Korsmo’s news roundup: Smells like a track meet

Steady Eddies,

Editorial License: Ever wonder to yourself where the line is between what you think is ok at home and what would give you the heebie jeebies if it happened at school?  And vice versa? (When’s the last time you dissected some poor unknowing amphibian at home?) Two of the edu-gal clan compared notes this week to find that their kids were listening to Foster the People’s “Pumped up Kicks” at school as background noise for some class. Now, it’s not like I’m opposed to it, in theory. It plays on my ipod. And is hardly the most objectionable of the audio-file (there was that long and loving relationship I had with Prince and Beth Hart). But if we’re going to kick kids out of school for singing “I’m sexy and I know it,” what’s up with “better run, better run,  out run my gun..?”  I dunno…  this whole discipline thing is a little bit uneven.

Anyways, here’s what’s up;

Ch-ch-ch-charters: The WEA filed a legal challenge to I – 1240 yesterday, the second challenge to the measure as proponents had previously raised a challenge to have the language tweaked. The challenges were heard in Superior Court this morning, Judge Lisa Sutton just approved final ballot language a bit ago – the WEA’s requests were mostly (and substantively) dismissed. It might smell like a track meet here for a minute.

Meanwhile, support for the initiative grows as the AWB votes to endorse I-1240. (Separately, AWB President, Don C. Brunell opines on the importance of quality education here.)

Key to the initiative is the flexibility that public charter schools have to create the best school environment for their students. The importance of hiring the best fit for the students can’t be underestimated.  A new study shows that Charter Management Organizations manage talent in three main ways; recruiting and hiring for fit, providing intensive and ongoing socialization on the job and aligning pay and career advancement opportunities with organizational goals.

Back to the ballot, I – 1240 isn’t the only initiative coming to voters this fall, a summary of the measures makes for good teevee.

Rank-lings: Looks like we can put those foam #1 fingers away for a bit. State rankings on graduation rates for Black males were released this week and Washington doesn’t fare too well. In fact, we’re mired in the lowest of the rankings – graduating (by this study’s data) fewer than half of Black males in the state. In fact, overall graduation rates for the state leave us at 42nd in the nation.  Grad rates have been flat as the Nebraska plains since the 90’s.  Maybe time to try some new stuff?

Pols: Gubernatorial candidates Rob McKenna (R) and Jay Inslee (D) went toe to toe this week in their first debate. The Wire gives a good summary overview of the Sage(s) on the Stage Cage Match 2012. On education, the  candidates differed on charter schools among other things. The two differ on how to pay teachers as well, with McKenna favoring performance factoring into compensation and Inslee opposing “merit pay.” Teachers comp is going to get a good look-see next year when the recommendations of the Compensation Technical Working Group are considered. (Once again, Callaghan to the rescue.)

Btw, McKenna garnered the endorsement of the Public School Employees this week.

Bellevue-licious: It doesn’t roll off the tongue like Seattlelicious, but then, what does? Bellevue’s new schools chief, J. Tim Mills, is a man with a plan. A nine-point plan to be precise. Mills won’t take over for another few weeks, but he’s getting his cue chalked up and racking the balls. I really hope this doesn’t draw fire from  the blog-er-ati and anonymous-like commenters out there. I, for one, like my leaders to lead. But then again, I like my teams to win and my drinks cold.

Bellevue College got a new Dean of Continuing Learning this week, tapping local start up guru, Janis Machala. Her new role is no small undertaking, overseeing a program that offers 11,000 certificates a year.

Early and Often: State budget cuts in Missouri and California are laying waste to quality early learning opportunities forcing state agencies to make the difficult choices of which kids will get a head start and those who won’t. Budget writers would do well to follow the research on early learning, including this recent study on Michigan’s system.

And while early success is important – critical – Callaghan asks the right question about kindergarten graduations. Dude. My kid has his next week. Do I get him a pony? Then what?


  • It happens every year, and it never fails to amaze. Teacher of the year laid off.
  • Want to comparison shop for college costs? Start here.
  • Middle class Americans are feeling it all over and it ain’t good. The median family’s net worth dropped from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010, meaning that wealth in the American middle class has backslid to early-1990s levels.
  • Moves to extend the school day in Chicago – which has one of the shortest among urban school districts – results in a vote to strike from the teacher’s union.
  • From homeless to Harvard. Amazing and inspiring.

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