Inside Opinion

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

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Tag: WEA


Wyman, for a secretary of state all voters can trust

Kim Wyman

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

In a perfect world, the position of Washington’s secretary of state would be nonpartisan. That way, it would be harder to accuse the office holder – the state’s highest elections official – of playing party favorites.

But it is a partisan position. So the next best thing would be to elect someone who is not highly partisan and has a record of inspiring confidence in both Republicans and Democrats. Say, someone like Sam Reed – a Republican who has been elected three times in a state that doesn’t elect very many Republicans to statewide office.

But Reed is retiring. If voters want to replace him with someone who embraces his brand of nonpartisan professionalism, they should elect the candidate he is endorsing and who is following in his footsteps by first serving as Thurston County auditor: Kim Wyman. Read more »


Thank Chris Gregoire for ending Tacoma’s pointless strike

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

An old conspiracy theory holds that the Washington Education Association – the state teachers union – targets a school district every so often and urges its local union affiliate to stage a bruising strike.

The resulting school closure is as much a display of raw power – a cautionary tale for other districts and the Legislature – as it is a quarrel over the terms of a contract.

We’ve never seen proof, but the strike in Tacoma certainly doesn’t weaken the theory.

The final contract agreement – forcefully brokered by Gov. Chris Gregoire on Wednesday – was no great coup for either the Tacoma Education Association or the school district.

The 2011 Legislature had ordained a 1.9 percent cut in teacher compensation, and it eliminated funding earmarked for holding down class size. In the end, the TEA – which had sought reductions in class sizes – more or less hung on to the status quo, though it gave up a training day that translated into a .5 percent pay cut.

The real flash point was the district’s insistence that administrators be allowed more discretion over which schools teachers are assigned. The union insisted on a traditional system that emphasized seniority.
Read more »


A trip at the Race to the Top finish line

This editorial will appear in the Wednesday print edition.

It’s report card time for Race to the Top: “A” for theory, an “A” for effort but a shaky “B-” on the final exam.

The Obama administration set out to shake up the educational status quo last year when it put up $4.35 billion in prize money for states on the front lines of school reform. So far, it has partially succeeded, even among some foot-draggers like Washington.

Proof lies in the education bill Gov. Chris Gregoire has just signed into law. For Washington – an important qualifier – the bill is a big move. For the first time, the state will be able to intervene in schools and districts that just can’t seem to deliver a decent education. New teachers will remain on trial for three years, not two. Read more »


Lawmakers sit out the Race to the Top

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

We now know the Legislature plan’s for competing for Race to the Top education dollars: Too little, too late.

The Senate on Thursday gave final approval to a bill that supposedly positions Washington to win its share of Race to the Top funding – money the Obama administration is offering states at the cutting edge of education reform.

Washington isn’t at the cutting edge. It isn’t even at the dull edge. It’s at the back of the handle of a dull blade.

Gov. Chris Gregoire had to withdraw the state from the first round of the federal competition because Washington was simply a non-contender. Many of the key reforms U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan was looking for – such as high-quality charter schools – were nowhere to be found within our borders. There went Washington’s shot at $200 million-plus that would have been a godsend during a brutal budget crisis.

The 2010 Legislature, in theory, has decided to put the state back in the running for round two. Senate Bill 6696 would in fact take several serious steps toward better-performing schools.
Read more »