December 14, 2015
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New federal education law replaces 'No Child Left Behind'

Washington recently became the first state in the nation to lose its federal waiver under the No Child Left Behind Act, costing $40 million in Title 1 dollars that had been available for low-income and at-risk students. Last week, Congress passed and President Obama signed a rewrite of the No Child Left Behind Act that means the state’s loss of that waiver will no longer matter.

The new education bill, called the Every Student Succeeds Act, eases strict school accountability and testing requirements that ratcheted up each year under No Child Left Behind. The new law means the federal government will no longer penalize Washington and other states that fail to have their students pass standardized tests in math and reading.

The News Tribune reports that those standards led to 88 percent of Washington schools being labeled as failing.

The new law also eliminates pressure on Washington lawmakers to require teacher evaluations to be tied to student scores on standardized statewide tests.

Sen. Patty Murray, who co-wrote the new act, said she expects the new law to spark interest in early learning, encourage innovation in the state and decrease emphasis on school testing.

The Opportunity Washington blog took a first look at the new Every Student Succeeds Act here.

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Leading Without New Top-Down Mandates

Recognize success industries are having in cutting CO2

By Kris Johnson, AWB president, and Daren Konopaski, vice president and business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 302

It is true this year's drought and wildfire season wreaked havoc on the state, a point that Gov. Jay Inslee makes while promoting his government-centric carbon emissions reduction plan. But the governor's labeling of those who disagree with the details of his plan as "fear mongers" is not fair.

There is no denying there is more work ahead, but there is also no denying that Washington employers and their employees are already leading the way toward the cleaner future that Gov. Inslee -- and frankly all Washingtonians -- so strongly desire.

Gov. Inslee has continued to say "it's time to lead," but Washington employers and employees are already leading the way toward environmental solutions that work -- without top-down, bureaucratic mandates that raise taxes on everyday citizens but don't solve the problem.

Click here to read the full op-ed in The Herald
Delays Hurt Workers and Economy

State should speed up permits for export docks

By Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch

While our neighbors to the north and south of Washington watch their port infrastructure grow and flourish, our state -- the most export-dependent in the nation -- is improbably holding up billions of dollars in private infrastructure development that would only help us compete with California and Canada.

The delay with regard to the export terminal expansions in Bellingham and Longview is patently unacceptable. Proposed projects and potential investments in this state should benefit from a fair, timely and predictable review process. Yet that is not the case with these projects, whose review has been in process for three years and subject to numerous, ongoing delays.

It is one thing to politically disagree with these projects on the basis of exporting a particular commodity -- in this case, coal -- and to express concern over the environmental standards to which these projects must adhere. It is quite another to attempt to bind these projects with endless government bureaucracy and red tape in hopes that the investors will give up and go elsewhere. Our competition is ready and willing to accept new business and is making the needed investments to do so.
Click here to read the full column in The Olympian
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