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Nov 30, 2012 lillehammer commented on Kenny G's Manager Calls Us Up to Shout at Us About the Slog vs. Kenny G Holiday Charity Challenge.
Are you sure it just wasn't Rob McKenna letting off steam? You should have given the phone to Goldy.
Oct 19, 2012 lillehammer commented on That's Gotta Sting.
I bet Mitt is waiting for the Mexico City paper's endorsement, given that he's Latino and all..
Aug 13, 2012 lillehammer commented on The Mormon Church Makes an Estimated Seven Billion Dollars a Year.
People, go read "Under the Banner of Heaven." Really. It is awesomely written and terrifying. Slog should do a book club a la Oprah, and this should be the first selection. I really wish someone would ask Mitt his opinion on blood atonement. Dominic, can you get on that, please?
Jul 4, 2012 lillehammer commented on Hey Rob: Put Up or Shut Up.
I just have to say that I find Goldy vs McKenna waaaaaay more interesting than Inslee vs McKenna. Way to make the governor's race interesting.
Jul 3, 2012 lillehammer commented on Surprise! Billionaire Charter Schools Backers Buy Enough Signatures.
@20 - in all seriousness and with all respect, I'd love to hear what specific changes you'd make to education. You seem like you've done your research - in your opinion, what changes would benefit the most kids immediately?
Jul 3, 2012 lillehammer commented on Surprise! Billionaire Charter Schools Backers Buy Enough Signatures.
One of the top charter networks is Green Dot Public Schools. Its teachers are unionized. Another network - Rocketship Education - pays its teachers more than those in the LA school district. And like I mentioned before, the Minnesota teachers union has become an authorizer of charters in that state. The NEA approves of charters (with some limitations of course) as does the AFT.

But really, the focus should always be what is best for kids. And if lifting the ban on some of these schools can help some kids next year, then I'm all for it. Teachers will have a choice whether or not to work at these schools, just as they have a choice now whether to work for a public or private school.
Jul 3, 2012 lillehammer commented on Surprise! Billionaire Charter Schools Backers Buy Enough Signatures.
@14 - That may be true in other states, but the initiative clearly states they must take all kids AND priority will be given to those charters who focus on at-risk youth:

(iv) Require that public charter schools be free and open to all students just like traditional public schools are, and that students be selected by lottery to ensure fairness if more students apply than a school can accommodate;

(ix) Give priority to opening public charter schools that serve at-risk student populations or students from low-performing public schools.

(2) "At-risk student" means a student who has an academic or economic disadvantage that requires assistance or special services to succeed in educational programs. The term includes, but is not limited to, students who do not meet minimum standards of academic proficiency, students who are at risk of dropping out of high school, students in chronically low-performing schools, students with higher than average disciplinary sanctions, students with lower participation rates in advanced or gifted programs, students who are limited in English proficiency, students who are members of economically disadvantaged families, and students who are identified as having special educational needs.…

Different states have different laws that authorize charter schools, and that is why having a well-written one is so important.
Jul 3, 2012 lillehammer joined My Stranger Face
Jul 3, 2012 lillehammer commented on Surprise! Billionaire Charter Schools Backers Buy Enough Signatures.
With all due respect (and I do mean that sincerely), I have a few issues with this.

So when these "very rich people" donate to marriage equality and other issues you approve of, that's their duty to do so. But if they champion another cause, you accuse them of hating democracy. Interesting.

Some things to consider:
1) President Obama supports the expansion of public charter schools.

2) The initiative is not opening the floodgates for charters. It would bring in the best of the best. Saying that most charters don't do any better than traditional schools is a lame talking point - it's like saying that if you take all of the movies ever produced, the average quality of those is average or below average. The intent would be to bring in the best of the best, the ones with a proven track record.

3) There are many unions around the country that support charters. In Minnesota, the state teachers union actually became an authorizer for charters.

4) Under the law, charters couldn't self select - students would be chosen by lottery. A little known fact about WA's much touted "innovation" schools is that there is an application/approval process for many of them, including Aviation High - which, btw, received money from Boeing and the Gates Foundation, "corporate money."

5) Agreed that we need more money in education but voters will not just write a blank check into a failing system, even when the economy recovers. And times haven't always been tough financially for WA schools - and there are many schools here in the state (look at Bridgeport High) that are doing great with less. We need to revamp our education system - we are still mired in 19th century thinking and our graduation rates (among the lowest in the country). Charters is one, tiny way to get the ball moving in the right direction, especially for kids who need the help the most. That's not to say we shouldn't shift our funding priorities to education, but serious changes to the system must happen alongside that increase.

6) So the litmus test for your approval on an initiative getting on the ballot is whether or not they use paid signature gatherers? So liberal groups can't use them either or you will oppose their future initiatives?