Friday, November 05, 2010

How Will We Fund Education in WA State?

Good editorial on funding education from the Seattle Times. They pointed out what I said right after the election.

The good:

But the message statewide remains a clarion call for robust, consistent education funding by the state Legislature. It says so in the state constitution and voters do not want to be given that task.

Legislators will need a strategic plan around prioritizing and paying for education.

RTTT (not so good):

Tight state budgets should make federal funding more appealing. The money comes attached to a workable reform agenda that includes many things this state wants to do anyway — for example, raising the level of academic rigor and emphasizing college readiness.

Yes but that money is not going to help the day-to-day operations of the district nor is it sustainable. (Also, by the time the next round comes along, I have a hard time believing charters will be voted in and that seems to be the lodestone of RTTT.)

Seattle passed their levy. Great but...

  • R-52 for school building environment upgrades - no
  • 1098 that would have been a tax on the wealthy and half of it would have gone to education - no
  • and they left out that 1053 passed (Tim Eyman's gift of 2/3 vote for tax measures in the Legislature)
  • and they left out that the soda pop/bottled water tax goes away
So future funding AND past tax revenue that the state had are both voted down.

So the new cuts may be even more dire because of even less money coming in. And, I predict that what may happen is this; parents seeing those cuts hit their schools again may rise up and complain to the Board and the Super that they want the levy money to go to the classroom and not for central administration projects.

Interesting how things work out sometimes.


seattle said...

How can we do that Melissa? I'm all for rising up and asking for the Levy money to go into classrooms.

That's something I think we could and should organize.

Kathy said...


I am afraid most parents are unaware of District affairs.

Most parents don't realize by accepting the TIF Grant, the district accepted responsibility to pay tens of millions of district dollars purchasing computers etc., which will link MAP to teacher effectiveness etc. This will- take dollars out of our classrooms.

To me, most parents have bought into "State cuts- we don't have money." Sighh

Here, I think is our best bet: The District will provide an opportunity to advocate for budget expenditures between Nov. 12 and December 3rd. It is best to educate our communities to advocate for dollars in the classroom.

My concern- How does the PTSA feel about Ed. Reform? I've gotten the impression we have a pro-reform PTSA. PTSA will influence our communities. PTSA needs to provide a balanced perspective..not sure this will happen.

Additonally, the majority of SPS's Board of Directors are pro-reform. In the end, the board will vote on allocation of dollars.

Don't know how to effectively get around reformist agenda.

zb said...

"I am afraid most parents are unaware of District affairs. "

Indeed. I've been surprised, actually, by how little most people know about the SPS in general. A lot of people simply don't want to know -- it's something they don't want to spend time on. So, if their local environment is acceptable (their school is OK), they don't worry about anything further than that, until it's not. Then, they pay attention for a few weeks, until they resolve their own situation (say, their school is closing, or their worried about sibling assignments, and they resolve it by moving, or going private, or getting a sibling solution that works), and then they stop paying attention again.

And, I'm not saying this to complain -- people are really really busy, and people choose what they want to obsess about. But, it's something that we must be aware of, when it's our obsession, that lots of people know very little and need the most basic of information.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I think more people are paying attention only because the NSAP put more people's radar up. Pay attention or you may miss something.

Hawk, I think one by one if each PTA sent a statement of concern - now, given the outcome of the state measures - to the Board and Superintendent and state that you want the majority of the money to go into the classroom. Give the teachers their raises but use the TIF money to pilot the rest of the teachers contract. Buy the textbooks they need and don't hire a consultant to figure it out.

They promised to protect the classrooms so now they can prove it.

Last thing, this is a fairly small levy. It's not too much to ask for a specific,accurate accounting of where the money goes to at the end of each year. If you don't see the money going into the schools by the end of this school year, point that out to the Board and remind them that elections are coming up Fall 2011.

If 2/3 of the PTAs did this AND sent a copy of their letter to the media (pick one or two, Times, Stranger, KUOW, tv station). It would be very hard for the Board to ignore. The Super seems to be able to ignore anything but the 4 Board members who I believe will all run again need to pay attention.

Chris S. said...

Pardon my french, but with the defeat of 1098 and the passage of 1052, as George Carlin would say, there is a big red-white-and-blue
$%^&! being rammed up our colletive a%%@%!, not so much by the rich as by the VOTERS.

Please explain to me how I'm wrong. I really see us going the way of California.

dan dempsey said...

Chris I cannot say I disagree with you on the flag placement.

But lack of accountability on spending and the arrogance of many in power made it very easy for many only partly aware of issues to vote no.

As for me I am with you. But it will do well to Dump the coming CCSSI thrust in WA saving millions and losing nothing .... much the same can be said for Core-24.

Put more content in the curriculum not just money into schools.

From this article HERE.

“[The ‘expert’ elites who control public education] remain tightly focused on their original aim to create a credulous populous, which is easily swayed by their expertise. They purposely did not want to provide a robust education that would lead to independent thinkers. The progressive education methods gained full traction by the late 1960s when most children who were graduating had been exposed to the progressive methods for their whole school careers.”

