State has been handed an opportunity for improving our schools. President Obama is offering $4.35 billion to states in Race to the Top funding to achieve school reform. Washington’s share could be up to $250 million. In order to receive this funding, though, the President is requiring Washington’s legislature to take the following actions: read more »

 
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