Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: Seattle Public Schools

March
5th

Tacoma’s school money belonged in classrooms

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

News flash: The citizens who pay for public schools expect their hard-earned money to be spent on public schools, not on adults angling for business contracts.

Especially when money for teaching actual students is getting scarcer.

Had the Seattle and Tacoma school districts kept their focus relentlessly on the classroom, they wouldn’t have wound up duped by a rogue operation that claimed to be cultivating minority contractors while in fact squandering or pocketing money that should have been spent in the classrooms.

The Tacoma School District’s role in this is relatively minor, though it did wind up spending $105,000 without seeing much in the way of results. Along with the City of Tacoma and several other local governments, it bought into the Seattle district’s “Regional Small Business Development Program” (RSBDP), whose purpose was to help minority businesses bid for contracts.

According to the State Auditor’s Office, the Seattle School District got burned to the tune of $1.8 million by the new program, which misspent the funds on “services” that were either impossible to verify or never delivered – or turned out to be pretexts for siphoning money into private hands. A criminal investigation is under way.
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Aug.
19th

Seattle opens next front in education reform effort

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

Seattle Public Schools administrators are fighting a battle for schoolchildren across the state.

The district has decided to go to the mat over teacher performance evaluations. District officials want teachers to be judged based in part on their students’ academic growth.

The union says the proposal is a no-go. With the school year fast approaching, a strike could be in the offing.

The Seattle Education Association would rather stick to a previous compromise: an evaluation system that would put teachers who rate “basic” or “unsatisfactory” at risk of dismissal.

What a radical notion – that teacher performance should dictate a teacher’s career prospects. Such is what qualifies as “historic change” – union officials’ words – in public education.

The district’s proposal is also rather modest contrary to the union’s characterizations.

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