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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: education funding

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November 26, 2014 at 11:52 AM

Guest: How the Legislature can help empower teachers

Mike Lundin

Mike Lundin

The most volatile period of my 35-year career in education is happening now. Across the country, teachers have begun to react to downgrades in their status, credibility and authority.

According to a 2014 report from the Alliance for Excellent Education, the annual attrition rate of first-year teachers has risen by 40 percent over the last two decades, and 40 to 50 percent now leave the teaching profession within five years. Every year, 13 percent of teachers abandon the profession or migrate to more appealing schools, often leaving the disadvantaged more so.

The Washington state Legislature, charged with scrounging billions of dollars in additional funding to improve education and comply with the McCleary decision, must take the lead in funding effective training programs for our state’s teachers and give them the opportunity to collaborate and support each other.

In Washington and elsewhere, the insidious loss of professional power among American educators is eroding our quality of education. Many schools find it difficult to hire teachers in some subjects, such as mathematics, but only half the math and science teachers in disadvantaged schools have a degree and a license in their fields. Locally, we have seen teaching veterans bail, as outside meddling displaces learning. Not surprisingly, “highly qualified” means less when comparing our teachers across cultures or across nations.


Comments | More in Guest opinion, Opinion | Topics: education funding, teacher training

June 19, 2014 at 5:32 PM

Guest: Fightin’ words from the state Supreme Court on education

“It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders…” — Article IX, Section I, Washington State Constitution

Chris Korsmo is CEO of the League of Education Voters, a statewide nonprofit.

Chris Korsmo is CEO of the League of Education Voters, a statewide nonprofit.

Last week the state Supreme Court ordered the Legislature to appear before the court in early September and explain its reasons for failing to make adequate progress in the McCleary v. State of Washington funding case.

Two years ago, the justices found that the state was violating its constitutional obligation to amply fund basic education in the McCleary case. Lawmakers were given a 2018 deadline to fix how we fund K-12 schools.

With last week’s ruling, it appears that the court and the Legislature are headed for a legal and political showdown.


Comments | More in Guest opinion, Opinion | Topics: education funding, McCleary decision, Washington state legislature

January 29, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Western states at the bottom in per-student spending

Mark Weber / Op Art

Mark Weber / Op Art

A new report by Education Week provides a look at the big growth in school spending since the 1970s.

Across the nation, nearly all states doubled or tripled the amount of money spent on public schools from 1970 to 2010, with even the lowest growth, in Utah, going from $3,344 per student to $6,237 in inflation-adjusted dollars.

But the growth has been uneven, the national newsmagazine reported.

Per-pupil spending has increased most in nine states and the District of Columbia, and seven of those states are in the northeastern United States. Seven of the 10 states where spending has grown the least are in the West, and Washington is one of them.


Comments | More in News | Topics: education funding, McCleary decision, NAEP