Seattle teachers maintain MAP boycott; District forced to back down; suspension threat verbally rescinded
Seattle School District is attempting to implement MAP testing at Garfield without teacher involvement. The administration, by order of the district office, Tuesday began to pull students out of classes to take the test that teachers maintain does not support instruction and is statistically invalid. Garfield teacher Jesse Hagopian said, “I am disheartened that the District would try to go around the backs of the PTSA, the students, and the teachers at Garfield High School and implement a test that all of the representatives of those bodies have voted unanimously against.” Seattle Education blog, 2-5-13.
Administrators not happy about giving the MAP test
Kris McBride, Garfield’s academic dean and testing coordinator, said Garfield’s administrators are not happy about giving the test, and more than 100 Garfield parents have asked that their children be excused from taking it, which parents have the right to do. Seattle Times, 2-5-13.
UW professors support Seattle teachers’ MAP boycott
This controversy is not simply about whether MAP is useful or not. It’s about whether teachers are to be given a say about what is useful or not in their classroom. It’s about respect. The Stranger SLOG, 2-5-13.
Bus service faces cutbacks; Metro asks city for help
Amid a ridership surge, King County Metro Transit says it might have to cut one-sixth of its bus-service hours if new funding isn’t found. Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond Monday asked the Seattle City Council to join him in asking legislators for new tax authority, and for the city to provide adequate road space downtown. Seattle Times, 2-5-13.
Harrell proposes drone legislation for Seattle
As the Seattle Police Department becomes eager to use drones as part of their police work, Seattle City Councilman Bruce Harrell Monday proposed legislation to rein in drone use. “Seattle will be the first city to consider drone legislation to protect the public’s civil liberties,” Harrell’s staff wrote in a press release announcing the legislation. Harrell is chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee, and a candidate for mayor. Seattle P-I, 2-4-13.
Ex-legislator Anderson applies for Port of Seattle seat
Former Republican state Rep. Glenn Anderson is among 29 applicants for a vacancy on the Port of Seattle Commission — officials responsible for overseeing the Port of Seattle and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Anderson left the Legislature in January after 10 years serving the 5th Legislative District in the House. Issaquah Press, 2-5-13.
Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger will retire
Mayor Ava Frisinger, a steady leader amid more than decade of transformation, said Monday she plans to retire after guiding Issaquah through a transition from small town to a boomtown in 16 years at City Hall. Frisinger had said in early 2009 she did not intend to run for a fifth term as mayor in 2013. Issaquah Press, 2-5-13.
Washington’s injured workers lose, 25-24
The Republicans-Plus-Two Coalition, which seized control of the State Senate amid promises of bipartisanship and moderation just a few short weeks ago, moved forward Monday with a clearly partisan attack on benefits for injured workers and their families. They passed three labor-opposed workers’ compensation bills, two of which were in direct conflict with each other, and two of which passed on 25-24 votes with only the Republican senators and (so-called) Democratic Sens. Rodney Tom (D-48) and Tim Sheldon (D-35) in support. The Stand, 2-5-13.
Keiser calls state Senate worker comp bills ‘bad news’
State Sen. Karen Keiser (D-33) called two worker compensation bills “bad news” after the new Republican majority passed both bills Monday in Olympia on a 25-24 caucus-line vote. “These bills are bad news for any middle-class worker in our state who gets seriously hurt on the job,” Keiser said in a media release. “All these bills do is lower costs for businesses by taking benefits from those who need it most.” Kent Reporter, 2-4-13.
Lawmakers not ready to pledge state workers’ pay raises
Three weeks into a new legislative session, top Washington lawmakers say it is too early to know if two dozen labor contracts negotiated by then-Gov. Chris Gregoire can be honored. At stake is the pay for all of the state’s roughly 105,000 employees, including those at colleges and universities. “We haven’t even had that discussion yet, whether we accept it or reject it,” Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler (R-9), of Ritzville, said last week. Tacoma News Tribune, 2-5-13.
State lawmakers consider bill to expand dental care
For many low-income people, getting dental care is not always within reach. A state House committee is considering HB 1516, sponsored by Rep. Eileen Cody (D-34), which would create two new kinds of midlevel dental professionals. Supporters like Dr. Ray Dailey say these providers would not replace dentists, but would expand their reach to patients. Dailey, a dentist for the Swinomish and Upper Skagit Indian Tribes, says he would welcome this kind of help at his clinic. KUOW, 2-5-13.
Mukilteo, Edmonds to fight Paine Field flights
The staunchest opponent of commercial air service at Paine Field has followed through on a promise to fight the plan in court. The cities of Mukilteo and Edmonds, along with an activist group and two individuals, have filed a notice with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that they intend to challenge a federal decision to allow flights at the airport. The papers filed with the court carry no substance in terms of arguments but get the parties’ collective foot in the door for legal action, Mukilteo Mayor Joe Marine said. Everett Herald, 2-5-13.
Prosser teacher wants two books removed
Richard Korb, a social studies teacher at Prosser High School, has formally challenged the books for depictions of child abuse and profanity and what he says is the promotion of homosexuality. The books are “A Child Called ‘It’: One Child’s Courage to Survive” and “The Popularity Papers.” Yakima Herald-Republic, 2-5-13.
Government complaints say S&P analysts seemed to mock their roles as gatekeepers of the financial system
Government investigators gathered emails and instant messages that they said showed S&P gave rosy ratings to securities that the firm knew were ready to implode. The lawsuits claim that executives were obsessed with maintaining good relationships with the banks that paid them to analyze securities. And when those securities began to sour, they persuaded analysts to turn a blind eye to it. One S&P analyst put it bluntly: “Let’s hope we are all wealthy and retired by the time this house of cards falters.” Los Angeles Times, 2-5-13.
E-mails show Jeb Bush’s education “reform” foundation lobbied for businesses, including one tied to Bush
A public interest group has released the results of a multi-state Freedom of Information Act request concerning the lobbying efforts by the Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE), the nonprofit led by Jeb Bush. The e-mails confirm previous reporting showing that Bush’s policies are designed to benefit businesses seeking to privatize public education—particularly the companies that finance Bush’s nonprofit. What’s new in this release, however, is the revelation that Bush could be using his education reform crusade for personal gain. But … but … I thought it was for the kids. The KIDS! The Nation, 1-29-13.
Waiting Times at Ballot Boxes Draw Scrutiny
With studies suggesting that long lines at the polls cost Democrats hundreds of thousands of votes in November, party leaders are beginning a push to make voting and voter registration easier, setting up a likely new conflict with Republicans over a deeply polarizing issue. Democrats say they expect President Obama to highlight the issue in his State of the Union address next week. New York Times, 2-4-13.
To Think About
The Violence Against Women Act: Gun Rights, Idle No More, and Why Most House Republicans Say Rape Is OK
Of gun rights and politics; how most House Republicans concluded that it’s OK for women to be raped; why tribal courts must be able to prosecute non-Native offenders, and where do we go from here? With video: “What affects one woman affects all women.” Gyasi Ross, Indian Country Today, 2-5-13.