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Liv Finne's Blog

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Ken Mortland December 18, 2013 at 09:18 am
Sharon: In response to your question, here's the bio on Liv Finne from the Washington PolicyRead More Center's website. Liv Finne Director, Center for Education Email: lfinne@washingtonpolicy.org Phone: (206) 937-9691 Liv Finne is Director of WPC's Center for Education. Prior to that position she served as an adjunct scholar focusing on education policy issues, authoring in-depth studies including An Overview of Public School Funding in Washington and Early Learning Proposals in Washington State. She is the author of Washington Policy Center's Education Reform Plan: Eight Practical Ways to Improve Public Schools, Learning Online: An Assessment of Online Public Education Programs, Review of Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) Programs for Child Care Services, and more. Liv holds a law degree from Boston University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wellesley College. She retired from civil litigation practice to raise two children and work as business partner for a small business she owns with her husband. Liv is passionate about improving Washington’s public education system.
Ken Mortland December 18, 2013 at 09:25 am
Liv: "Teachers also receive significant additional pay from local taxpayers." It's niceRead More to know you acknowledge that school districts use local money to pay teachers. That is, after all, part of the concerns raised by the WA State Supreme Court in its McCleary decision. You remember, the one you said wasn't about money?
Margaret Denn December 19, 2013 at 07:00 am
I think there is more behind Liv Finne's motivation than the improvement of education in WashingtonRead More state. She is a hired mouth for a group that is, like Sharon Hodgins said, out to dismantle public education in this state. I bet she does not work for the wage that is paid to public school teachers. People seem to think that teachers are just babysitters. Babysitters make more per child than teachers. What babysitter is expected to manage and teach 27 charges at one time? Also, it has been found that a classroom teacher makes more decisions per hour than an emergency room doctor.
Ken Mortland December 16, 2013 at 08:14 pm
David: Which system do you believe the court was referring to in that quote?
Mirna Alfonso (Editor) December 18, 2013 at 02:32 pm
Ms. Finne, I want to feature your pieces but the headlines should be AP Style, that is, first letterRead More of every word (save words that are two letters or less) should be capitalized and the length should be about seven, no more than, nine words. thanks MTA
Jeanne Gustafson December 30, 2013 at 08:24 pm
I'm pretty sure that's not AP style, but Patch style MTA. Up or down style for headlines variesRead More among many respected news organizations, which all follow AP.
Sharon Hodgins December 7, 2013 at 10:30 am
I didn't read the original article that Liz was referring to. You are very right about the poorRead More funding of public schools in this state -- it has been a continuing issue, with three court cases in the last 40 years backing the state constitution and saying that yes, funding of public education is the paramount duty of the State of Washington., and our state is not meeting this obligation. We have a very poor tax system in this state, which over and over, people have tried to change. As more people shop online, sales tax revenues go down. As property values drop, taxes revenues are lower. With corporations demanding money to just stay in this state, another source of revenue is lost. The funding for just building schools relied heavily on the logging industry, which has dwindled these last 40 years -- with nothing to replace it except higher levies voters in the district can choose to support or not. Imagine trying to teach with computers in buildings that have two plugs in the classroom, such as was my first classroom in 1967; when that building was remodeled in the early 1990's 40% of the cost went into just wiring it for the new technology. My point is that taxes are never popular -- and that the average taxpayer who has seen their wages drop or stay the same for the last 40 years doesn't want to see someone else get a raise, no matter how much it may be deserved. So I can understand them being unsympathetic to higher salaried people. I always had the impression in the 41 years I taught that the public thinks of teachers like "nuns" -- it is a "calling" that demands financial sacrifice on the teacher's part. For much of the '90's, despite the then booming economy, there were no pay raises for teachers -- that is why the Washington Education Ass'n put all the effort into passing a cost-of-living raise, which has been set aside due to the crash of 2008. In the old days, women were mainly the ones who taught -- and we all know that women are often paid less than men, even today--I think that also influences why the public thinks teachers shouldn't make much money. What the public does not understand is all- the -behind-the- scenes work that a teacher does -- and today the pressure is even higher to attend classes, revise curriculum to meet the new mandates. etc etc etc --it just never stops! No longer is a four- year degree adequate -- most are constantly taking classes and many teachers have enough credits to have a PHD. To have highly qualified people in the classroom should mean an increase in pay at some point. ' But the taxpayer is the person who pays the salaries -- and if they aren't getting a raise, it is hard to give one to someone else!
