It appears that the three weeks of summer we had in the Puget Sound have come to an end. Boo. And not a moment too soon. Last week someone actually referred to George Hamilton (remember him?) when describing my tan. Who didn’t love Zorro the Gay Blade? (Brenda Vacarro!)
Money Woes: More bad budget news this week, state revenues are $1.4 billion short of projections for the year. This on top of the nearly $5 billion in cuts that disguised itself as a state budget just a few months ago. Much of the budget balancing act was on the back of education last time around and it will surprise no one if that particular bulls eye remains. Last session’s all cuts budget shows the significance of initiative 1053, which requires 2/3 majorities to raise revenues or close tax loopholes. Budget writers had only one tool in their arsenal and that was a dull axe. While talk abounds regarding a revenue hunt, for now, it’s just that. Talk. Which puts kids and schools in the crosshairs. Again. For a state full of really smart and innovative people, that’s a pretty silly way to govern. But I digress.
Strike One: Tacoma teachers have decided to remain on strike, despite a judge’s order to get back to work. Befuddled parents are scrambling for cover and care for a fourth straight day. The rub appears to be seniority – the district wants to end the practice of placing teachers based solely on the amount of time a teacher has worked. Additionally, the community group, Vibrant Schools Tacoma, made ending seniority based placements a priority. Teachers have shared with your intrepid writer that they hate strikes. They don’t like the divisive nature of the whole thing, parents having to choose which side or whether to take a side, and kids out of school are not a good combination in their experience. Meanwhile, teachers nationwide are organizing themselves in different ways to express views about proposed changes to education that significantly impact the profession, sometimes in contrast to their union, sometimes not. Locally, Teachers United is one of those groups of, by and for teachers who want their voices heard during the crafting of education policies.
College Matters: The back and forth debate over whether college matters found some striking answers in the latest census. Their findings? Educational attainment has a more significant impact on earnings than any other demographic factor, including race. Couple that with the recent finding that the U.S. is the only nation of the G-20 countries whose incoming workers are less well educated than their retiring ones and we should be hearing warning bells from Yelm to Yakima.
Shameless Plug: This week LEV launched a new podcast series, wherein we prove that spelling only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. (Or maybe that was something else) In any event, Konversations W/Korsmo will undoubtedly have some folks calling me about the irreverent use of the wrong konsonant. (J) But if you can get past that, we have some very smart and savvy folks giving up the knowledge so that we can all see more clearly. This week, it’s Kati Haycock, President of the Education Trust sharing her experience on the importance of high expectations.
Ok Kids, that’s it. Short and sweet. Have yourselves a remarkable weekend and be careful out there.