Friday Open Thread for February 10, 2017

Look! It's Friday again! Another open thread.

Betsy DeVos was turned away from a visit to public school in Washington, D.C. but managed to visit the school today. She also asked Twitter where to find the pencils at the end of her first day on the job. That didn't go well.

The debate continues to rage in Olympia over school funding. This is the exact same debate that the legislature should have had five years ago. Some people only work when they are under the whip. I don't think those are the people you want to hire for important roles like state legislator.

What do you think?


Outsider said…
Regarding Betsy and what might be animating conservatives in education, I noticed the following: Trigger warning -- this article is published by the Manhattan Institute, a right-wing think tank which (along with Heritage, Cato etc.) is a sort of death star to Seattle Progressives. So it's definitely a non-PC zone. Excerpt:

"At Harding High School, teacher Becky McQueen found her own solution to the chaos. McQueen—who had been threatened with death and shoved into a shelf by classroom interlopers—told City Pages that, to keep invaders out, she now asks her students to use a 'secret knock' to enter her classroom."

It's an article about what lies down the equity and proportionality road (with echoes of what has been described in Highline, which is already further down the road than Seattle.) Reading it, you will get an expectation that some Obama-era initiatives from the federal DOEd will disappear; and you might understand why some people just want the voucher and don't care if Betsy is qualified.

What I don't understand is, why do teachers fight so hard, politically, to push themselves into a situation like the teachers in St. Paul, at which point they burn out and quit?
Teacher both teaches and entertains at Town Hall meeting in Utah. (Actually more than just her but she is wonderful.)
Get your questions ready...
NO 1240 said…
We have not heard LEV, Stand for Children and DFER advocate for additional funding.

SB 5607 is a levy swap which leaves 500,000 students with LESS funding. SB 5607 proposes "per pupil" funding model. Many testified against "per pupil" funding and advocated for the prototypical funding model.

The Washington Policy Center on SB 5607:

"The Education Equality Act would also allow children attending public charter schools to share in the new state local effort levy, correcting the social injustice in current law which unfairly denies local levy funds to mostly low-income and minority children."

Charter schools are not entitled to levy dollars.

Perhaps SB 5607 is popular with corporate education supporters because funding to charter schools is increased.
I would take what the Times says with a grain of salt. They seem to be doing somewhat better but still seem to leave out things. For example, how will the state eventually fund 40 charter schools. This got brought up at the hearing for the charter school law and the judge was a a little skeptical about it.

But because it is speculation that there WILL be 40 schools, it probably won't feature in the the final outcome of that lawsuit.

However, what does that mean for public education funding for WA State? The lottery fund - where the money comes from now - is flat and, if there are 40 charters, either they cut funding for other programs in the fund like Running Start and tribal schools OR they find it someplace else.

No one in Olympia seems to be considering this and yet, if charter are public schools, that needs to be figured out as well. Has the Times considered this? Not so far.
Anonymous said…
Melissa, you and NO 1240 (and others) have a misunderstanding of how the state budget works. First, let's assume that the vast, vast majority of students enrolled (and who enroll) in charter schools come from traditional public schools --- and we can safely assume this since the data bears it out. Those students in TPS are funded out of the general fund and the state is obligated to provide funding for them. If those former TPS students enroll in charter schools and their enrollment is funded out of the Opportunity Pathways Account, there will be an equal amount of expenditure obligation reduction in the general fund. There is no loss in funding in the overall legislative budget. Legislative language would say there's no fiscal impact.

Next, any reduction to the programs in the Opp Pathways Account would be replaced by funds in the general account. But since there was an expenditure obligation reduction in the general fund from charter students moving to the Opp Pathways Account, there is money in the general fund to account for the reduction in those programs. Again, there is no fiscal impact.

Lastly, and this is a technical issue, no money from the general fund is ever moved INTO the Opp Pathways Account. Portions of these programs in the account needing additional funding not available in the account are moved TO the general fund, not the other way around. That way, there is no co-mingling of general funds and Opp Pathways Account funds (and charter schools funds).

Albert, I have never heard the funding explained this way. I don't mean any disrespect but I'll have to ask some other people. That is certainly not what was said during the charter lawsuit hearing.

