Category

Education

American Center for Transforming Education

Black Graduation Hats placed on open books
Black Graduation Hats placed on open books

Education System Not Getting Better, Only More Expensive

As Ben Franklin was leaving Independence Hall after the adoption of our Constitution, a lady asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got — a Republic or a Monarchy?” He replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” Read More ›

Students and Parents Badly Hurt by the Legislature

The 2019 legislature missed out on a big opportunity this year. Instead of working to reform how our schools operate, the legislature took a step backwards by undoing much of the good work that was done in response to the McCleary court ruling just two years ago. In 2017, Democrats and Republicans approved a bi-partisan school funding bill, reforming state and local property taxes to ensure that the state met its constitutional obligation to fully fund K-12 education. The law reduced inequities by capping local property taxes, so wealthy areas would not have an imbalanced benefit, by providing equitable state funding to all schools on a per-student basis. All parties, including Governor Inslee, lauded and moved forward with the agreement. Read More ›

With Learning, Take the Scenic Route!

The world’s information is literally at our fingertips every hour of the day. Getting info is as easy as pulling out that smartphone or tablet and asking a search engine for the answer. In less than a second, there it is. “How many millimeters are in an inch?” Boom, there it is. “There are 25.4 millimeters in one inch,” the virtual assistant responds. “What’s the capital of Peru?” “Lima is the capital and largest city in Peru.” Done. You are now smarter than you were a few seconds ago. Or are you? It turns out that learning is not as efficient a process as Big Tech would like it to be. The latest research in cognition shows that learning takes time, requires repetition, Read More ›

American Center for Transforming Education: Updates from Washington and Oklahoma

Discovery Institute recently launched its newest program, the American Center for Transforming Education (ACTE), to target one of the nation’s highest priority public policy objectives: improving the performance of the U.S. education system. ACTE blends a focus on increasing parental choice and empowerment with the complementary objectives of reforming certification for teachers and administrators and strengthening teacher preparation programs. ACTE’s work is rooted in the philosophy that the education of the child is a fundamental responsibility of the family. All families, regardless of socioeconomic status, should be able to access the school that they believe will best serve their children. A ZIP code should not be the determining factor in what education a child will be able to receive. In Read More ›

Education Reform Must Begin With the Legislature Says Former Seattle School Board President

This week, the Legislature begins its deliberations during this short session. The top priority will be “education” and the need to comply with the Supreme Court decisions on charter schools and funding. The charter school issue should be the easier of the two according to Don Nielsen, former Seattle School Board President and author of Every School: One Citizen’s Guide To Transforming Education. Read More ›

Tom Alberg Says Schools Need ‘Radical’ Fixes

In a Seattle Times interview, Tom Alberg — co-founder of the Seattle venture capital firm Madrona Venture Group, who also serves on the Advisory Board of Discovery Institute’s new program on education reform — cites K-12 education reform as on of the most important issues of our time, and gives his recommendations on what is necessary to fix education locally in Seattle: Q: What are issues that need to be addressed? Alberg: I think the one place that a lot of tech people are really concerned about is education, K-12 education. I mean, we should have the best public schools (in the country) and we don’t. I think we need some radical steps and my two radical steps are: Transfer Read More ›

The Customers in Public Education Are the Parents

This has been quite a month for parents of students in our state. First, our Supreme Court, on a Friday afternoon before a three-day weekend, decides our charter-school law is unconstitutional. The law was filed as an initiative, and then voters approved it. Now, after the opening of eight charter schools, we find out the initiative was unconstitutional. Frankly, this Read More ›

Former Seattle School Board President Calls Supreme Court Ruling on Charter Schools “Unconscionable”

SEATTLE, Sept. 9, 2015 Charter schools and school choice are on the edge of extinction nationwide thanks to Washington State’s Supreme Court’s ruling outlawing charter schools, according to Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Don Nielsen. The ruling was immediately deemed “as politically driven as it is overreaching and legally flawed” by The Wall Street Journal, and Nielsen, a former Seattle School Board president agrees. “Washington’s Supreme Court made a mockery of the law. Our state’s charter school law was filed with the attorney general’s office three years ago and was fully vetted both in terms of its legality and constitutionality,” said Nielsen. “Further, the attorney general’s office worded the initiative to ensure it was clear and unambiguous, then the voters approved Read More ›