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Besides charter schools, what is one educational reform that you would pursue in your first year as governor?
Posted by crasher on October 4, 2012 at 6:27 AM · Report this
Baconcat 2
Promote competition? No, promote success. If you're promoting competition you're treating kids as as a commodity in what could become a zero sum game for kids. And if we look at the trends, charter schools aren't that great.

Just look at the first state that got them:…

If your idea of a "new direction" and "innovation" is doing what other states have done (with no effect on NAEP scores, overall) then maybe you should sit down and rethink this. Of course, you're trying to sell another publicity hungry AG as a novel choice for Gov. You know, like the last governor who was an AG that was publicity hungry and promised a new direction.
Posted by Baconcat on October 4, 2012 at 6:36 AM · Report this
Hi Rob - you talk about full funding schools and new funds to be applied to schools, but what new revenue source will you be introducing to provide these funds? Do you support a state income tax on the wealthiest Washingtonians, for example, to pay for this investment in our future? If not, why not, and how else would you pay for this?
Posted by DawginExile on October 4, 2012 at 6:36 AM · Report this
Oh! This is so enlightening! I see that McKenna is for good things (and children!). If he posts again and I learn he's against bad things then he's sold me!
Posted by BLUE on October 4, 2012 at 6:53 AM · Report this
Chef Thunder 5
Such nice words. How about some specifics?
Posted by Chef Thunder on October 4, 2012 at 7:20 AM · Report this
I, too, am curious about how you will fully fund schools without a new revenue source and how that will be beneficial to children. If you cut all other programs to fund education, that does not benefit all kids. Many kids and their families are depending on a myriad of social programs to help them survive; hungry or sick kids do not do well in the classroom.

I'd also be curious why you think charter schools are innovative. I've been in numerous charter schools (Utah and Arizona), and I've yet to see anything innovative going on. Instead I've seen charter schools close abruptly with financial issues, underpaid teachers with administrators living like fat cats, whole families employed by a charter school making outrageous salaries while they make families "volunteer" a $1200 payment each semester, and a whole lot of white kids sitting in those supposedly innovative charter schools. Washington's I-1240 is poorly written, with even less accountability and transparency than either AZ or UT - so how is that good for kids? How does that benefit the citizens of Washington? I can only see a benefit for the for-profit charter school management companies who will be running the charters, despite the claims from the millionaires.
Posted by StuckInUtah on October 4, 2012 at 7:24 AM · Report this
TheRain 7
"Washington is regarded nationally as an education reform backwater"

And yet, somehow, we keep leading the nation in SAT scores.

What a statement like this shows is that Rob is from the camp that only believes in school reform for the sake of school reform; it doesn't have to work, it just has to fit under that nebulous heading of "reform". This is the same camp that believes on "winning" Race to the Top money was a terrible black eye for the state, when the states that did win have had to sell their souls to the Gates Foundation and the Wal-Mart vision of what education should be, and it's not exactly going well:…

Winning this kind of school reform is like winning first place in the "Who has the worst cancer?" contest.

"Our teachers should be respected for the professionals that they are, but our paramount duty is to put our children first,"

And there it is. Sorry, teachers, I get you're professionals and all, but I need to take back those Masters Degree bonuses that we pushed for three decades to pay for my merit pay program. Sorry, teachers, I really do value you, but I-732 had to go, and instead of living up to that promise I'll be giving you more testing instead. You great professionals won't mind if I take away your health insurance choices, right? It's for the kids.

The reality is that you have no plan beyond shitting on the teachers and pretending it was a donation to the levy committee. You and your cronies at the AWB will scream to the heavens about the uncertainty faced by business but turn a complete blind eye to the uncertainty being lived day in and day out by 100,000 school employees every day.