Rick Asher December 8, 2013 at 06:06 pm
After reading the original article I agree with Ken's response, and I am convinced that this blog isRead More deceptive and extremely unfair. The superintendents were not complaining about their own salaries! That was not mentioned anywhere in the article.
Ken Mortland December 8, 2013 at 09:13 pm
Rick: Thanks for the support. Would appreciate your reading and coomenting, as yousee fit, onRead More further postingd by Liv Finne and the Washington Policy Center. Will be intersted to learn your reactions.
Ken Mortland November 28, 2013 at 10:03 am
Liv: I will read the full report with interest. But, I note that there is not a single citation inRead More the Policy Note, documenting the sources of the information. I wondered, "Is that common among WPC Policy Notes?" So, I looked back and found that occasionally, Policy Notes have hot links, usually to other WPC publications. I also found that a very few actually have what anyone would call a citation. I would suspect the "faithful" are prepared to take WPC's opinion as gospel. But, if you're seeking to change some minds, it might be more persuasive if the readers could see from where your information came and interpret that information for themselves. Just a thought.
Ken Mortland November 28, 2013 at 10:05 am
By way of full disclosure to those who haven't read my blog profile, I am a life long Republican andRead More a 25 year board member of Mainstream Republicans of Washington. I am also a veteran of 37 years in the classroom and 43 years as an member and officer of NSEA, WEA, & NEA.
Ken Mortland November 28, 2013 at 10:53 am
Liv: "The teachers union collects $32 million a year from public school paychecks.Read More Enforcement is based on fear. Teachers and family child care workers who oppose union membership risk losing their jobs." These statements require documentations, or they are simply unsubstantiated assertions.
Ken Mortland November 29, 2013 at 07:37 am
As far as Mayor McGinn and SEIU are concerned, the news media reported that the city withdrew itsRead More mandate that the day care providers on the matter of contract negotiations.
Ken Mortland November 26, 2013 at 08:58 am
Liv: It is interesting that you mention most of the relevant details about Creative ApproachRead More Schools except the fact that it was a mutually agreed upon endeavor through SPS and SEA collective bargaining. I wonder why you chose to ignore this fact? Article II; Section E: Creative Approach Schools: SPS and SEA agree that school staffs and communities know the needs of their students’ best. To that end, Creative Approach Schools have been created and may be designated. Designated schools are those who have developed a new, different, and creative approach that supports raising achievement and closing the achievement gap for all enrolled students in their particular school. Readers can view the entire contract or go to page 22 at the following sight” http://www.seattlewea.org/static_content/cbacert13-15.pdf
Ken Mortland November 26, 2013 at 09:14 am
Liv: You make it sound as though the court case, regarding the constitutionality of I-1240, isRead More solely the brain child of WEA. That is not the case. “The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the League of Women Voters of Washington, a nonpartisan organization that encourages the participation of citizens in government; El Centro de la Raza, a Seattle-based group dedicated to social justice; the Washington Association of School Administrators, an organization of more than 1,600 school administrators; the Washington Education Association, an organization that represents nearly 82,000 public school employees; Wayne Au, Ph.D., an educator and education advocate; Pat Braman, a former Mercer Island High School teacher and current Mercer Island School Board member; and parents with children in public schools in Snohomish and Spokane Counties. “
Ken Mortland November 26, 2013 at 09:14 am
Liv: I’m sure you’d agree that part of the function of the courts is to settleRead More legitimate disagreements among citizens over interpretation of the law and the constitution. There are seven specifics at issue in the case, regarding the constitutionality of I-1240. 1. It improperly delegates the State’s constitutional “paramount duty” to provide for the education of children within its borders to private organizations that are not subject to the requirements and standards in place to ensure that all children receive a constitutionally sufficient education. 2. It also violates the State’s paramount duty to make ample provision for the education of all children within its borders by interfering with the State’s progress toward complying with the Washington Supreme Court directive to the Legislature to fully fund basic educational programs by 2018, as set forth in the 2012 McCleary decision. 3. It unconstitutionally diverts public funds that are restricted to use for public common schools to private charter schools that are not subject to local voter control. 4. It violates the Constitution’s “general and uniform” provision because charter schools are not subject to many laws and regulations applicable to public schools, including many of the provisions defining a basic education. 5. It amends existing state law in a manner not permitted by the Constitution. 6. It violates the constitutional requirement that the superintendent of public instruction “have supervision over all matters pertaining to public schools.” 7. It violates the Constitution because it mandates the use of local voter-approved levy funds for a purpose other than the purpose for which the voters approved the levies.
