Tag Archives: Students

More praise for the Senate Majority’s education plan

By Laudan Espinoza | Published on January 29, 2017

“The Campaign for Student Success applauds the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus for introducing the Education Equality Act to address McCleary and focusing on student-focused solutions for all students, attracting and retaining great educators and accountability and support for our schools. Student-based funding is a step in the right direction to meet our fundamental challenge of ensuring that our education system gives all students a great education. We’re encouraged that the Senate leadership is focusing on the standards of Funding & Fairness, Talent and Accountability put forth by our campaign. We commend this proposal for driving real legislative progress, and we look forward to working with both sides of the aisle to ensure that solutions meet the need for a long-term, equitable outcome for all students. McCleary presents us with a unique opportunity to change the future for Washington’s kids and we must take action now.”

– Campaign for Student Success

 

“I am very pleased to see this latest legislative plan to address the requirements of the Supreme Court and to continue the Legislature’s progress toward equitable and ample funding for our public schools. This is a creative approach and I now look forward to all parties coming together to work out their differences on behalf of all Washingtonians. We all want our kids and grandkids to have the best education possible. I hope this proposal leads to a productive session that satisfies the McCleary mandates so we can move on to higher education issues.”

– Rich Cummins, Ph.D., President of Columbia Basin College

How far will governor go to keep a great teacher in the classroom?

By Laudan Espinoza | Published on December 21, 2016

According to Governor Inslee, state government has an “obligation” to pour many more billions of dollars into Washington’s K-12 schools. That’s on top of the additional billions budgeted by the Legislature for basic education in the past four years.

“In this day and age, we owe our kids and parents more,” the governor declared on Dec. 13, in the course of unveiling his plan to raise taxes by $8.7 billion. He proposes to steer about half of that new revenue into the K-12 system, where it would go toward providing “a great teacher in the classroom and access to the programs and services we know they [students] need.”

Now lay Inslee’s declarations next to a Dec. 16 report from the non-partisan Washington Policy Center, which found (based on federal statistics) that our state leads the nation in strikes by teachers. In 2015 three of the 12 largest labor disruptions in the nation took place here, in the form of school closures.

Inslee speaks of providing great teachers but not of what he would do to keep them in their classrooms. In this day and age, to borrow his words, aren’t Washington’s kids and parents owed more than a school year disrupted by a teacher strike? How far would Inslee go to prevent a walkout so students don’t lose access, even for a day, to those great classroom teachers and school-based programs and services?

Benge Elementary in southeast Adams County, a K-6 school that is the district’s only facility, and Jefferson Elementary in Pullman, part of a much larger district, are among the schools I visited this fall. They illustrate how differences in the tax base and cost of living and quality of life can influence teacher recruiting and educational opportunities for their respective students. Many of us are determined to look out for the needs of rural schools like Benge as we respond to the McCleary education-funding case, and that has made the challenge greater. We will find a way to address the disparity called out by the state Supreme Court – but who will address the inequities that result when one school district is forced to shell out more local money for teacher salaries because it wants to end or prevent a strike? The Legislature can’t make teacher strikes more illegal than they already are.

As the father and father-in-law of public-school teachers, and with my eldest grandchild now in kindergarten, I appreciate the work teachers do and want to see them receive proper compensation. Paying for education with existing tax dollars first, as our Senate majority has worked to do these past four years, is exactly what we should continue doing under the “paramount duty” clause in Washington’s constitution.

Clearly, Inslee thinks Washingtonians should be giving billions more to state government, either through higher taxes on employers or through the increased costs that consumers inevitably pay when taxes go up. But it is disingenuous to use schools as the primary excuse, especially when there is no reason to believe that even a massive tax increase would end the threat of teacher strikes.

Senate majority makes college more affordable with historic tuition cuts

By Laudan Espinoza | Published on July 27, 2015

Senate Majority leader Mark Schoesler recaps the news coverage of an historic session:

Historic’ tuition cut sets state apart from rest of U.S.

Seattle Times, June 13, 2015

Washington’s move isn’t well-known elsewhere in the country, but some say it could spur other states to think about cuts.