A vote for Rob McKenna is a vote to make our schools worse. This is fact, and not open to debate.
Posted by TheRain on October 4, 2012 at 7:27 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 8
Our schools have done just fine in the past when we fully funded them. "New direction" is just another way to say "short changed". We know who it is you want to help.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on October 4, 2012 at 7:39 AM · Report this
amyl 9
Mr. McKenna, I would like to second 3's and 8's questions. Where would you find the revenue to fully fund our schools? Would you raise taxes? Would you cut vital social services? Is it fair to point the finger at our public schools and delcare "you suck!" when they have been chronically underfunded for so long? Isn't that a little like judging a beauty queen on her poise just after she's come off a three day bender?
Posted by amyl on October 4, 2012 at 7:52 AM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 10
WHAT underperforming schools? Washington has one of the lowest school funding levels in the country, yet has above average results on national tests. Sounds like WA schools already give excellent value for money.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on October 4, 2012 at 7:53 AM · Report this
Paul Constant 11
This is such total meaningless bullshit. It's the kind of crap Romney said, totally unopposed, onstage last night: Anti-union, anti-lower class fulmination disguised as concern for our children. You know who gets fucked with charter schools? Children and poor people. Competition doesn't create a good environment for education. We need to make sure everyone gets a quality education. It's right there in our state constitution, as you said. Charter schools ensure that certain kids get better education than others, and when certain kids get better education than others, rich parents always make sure that it's the rich kids who get that education. Fuck that class war bullshit.
Posted by Paul Constant http:// on October 4, 2012 at 7:59 AM · Report this
Mr. McKenna, thank you for the platitudes.

Now, could you please say something meaningful?
Posted by Charlie Mas on October 4, 2012 at 8:17 AM · Report this
Mr. McKenna, your equating Race to the Top with innovation is unwarrented.

You write that we must learn from our failures. What failures do you see? What did you learn from them?

You write that we must fix what is broken. What do you see as broken and how would you fix it?

Why must we promote competition? Competition among whom? Among students? families? teachers? schools? districts? What benefit do you imagine competition will bring? Can you cite some examples of where and how competition has brought benefits in public K-12 education?

You write that we need to catch up our sister states, but our state leads the nation in SAT scores among states with our level of participation. Who are we behind? Which states are out-performing us and what is it that you think they are doing to create that out-performance?

You write that teachers should be respected for the professionals that they are. How have you shown teachers this respect?

Less platitudes and more specificity would be welcome.
Posted by Charlie Mas on October 4, 2012 at 8:23 AM · Report this
"Washington is regarded nationally as an education reform backwater, coming in near the bottom in the President's Race to the Top competition, and only one of handful that does not authorize charter schools. This failure is utterly unacceptable in a state which generally is considered innovative. "

By whom Mr. McKenna? Other ed reformers? Because you are not going to find a real educator that would make that claim.

Ed backwater? Lack of innovation?

- for the NINTH straight year, Washington is at the top for SAT scores (and the number of students taking them is rising) - Sir, we ARE beating our sister states.
- we have over 450 schools of innovation
- the Legislature passed not one but two Innovation Schools laws in the last two years
- the Legislature passed a law promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in our K-12 schools
- Lincoln Center, a small high school for at-risk students, within Lincoln High in Tacoma has CLOSED the achievement gap for those students.
- Everett, Renton and Tukwila, all diverse districts, have over 80% graduation rates.
- Seattle Schools, our largest school district, just last night passed a Creative Approach schools measure to allow school communities - parents, teachers and staff - to get waivers for longer school days, changing curriculum, etc. Investing power for change within communities sounds like innovation to me.
- And, just this summer, the PTA president of Rainier High School here in Seattle, a high-school that has struggled mightily, saw her efforts for change recognized at the White House by President Obama as just one of 12 Champions of Change in the nation.

And you want charter schools that would:
- create more bureaucracy at the state level (and more spending for that bureaucracy which FYI would be housed in the governor's office)
- allow charter groups to take over ANY existing school, failing or not, with a petition signed by the majority of either parents OR teachers.

