April 11, 2016
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Charter school foes announce lawsuit against new bipartisan law

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle came together this legislative session to approve a law that adjusts a 2012 voter-approved initiative allowing a limited number of public charter schools in Washington to comply with a 2015 state Supreme Court ruling. Last week, just days after that bill became law, the state’s largest teacher’s union announced it is joining with other longtime charter school foes to challenge it.

The opponents claim public charter schools don’t have oversight from elected boards. They also say that the new law, which explicitly funds charter schools from lottery proceeds, rather than the state general fund, is still taking money from other K-12 schools.

Eight charter schools that have opened since the 2012 initiative already serve about 1,100 students.

The News-Tribune takes a good look at the issue and lawsuit.

The Seattle Times said Gov. Jay Inslee “all but invited lawsuits” by deciding to let this year’s charter school bill become law without his signature. The Times noted with disappointment Inslee’s decision not to support charter schools, saying the governor “should be championing” the public charter school model, which it called “a thoughtful, evidence-based approach to education.”

Education reform researcher Robin Lake said it’s time to move beyond the battle over charter schools. There are many ways to improve public education, and charter schools – while by no means a magic solution – can be a valuable part of 21st century public schooling, she writes in The Seattle Times.

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Let's Seek Solutions Together

It's time to move forward on charter schools

By Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education and an affiliate faculty member at the University of Washington Bothell

Charter schools aren't some magic solution. But they are proving themselves a valued component of 21st-century public schooling by demonstrating what's possible when schools are freed from certain rules and regulations in exchange for being held accountable for student outcomes. Far from a distraction, charter schools are here to stay. Far from damaging public education, when ably implemented, charter schools enrich and strengthen the fabric of public education.

It is time to move on and focus on students, not battle lines...
Click here to read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times
Workers Needed for Good Jobs

A job in the trades can bring financial, personal success

By Mike Sotelo, co-founder of the Combined Ethnic Chamber

A four-year apprenticeship program can equal or exceed the earning potential of a postsecondary degree. An apprentice electrician earns $19 an hour, which can be achieved the first year out of high school. By the time an electrician completes a five-year apprenticeship program, he or she could be making close to $100,000 a year.

Unfortunately, every time trade employers need workers, they scratch their heads and do whatever they can to attract and retain employees to fit their business models. Contractors are hiring anyone who can fog a mirror because there aren't enough bodies...

Shop classes are disappearing because schools are losing funding. The deeper challenge is we need to start instilling pride into the traditional trades. Even when I was young, I used to say, "I am just a construction worker." I almost apologized for it. We have to start recognizing that our society would grind to a halt without skilled carpenters, laborers, chefs and hotel managers...
Click here to read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times
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