Again, as for "replacement funds" to Opp Pathways Account, that is not what the State said at the hearing and I'm pretty sure they would have to bolster their case.

I didn't say any money was to be moved from the General Fund to the Opp Pathways Account. But if lottery funds are flat and yet there are more charter schools, where will that funding come from? You seem to say the General Fund. The General fund cannot fund charter schools.
Josh Hayes said…
Word is being passed from Wayne Au but, apparently, originating from Dr. Nyland, to the effect that he (Nyland) has issued an order that should ICE show up at ANY SPS school, they should be refused entry and referred to SPS legal, at the JSCEE.

This seems to me to be A Good Thing. Thank you, Dr. Nyland.
kellie said…

I understand what you are saying about cost neutral, where net-net is completely neutral to the state and the taxpayers. That said, I think the issues is co-mingling of money.

TPS can be funded with any revenue dollars. Charter Schools can ONLY be funded with a small subset of dollars. My understanding is that there is a lot of competition for that small subset of dollars. Hence a real concern that an expansion of charters could displace dollars for items like Running Start that are also funded from that pot of money.

Can you further clarify. At this point, I am pretty neutral on this topic. I am not a fan of charter schools. However, they may be the only thing that will hold capacity issues together.

Anonymous said…
Melissa and kellie, you are correct that the General Fund cannot fund charter schools, according to the LWV ruling. Regardless of how nonsensical this aspect of the ruling was, it is the current ruling and the legislature is adhering to it.

So, with that, the expansion of charter schools toward the limit of 40 will at some point exhaust the Opportunity Pathways Account. The legislature would then need to find a source other than funds from the General Fund to fund the expansion of charter schools.

However, there is no prohibition against funding the State Need Grant, ECEAP, etc from the General Fund. As charter schools expand and deplete current funds in the OPA, State Need Grant, etc. can be moved to the General Fund. BTW, Running Start is not in the OPA. Running Start is funded out of the General Fund.

Interesting, Albert, because the defendants in the charter law case said Running Start was funded out OPA. I know what I heard so it's all very puzzling.

I see your point but again, finite funds means something has to give. Who loses then?
Anonymous said…
I haven't been paying close attention to REMS but heard that current HIMS 7th grade HCC students who will be pulled over to REMS will not have the next HCC classes there as 8th graders. And only 6th and 7th grader HCC students will have the two years ahead curriculum. Is that accurate for the 8th graders, no next HCC level classes?
Anonymous said…
Melissa, are you sure you heard Running Start was funded out of the OPA, or did you hear that Running Start --- like charter schools --- is not overseen by local elected officials? There is a list of schools and programs funded out of the General Fund not overseen by local elected officials, such as Running Start, School for the Blind, etc.

The programs in the OPA are in statute: Running Start is not one of them.

Anonymous said…
Lincoln HS Info Meeting, hosted by school board member Rick Burke
Friday, Feb 17th
6:30-8:30 PM
Hamilton Commons

Come one, come all. If only we could serve hard liquor at school meetings...


Anonymous said…
@parent, do you know if they expect to actually have any information available to parents at that info meeting? Is there an agenda anywhere?

Anonymous said…
A description of the meeting is posted on the discussapp blog.
Albert, I know from charter schools so no, it's not about elected oversight. It's about where the money comes from. I will check with other people at the hearing but I was taking notes on my computer and that's what the discussion was about.Clearly, there is some disconnect here.

So Director Burke is, once again,going to try to divide the crowd up by topics. It didn't work last time and, if the crowd is as large as last time, it won't work again.
Anonymous said…
Does the Lincoln meeting on a Friday evening with less than a week's notice seem odd (and entering into midwinter break)? I don't fault Burke, he is likely slammed. Just curious.

Anonymous said…
Also, I hope the tone at Friday's Lincoln meeting is not combative toward Burke, but rather appropriately combative/constructive toward District staff. At least to me, facilitating the parent engagement for a new school planning effort shouldn't be the burden of a school board director. I hope school staff sit right up front with Burke, rather than in the back of the room. Thanks Director Burke for taking this on, and sorry you have to do this!


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