Morning Fizz

Morning Fizz: A Defiant Tweet

Caffeinated News & Gossip featuring district elections, teacher evaluations, and a defiant tweet.

By Morning Fizz January 16, 2014

Morning Fizz

1. City Council member Tim Burgess has filed to run for election as one of two at-large city council members in 2015, when the council (currently all elected at-large) will be divided up into seven geographic districts and two at-large seats. Sally Clark has filed to run for the other at-large seat. Burgess lives in the same district as Sally Bagshaw, who has already filed to run for the districted seat, and Clark lives in the same district as Harrell; running for the at-large seat will mean that both Burgess and Clark will avoid having to run against a fellow incumbent.

But it also leaves council member Nick Licata in a tricky position. Licata, who was just reelected, has expressed an intent to serve at least four more years on the council (which require him to run again for a two-year term along with his council colleagues in 2015). But his new district overlaps with council member (and frequent Licata ally Mike O'Brien's), potentially putting him in the position of running against a fellow incumbent, whether he runs for the districted seat or not. 

And of course, none of this is set in stone. Neither Harrell nor Rasmussen have declared which position they're running for (although both seem likely to run in their districts—South Seattle and West Seattle, respectively), and anyone who declares they're running can always change their mind and switch seats. 

So far, the only non-incumbent who's said he's running is West Seattle community activist Charles Redmond, who's running for the West Seattle seat. 

 2. The state senate K-12 education committee, considering a batch of bills that mandate schools include state student testing results in the mix of criteria to evaluate teachers, heard conflicting testimony yesterday from the teachers union (against) and administrators and activists (for).

Currently, among the eight measures that schools use (including: demonstrating effective teaching practices; recognizing individual student learning needs and developing strategies to address those needs; providing clear and intentional focus on subject matter,  content, and curriculum; and using multiple student data elements to modify instruction and improve student learning), state testing "can" be a factor to help determine how well tachers are meeting those measures.

Unfortunately, the feds, whose No Child Left Behind grants require statewide standards, are threatening to pull about $38 million from local classroom budgets because we don't say state testing "must" factor in.

One bill, sponsored by four Democrats on the committee, including ranking member Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe (D-1, Bothell), would make the fix, mandating that state testing data be included one of the elements that inform the criteria for evaluating teachers (others can be classroom-based, school-based, and district-based testing).

State Sen. Steve Litzow

Another bill, sponsored by the Republicans, including  K-12 education committee chair Sen. Steve Litzow (R-41, Mercer Island) and GOP cohort, conservative state Sen. Rodney Tom (D-48, Medina), would go further and dictate not only that state testing must be in the mix, but it must make up 50 percent of three of the eight criteria for evaluating teachers.

And, in another non sequitur for addressing the problem at hand—the threat from the feds—the Republican bill would downgrade teacher seniority when schools are making human resources and personnel decisions, i.e., hiring and firing teachers.

3. Yesterday, state Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-6, Spokane), who likes to make dramatic statements, using guns, and now hammers, tweeted his defiant response to the State Supreme Court's January 9 order that the legislature submit a plan by April 30 to show how it's going to comply with the court's December 2012 McCleary decision mandating that the state fully fund K-12 education.

The court's January 9 order said the legislature's 2013-15 extra investment in K-12 was "modest" and that "it is incumbent upon the State to demonstrate, through immediate, concrete action, that it is making real and measurable progress, not simply promises."

(We crunched the numbers last August and agree that the 6.7 percent  K-12 spending increase was modest; it also relies on one-time fixes and fund transfers, defying McCleary's call for stable K-12 funding.)

Here's Sen. Baumgartner's tweet.

"Go pound sand"—a useless activity—is an early 20th century expression used in the midwest that means "get lost" or mind your own business, among other things. 


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