“Local control” will be one of 2017’s Olympia buzzwords

You’re going to be hearing a lot about local control from the state teachers union, the WEA, in the months ahead. The local control issue is not about the local school board and apple pie and the homecoming dance. It’s about the same thing it always is: money and control. When the Legislature convenes in […]

Parents know best, the WEA thinks it knows better on charter schools

It’s Round 2 of the judicial fight over charter schools in Washington. In a new wrinkle last week, a King County judge tossed several plaintiffs off the case, ruling that they don’t have standing to sue against public charter schools. Now groups like the Aerospace Machinists, the League of Women Voters, El Centro de la […]

Our state election was important too – what will it mean for 2017?

All eyes were on the national election last week, understandably, but our state tallied some important results too. What will they mean for smarter government in 2017? Legislature: When legislators return to the capitol in January to tackle the remaining work on McCleary (realistically this will occupy almost the entirety of the Legislature’s attention), the […]

OSPI candidate “absolutely” sure group he doesn’t know is anti-union

You’ll soon face a choice on your ballot for state Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI). School administrator Erin Jones and Democratic state Rep. Chris Reykdal, both former teachers, were the top two vote-getters in the August primary. You may recall that I’m a bit dubious about the SPI position. I’m not sure it should remain […]

McKenna on KIRO: Schools funding and your property taxes

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about the state Supreme Court’s latest hearing in the McCleary education funding case, and the likelihood of changes to your property taxes. Dave Ross: “But then [less wealthy school districts] would get more money for their schools, presumably, than they’re getting now.” Rob McKenna: “Right. Relying on local […]

GOP “annoyed” at Inslee’s tuition claims? GOP right about Inslee’s tuition claims

Before we get down to the heart of the matter, I’d like to take up this headline a moment: “GOP annoyed Gov. Inslee is taking credit for college-tuition cuts.” You’d really have to work at it (and headline writing is an art) to more clearly convey the idea, “Mere partisan squabble, don’t bother reading.” It […]

One college is telling new students: don’t expect any “trigger warnings” or “safe spaces”

At a time when free speech has been under attack on our college campuses in so many ways, one university is telling incoming freshmen that it won’t be following down the same path. That the school is where I earned my law degree, the University of Chicago, just makes the story that much better. This […]

McKenna on KIRO: Unions suing to stop charter schools, again

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about the latest lawsuit to stop charter schools. The state teachers union is joined by other non-education unions in the suit to block state funding for the schools. Dave Ross: “Part of the problem, of course, is that these charter schools are not unionized. I know that’s one of […]

State’s filing cuts to heart of problem with court’s McCleary approach

You’ve got to hand it to the Attorney General’s Office: its latest filing in the McCleary lawsuit cuts right to the heart of how the Supreme Court has mishandled the case. In 2014 the court found the Legislature in contempt for not having a written “plan” to fully fund K-12 education. Last summer, the court levied sanctions […]

State Superintendent sues districts for funding basic education?

It looks like one of those double-take-inducing man-bites-dog stories. The state’s top schools official is suing seven large schools districts for spending money on education? Randy Dorn, the outgoing Superintendent of Public Instruction, filed suit last week against seven school districts for spending local levy money in impermissible ways. Much of that impermissible spending goes […]