Ted Devol November 10, 2013 at 06:43 pm
There were 2 topics Ken. My point is that most parents, (especially those with no one home due toRead More work), have much difficulty having kid home and them not. The union could care less about this. The union gets what they want and the parents have little say. Believe me. I had 5 go through with one still in. The gift horse comment? Boeing workers have a very good gig. Perhaps they should be thankful for their great compensation and not have their union boss tear up a contract he helped author. Other states are very very interested in getting a Boeing factory. How can this not be glaringly obvious that they can and will continue moving.
Ken Mortland November 10, 2013 at 06:58 pm
Ted: So, your concern is focused on days when kids come home or are left home with no parentalRead More supervision. 1) Understand, please, that by law, you get 180 days of school; not because of what the unions want, but because that's what WA State law provides. 2) That means mid winter vacation is already outside the 180 days, though it pushes the school year further into June with the 180 days. 3) Half days, for whatever reason, however, are a legitimate concern for you and other parents. That's a day when kids would have been in school all the school day, but aren't. 4) Snow days are outside the 180 days, as they will be made up at the end of the year and are also outside of the control of school districts and unions. I'm sure you're not going to insist that school be open on those days, as the conditions represent a serious threat to student safety. 5) Would you be willing to see pay increases for teachers to work beyond the contracted school day for parent conferences and for inservice training activities? If so, you could do away with 1/2 days and conference days.
Ted Devol November 10, 2013 at 07:10 pm
180 days to a logical business owner like me means 180 day. If my business ran like the schoolsRead More where a half day counts as a full day of production I'm done as a business. What in the world do the schools and union teachers think they can produce in a half a day. Many half days. The law says 180 days. It doesn't say 165 full days and 15 half days so that teachers don't have to work even one hour extra and not get paid. All the breaks and half days are for the union teachers, not the students and their parents.
Ken Mortland October 29, 2013 at 09:58 am
Liv: Have you done any research on these groups/organizations? I'm in the process of that now.Read More Some sound very solid and other seem more than a little sketchy. "... the full extent of the public’s pent-up interest." That's a bit much. Maybe, if it was a hundred or more. At any rate, the commission will have a lot of work to do to sift through these applications. Wonder how large the attrition rate will be from letter of intent to completing the application process. We shall see.
John Anderson October 25, 2013 at 11:12 am
"Even in a news item, you can't help editorializing." Even though the Washington PolicyRead More Center produces news releases, they are not a news organization. Rather, they are a lobbying group supported by the largest corporations. The agenda is privatization of public schools, although they are careful to proceed toward that goal in several steps.
Martha Jordan November 6, 2013 at 06:47 pm
Thank you, John, for the insightful comment about WPC. I've consistently noticed this about them.Read More Also, I helped start a charter school in another state but think they are inappropriate for WA. My children attended an exciting alternative public elementary school in Northshore District, permitted before passage of current law.
Ken Mortland November 6, 2013 at 07:54 pm
Martha: Northshore School District, eh? That's really cool. Worked there for 37 years. GrandRead More bunch of people.
Margaret Denn October 3, 2013 at 11:29 am
It is a bit premature to find fault with the funding for the charter schools in Washington state. IRead More think that Governor Inslee and whoever else is responsible for setting funding formulas for charter schools will be fair to them. A law was passed to allow them occur, so it would be unacceptable to treat them unfairly.
Margaret Denn September 24, 2013 at 08:50 am
So biased. Do you really believe what you are advocating or are you paid to front for a group thatRead More is out to dismantle public education in the state? My biggest gripe with charter schools is that they won't have to meet the same standards as public schools. Charter schools in other places have not done better at educating our children than the public schools.
dexterjibs September 27, 2013 at 09:57 pm
Margaret, you are so close minded and biased. My biggest gripe with public schools is theRead More progressive agenda that has taken over the curriculum. Revise the history of the United States and make it appear that the US is the most racist, sexist, bigoted and homphobic country in the history of the world. And, after 40 years of this progressive agenda, the result you get is the Occupy Wall Street mentality and the entitlement, the world owes me mentality. Public schools don't educate, they indoctrinate. All the while, the teachers union demands to be paid more for their useful idiot roles in destroying this country.