“I don’t know how widely known this proposal was,” said Dustin Weeden, a policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures. “If Washington gets lots of headlines, I really think a lot of people are going to be asking: ‘What’s going on in Washington? Why are they doing that?’ ”

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/education/historic-tuition-cut-sets-state-apart-from-rest-of-us/

 

Washington State Moves To Cut Public University Tuition By Up To 20 Percent

Associated Press, June 30, 2015:

“A decision this week to cut tuition for Washington state’s public universities by 15 to 20 percent over the next two years is a rare move that national experts believe could influence other states as they come out from under the recession. … The tuition cut was a Republican legislative priority this year that [Senate Ways and Means Chairman Andy] Hill said has been wildly popular.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/washington-tuition-cut_559305a7e4b000c99ee1d23c

 

World Editorial Board | Yes, a tuition cut

Wenatchee World, July 5, 2015

It is an astounding, attention-getting move. No other state has had the courage to try it. It is a pay hike for the middle class, future debt relief for students and a significant boost for accessibility to higher education.

http://www.wenatcheeworld.com/news/2015/jul/05/yes-a-tuition-cut/

 

Legislature OKs new budget with rare tuition cuts and pay raises for teachers

Seattle Times, June 29, 2015

No other state has cut tuition for its public universities and colleges for the coming academic year, according to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/budget-deal-cuts-tuition-closes-tax-breaks/

 

World Editorial Board | A state budget worth the wait

The Wenatchee World, July 5, 2015:

“The Washington Legislature at long last passed and the governor signed a two-year operating budget. It is a budget with strong bipartisan support, hailed by leaders of both parties, praised in House, Senate and governor’s office, described as one of the most innovative and satisfying budgets in memory. It almost could be forgotten that the budget deal came only after an excruciating six months of stalemate, maneuver and special sessions.”

http://www.wenatcheeworld.com/news/2015/jul/05/a-state-budget-worth-the-wait/

 

GOP tuition cuts a breath of fresh political air

Seattle Times, Danny Westneat, July 4, 2015:

We’re now the laboratory for two social experiments: the $15 minimum wage, and big cuts to college tuition. What’s unique is they come from opposite sides of the political spectrum.

That it was Republicans who just scored what is believed to be the biggest college tuition cut in state history is a startling development.

“Over the years the state’s colleges had been defunded by the Democrats. It was part of a strategy called “high-tuition, high financial aid.” The colleges could increase tuition, while the cash-strapped state would focus on financial aid for needier students instead of giving a rich subsidy to everyone. …It was surprisingly the Republicans who launched a drive to reverse this privatization trend. In particular it was Baumgartner and Oak Harbor Sen. Barbara Bailey, joined later by freshman senator John Braun of Centralia.”

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/gop-tuition-cuts-a-breath-of-fresh-political-air/

 

Editorial: Lower tuition boon to access higher education

Walla Walla Union Bulletin, July 7, 2015:

“The decision by the Legislature to slash tuition at public universities by 15 to 20 percent was a bold and prudent move that puts public higher education on the right path.”

http://union-bulletin.com/news/2015/jul/07/editorial-lower-tuition-boon-access-higher-educati/

 

Ron Judd, Columnist

Seattle Times, July 3, 2015:

The Legislature’s slashing of tuition at public universities is one of the few things state government has gotten right in the past decade. Kudos to the GOP legislators who made it happen.
http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/lets-face-it-washingtons-state-flag-is-a-bit-of-a-bust/

 

The forever session: In which Republicans are winning

Everett Herald (Jerry Cornfield), July 2, 2015:

“Credit Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville. Under his leadership; the 26-member caucus displayed a rigid discipline and it paid off as its factions of conservatives and moderates can claim an important political victory or three this session.

“They beat down a capital gains tax and beat back a low-carbon fuel standard. They warded off cap-and-trade and minimum wage. They approved a gas tax hike — more than once — and many of their members are smiling about it. And the nation knows Senate Republicans drafted the unprecedented cut in tuition for students at public colleges and universities.

“It’s hard to see how it could have turned out much better for them.”

http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20150702/NEWS01/150709839

 

World Editorial Board | Yes, a tuition cut

Wenatchee World, July 5, 2015:

“It is an astounding, attention-getting move. No other state has had the courage to try it. It is a pay hike for the middle class, future debt relief for students and a significant boost for accessibility to higher education. The Washington Legislature has voted to cut tuition at public universities by 15-20 percent by 2016. Community college tuition will be cut 5 percent.”

https://www.wenatcheeworld.com/news/2015/jul/05/yes-a-tuition-cut/