Imagine, Mr. McKenna, that there are 18 teachers in an elementary school, and just 10 of them sign a petition for charter takeover. Ten people get to flip an entire school community that isn't failing? Explain how that is good public policy, sir.

No, you can parrot the ed reform talk but the real issue is FULLY-FUNDING the schools that exist TODAY. We don't even fund our schools to the national average and yet you say we have poor performing schools?

You should be ashamed of yourself.
Posted by westello on October 4, 2012 at 8:25 AM · Report this
"At the same time, we cannot spend more money on existing public school programs that are underperforming without first reforming them."

A) This is false. We can do it. You're suggesting we shouldn't.
B) Why? In many cases they are specifically under-performing due to a lack of money. How will taking more money from public schools help public schools?

Posted by dirge on October 4, 2012 at 8:28 AM · Report this
I'm sorry - It's Rainier BEACH High School. My apologies.
Posted by westello on October 4, 2012 at 8:34 AM · Report this
south downtown 17
Ha ha ha - this is Stranger parody, right?

Posted by south downtown on October 4, 2012 at 8:56 AM · Report this
Me, me, me. Shut up, Rob.
Posted by suddenlyorcas on October 4, 2012 at 9:12 AM · Report this
Ziggity 19
Did you or did you not say you were going to provide a "nude erection" to Washington's Public Schools?
Posted by Ziggity on October 4, 2012 at 9:31 AM · Report this
pdonahue 20
go ahead, Rob, pull a Wisconsin style right to work approach to school reform, make my day.
Posted by pdonahue on October 4, 2012 at 9:42 AM · Report this
SPG 21
Rob's plan is to pull a Scott Walker and declare war on the teachers. Slash their pay, try to crush their union, make the job so miserable that all the talented teachers quit for other work and then point to the miserable state of the schools as "proof" that we need charter schools and non union, untrained, unqualified, Teach For America scabs to replace the real teachers. But when this debacle happens, Rob and his rich patrons won't give a shit because their kids will be in private schools and their taxes will go down so they can afford another ivory backscratcher.
Posted by SPG on October 4, 2012 at 9:51 AM · Report this
Posted by Watchwhatyouget on October 4, 2012 at 10:16 AM · Report this
Mr McKenna, given that our tax structure is fundamentally unable to keep up with growth, how do you propose to fully fund our schools without changing our state's taxes?
Posted by Hanoumatoi on October 4, 2012 at 10:24 AM · Report this
Rob, I have a personal story that I'd like to share. I hope you respond. We have an odd connection, we were both featured in the small Seattle Business Magazine.
I attended AS#1 (a SPS alternative) from K-8, during the entire time I went there, we were under constant threat of shut down. Mostly due to the fact that they didn't focus on testing. Its primary goal was to develop a love of life time learning and a deeper understanding of the value of creativity.
When I graduated, I feared I was behind other students who went to 'normal' schools, so I enrolled in Roosevelt for high school. I was shocked by how behind many of my fellow students were, in 9th grade only 10 out of 40 of my history class knew where China was. I never took a geography test while attending AS#1, but we history classes that covered it. Anyhow, I did fine at RHS, had a 3.3 GPA and a SAT of 1250. I probably could have gone to UW but I was so turned off by the lack of creative thinking I saw fostered by 'testing to the test' that I went to Evergreen instead. While there I studied what most would consider a useless degree, philosophy.
Once I left there I decided I wanted to start a brewery. I got two jobs, worked way too much and lived in a few dumps to save money. Here I am now, a small business owner making a unique product that does very well in the market place and helps employee lots of people throughout the state.
I tell you this story because if you steer schools to focus on tests, you produce bland minds. Our economic world doesn't need more blandness, it needs innovation. I fear your reforms would get rid of places like AS#1 and only produce people who can cite facts but not connect them into the greater world.
Would you keep schools like AS#1 going even with their unique approach?
Posted by CbytheSea on October 4, 2012 at 10:25 AM · Report this

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