March 28, 2016
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Inslee 'walking a tightrope' on public charter schools



Veteran statehouse reporter Jerry Cornfield of The Herald writes that Gov. Jay Inslee is “walking a charter school tightrope.” On one side are the majority of voters who approve of public charter schools, along with hundreds of students and parents who flocked to Olympia over recent months to tell their stories of how the educational innovations at charter schools are helping their children move toward college. On the other side is the Washington Education Association, the state’s biggest teacher’s union, which is strongly opposed to charter schools.

Inslee told the WEA at their recent endorsement meeting that he is “very closely” reviewing Senate Bill 6194, which revises the charter school initiative to comply with a state Supreme Court ruling that declared their funding source and governance structures unconstitutional.

The bill passed with bipartisan majorities in both sides of the Capitol, and will automatically become law this Saturday unless Inslee takes action to veto it, or sign it before then.

Inslee “must certainly be pondering potential political fallout,” Cornfield writes about whether vetoing the voter-approved law would cost his party in this year’s election. “Democrats are in danger of losing control of the state House of Representatives this year and an Inslee veto might seal the deal. Democrats outnumber Republicans 50-48, which means the loss of two seats would put them in the minority.”

In related news, the top Senate Republican on education issues, Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island, told his hometown newspaper that support for public charter schools and increased investment in traditional public schools aren’t contradictory – and in fact, go hand in hand.

"If you look at overall education, since the charter school initiative passed in 2012, we've put $4.5 billion into K-12 [education],” Litzow told the Mercer Island Reporter. “We've cut college tuition, we've added a higher quality early learning program, we did teacher evaluation, we did third grade reading and charter schools.”

For a look at how a public charter school education helped a shy Tacoma middle schooler become his class president, read this essay by Josh Covarrubias: At Destiny Middle School, Nothing Is Impossible.

And state Rep. Eric Pettigrew, D-Seattle, wrote a personal and powerful op-ed in The Seattle Times this weekend about how education helped his great-great-grandfather arise out of slavery, and helped him move out of the poverty in his own childhood.

For more on education issues, contact AWB Government Affairs Director Amy Anderson.

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Public Charter Schools Are Working

Gov. Inslee should sign charter school bill, let students achieve their dreams

By Rep. Eric Pettigrew, D-Seattle

As a state, we cannot let go of our ability to lift hardworking people out of poverty. We must do everything within our power to ensure public education remains a powerful ladder to success for every child in Washington. We cannot allow the leaders and innovators of future generations to slip through the cracks simply because we were too stuck in our ways to create the change we know they needed.

ESSSB 6194, a bill to keep Washington's public charter schools open for the long-term and an option for all communities across the state, now sits on Inslee's desk awaiting his signature. The bill, which passed both houses of the Legislature with bipartisan support, provides excellent educational opportunities for hundreds of students today, and potentially thousands of students in the future. ...

I have heard some of my fellow legislators who oppose ESSSB 6194 say we either need to fix every problem in public education for every student in Washington or do nothing at all. I urge the governor to reject such false choices.

I urge the governor to sign the charter-school bill, which would keep these students on the path to achieving their dreams and build upon Washington's foundation of innovation and accountability in public education.

Click here to read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times
Washington Employers Are Leading the Way

Something old and something new: How Seattle's viaduct is being recycled in the tunnel

By Richard D. Oxley, MyNorthwest.com

Parts of Seattle's viaduct may be torn down, but in a way, those parts won't truly be gone.

Nucor, the state's largest metal recycler, takes scrap steel from portions of the torn down Alaskan Way Viaduct through downtown Seattle and forges it into new product.

The recycling effort is currently featured in a commercial produced by the Association of Washington Business...

Click here to read the full story at MyNorthwest.com
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