Even the Supreme Court can’t break the gridlock in Olympia

Call me naïve, but when the State Supreme Court issued an order in the McCleary case in January directing the legislature to adopt a “complete plan” showing how they intended to fund by 2018 the education plans they themselves have made, I wrote the following about the legislature: “unless they are willing to thumb their […]

Divided government isn’t going away – time for leaders to step up

When the gavel came down earlier this month to end the 2014 legislative session, it also signaled the potential end of the Rodney Tom-dominated Senate, and the certain end of Act I of former Congressman Jay Inslee’s governorship. Presidents, Governors, and State Senators may be elected to four-year terms, but we elect a new Congress […]

Politics Trumps Policy

I imagine most Americans didn’t even notice, but a decision by the President last week provided more confirmation that Republicans and Democrats are just not able to work together, and that Barack Obama has not kept his most basic promise from his 2008 campaign – that he would be a leader who would change the culture […]

The Truth About Teacher Salaries

When Governor Jay Inslee submitted his proposed supplemental state budget last December, he did not include any new funding to help the state comply with the Supreme Court’s order in the McCleary school funding case.  But when he faced the legislature less than a month later to deliver his State of the State address, suddenly education was […]

Immigration reform requires compromise

Immigration reform has been declared dead so many times that it’s almost dangerous to write about having hope for it, for fear of having your sanity called into question. But, it’s too important an issue for the future of our nation not to recognize when progress is made, even if others would rather try to bury that progress under […]

Smarter Government Response to the State of the Union

Buried among the self-congratulatory rhetoric, applause lines, and introductions of heroes in the gallery, President Obama’s state of the union speech included references to several policy positions that could be classified as smarter government, depending on the details.   In his speech the President cracked the door open regarding bipartisan cooperation this year.  Republicans should seize […]

Legislature must fund the education system it defines

The State Supreme Court is causing quite a stir in Olympia, shaking up what Governor Jay Inslee had described last month as a “hold steady” legislative session. Instead, by issuing a court order requiring the legislature to submit, by April 30, a complete plan to achieve full funding of basic education (presumably without the use […]

The agenda set by the Governor made a bad situation worse in Olympia

Last Tuesday, two key elected officials delivered major speeches regarding where they wanted to lead their governments. The first, by King County Executive, Dow Constantine, was a serious, detailed speech that laid out a specific proposal to address a real issue.  The second was Gov. Jay Inslee’s state of the state address, which in no […]

Supreme Court Throws Education Monkey Wrench Into 2014 Legislative Session

When Republican and Democratic legislative leaders sat down with the Olympia press corps last Thursday morning, their competing messages made it clear that there was no bipartisan agreement to do anything significant during the 2014 legislative session.  A few hours later, however, the state supreme court gave the legislature a mandatory homework assignment regarding education funding […]

Test scores should be used to help evaluate teacher performance

The legislature is not expected to take up a significant number of controversial issues during the 60-day election-year session that begins next week, but one education reform issue will necessarily be debated.  The details are complicated, but the issue is simple:  should student test scores be used to help evaluate the performance of teachers and […]