Mike says:

Without a thorough understanding of this truth, it is impossible to understand public education today, the motives behind the various initiatives towards more centralized control, and the public’s apathy which is rooted in ignorance. While incompetence does & has played a role, the major impetus has been, and continues to be by design.

Kathy said...

Things could be worse.

Due to lack of funding:

Hawaii- Schools are closed 2 days
a month.

Salt Lake City- Math classes have
90 students in each class.

Wa. State economy is still looking dim beyond 2011-2012. Now isn't the time for wasteful spending. Every dollar spent needs careful consideration.

Isabel D'Ambrosia said...

I am sad.

The Seattle Times promotes the kind of doublespeak that says we need "robust" public education but voters were "right" to vote not to pay for it.

I am sad that even progressives who support education in theory find so much to criticize in our public schools (and other institutions as well) that they can't vote to fund them.

We "want" strong public education, but we're sure not going to get it this way.

California here we come.

wseadawg said...

You're right MW. And some of us unfortunately know to much.

I'd love to stop worrying and start trusting SPS. I really would, SI, Board & all, but it's not gonna happen. Not with this gang-of-four, wholly-owned subsidiary of Ed Reformers School Board we have now.

Sahila said...

For Dan:

rational math ed - learning math by thinking...

and you/and the blog you quote do "progressives" an extreme disservice in attributing false motivations for the desire to change the way math is taught... and their ideas are not new...

see here:

From page 80:
Ernst Breslich.
Breslich had been born in Germany in 1874, and become an American citizen in 1896. He was associated with the University of Chicago for almost all his professional life. He was an instructor, and for a while was the chairman, of the
Mathematics Department of the University Laboratory Schools. He died in 1966.

Breslich believed in Klein’s ideas and adhered to them in his several textbooks, which were used, among other places, at the laboratory schools of the University
of Chicago, and which saw many editions. He was particularly enthusiastic about what was then known as “correlation,” that is, the integrated teaching of
arithmetic, algebra and geometry, and he authored many papers on this subject.

Besides his textbooks, Breslich wrote extensively on secondary school mathematics teaching. In May 1933, he gave a speech at the New York Society for The International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education
the Experimental Study of Education (Breslich, 1933, pp. 327–349). In this speech,
he stated that “the curriculum must be adapted to the changes in the social order,” and he repeats the description of the reform movement presented byKlein in his Elementarmathematik von höheren Standpunkt aus. Since Roxo read Breslich extensively and followed his ideas, it is relevant to quote them.

Breslich maintains, that “(…) algebra and geometry in the plane should not be taught as separate subjects, but in connection with arithmetic” and that mathematics should be “closely [connected] with other school subjects.”

He repeats Klein’s ideas that algebra and geometry be joined by making the function concept the unifying idea in mathematics; and that a psychological arrangement of subject matter should be insisted on.

In his speech, Breslich also repeats Klein’s idea that the formal teaching of geometry theorems should be preceded by an informal and practical course."

wsnorth said...

I certainly don't read the vote to imply voters in WA support education. Voters in a few districts do, in spite of their district administration (ahem, such as Seattle). Some parts of the state (and country) have just turned into a bunch of freeloaders - they want their Social Security, medicare, freeways, wars, etc., but don't want to pay. And they certainly don't seem to care about children/youth. It is becoming clear, the state can't be counted on to fund education - we are going to have to do it locally.

dan dempsey said...


Look at the results for the following categories:

Computer Scientists

If you would like to make students ready for Collegiate Science classes, check out the .pdf here.

It turns out that Collegiate instructors find the baloney math ideas pushed over the last two decades have had a particularly damaging effect.

We now graduate the smallest number of engineers of any time in the last 30 years and the trend is downward yet. When I spoke to the engineering person at UW Bothell of over 20 students beginning training in engineering only 2 were recent high school graduates.

Check the Math Computation skills Graph on this page of the linked report.

Absolutely shocking that the same math folks from the "Bergeson era" are still at OSPI and worse OSPI and SBE leaders continue to listen to OSPI Math Folks' NO POSITIVE RESULTS math recommendations.

Check out Sudhakar's post on ONE MILLION Engineers


I've got no problem with sound effective efficient Integrated Math instruction programs like Singapore uses.

Most of the USA's Integrated Math programs came from NSF/EHR grants and have produced the current math meltdown for so many students.

Education should be much more than employment preparation but the lack of emphasis on content in far too many public schools is often disabling.

Core Knowledge Foundation is fighting against continued destruction of academic content and skills.

Sahila said...

you miss my point, Dan... the author of the blog you linked to blamed "math reform" on progressives, when how best to teach math has been an issue for more than 200 years and that the best minds in the field in the 19th Century decided that the best way was an amalgam of the two pathways - intuitive and formal, intellectual and experiential...

It would be so cool if we could get to an "and/also" place, where everyone gets to succeed, rather than this "either/or" place where some people have to be losers...

The single path you advocate will still have losers on it...

dan dempsey said...

I hardly advocate a single path. Currently for most there is no productive path.

I am appalled at the Core-24 thrust of Advanced Algebra for all .. which has undergone some modification but still is nonsense.

Isabel D'Ambrosia said...

Thanks for your comment wsnorth.

I wish more people understood your point. The Seattle Times editorial board sure doesn't.