Ken Mortland September 17, 2013 at 08:55 am
Liv: How long has Rainier Beach had this "privilege"? Sounds like it was just put intoRead More effect. How many perspective teachers has Rainier Beach "rejected" so far? During what time frame did Rainier Beach's test scores improve?
employee September 12, 2013 at 07:20 pm
I hope that each and every one of these people "Superintendent Dr. Shelley Redinger, schoolRead More board members, and the team that worked on and wrote the top-flight application for charter school authority, just approved by the State Board of Education." Accept resonsiblity when the school system is driven in to the dirt by corporate greed and mismanagement. I hope it works, but its not a good bet
Ken Mortland September 12, 2013 at 08:46 am
Thanks for that burst of positive support for the efforts of educators, Liv. Your Kind word areRead More appreciated. Am curious, however, about your dissatisfaction with WASL and No Child Left Behind. The former produced significant inprovement in test score data and the latter was the effort of a conservative Republican president. Makes it had to sort out the reasons for your concerns. I know you woudn't denegrate the work of all public educators and officials simply to improve the appearance of your own proposals. That would be harsh and not particularly professional. And I know, that's just not you.
Margaret Denn September 12, 2013 at 10:02 am
When SB 5328 died in the House, it was not Governor Inslee's fault. The House sat on its handsRead More throughout the regular legislative session and the overtime. Only if Governor Inslee had refused to sign the bill into law could he be blamed for it not being implemented. Washington state has one of the best public school systems in the nation and has it in spite of extremely low funding for education. Washington's teachers work long hard hours, many of those hours uncompensated, to provide top quality education to Washington's students. Washington Policy Center for Education wants to do away with public education and, instead, privatize the schools so that the children will be guided along a politically conservative path.
employee September 12, 2013 at 07:30 pm
Hey Liv, do you have any original thoughts? Are you an employee, or payed in any way byRead More washingtonpolicy.org? I am getting the impression that you are a talking head for this right wing, tea party organization. What community do you live in? How many kids do you have? How long have you lived here? I just dont think you are very real.
Governor Scott Walker receiving WPC's 2013 Columbia Award
Kendall Watson September 10, 2013 at 04:00 pm
Thanks for posting, Liv.
Margaret Denn September 12, 2013 at 10:06 am
Obviously, Washington Policy Center advocates the demise of the WEA in Washington state. Why elseRead More bring Scott Walker in from Wisconsin? Boo!
dexterjibs September 27, 2013 at 11:49 pm
I would support the demise of the WEA in Washington. The WEA has done nothing to further theRead More education of kids in this State.
dexterjibs September 11, 2013 at 11:49 pm
Oh please Kendall, you have made plenty of comments on different stories that tell blind and deafRead More people what politcal slant you hold.
dexterjibs September 12, 2013 at 12:02 am
you know Kendall, it is journalists like you that have ruined print and mainstream media newsRead More outlets. You claim to be "above the fray" and "neutral" and "just presenting the facts" while putting your own left wing slant on it. You don't have the guts to admit you are a liberal and have an opinion that you want to impress upon people. So, even though i am an adult, I will say LOL Kendall (when will adults stop trying to be like friggin teenagers and stop using LOL and OMG?).
Kendall Watson September 12, 2013 at 06:36 am
I've said many times in many different places on Patch that I consider myself non-partisan with aRead More Libertarian streak. I'd refer you to my profile, but you've probably already read that and dismissed that as bunk, too. As much as I'd enjoy a personal sniping back-and-forth on how I've "ruined print and mainstream media" — without a shred of evidence, I'll just let that comment wither and die the miserable death that it deserves. Oh, and I also freely communicate with emoticons, too x-D Does that make your day? Best Wishes, Kendall
Dane Ferrell September 7, 2013 at 10:25 am
I worked in the private sector and worked a 7 hour day, so don't try to word this clip as ifRead More teachers have it so great, because they don't, they earn every one of the benefits they are getting.
Ken Mortland September 8, 2013 at 08:42 am
Liv:: What proportion of the enumerated contract provisions in your report are on-going and not newRead More to this contract. I think I can establish the point at which you changed from new provisions to continuing provisions, but i'm not sure.
Barbara de Michele September 4, 2013 at 04:15 pm
Liv, do you really believe that teachers ONLY work 7.5 hours a day or ten months a year? ThoseRead More clock hours don't reflect the hours of planning and paper correction on evenings and weekends. When I was teaching, I spent the summer preparing lesson plans for the coming year, and most teachers are obligated to advanced college classes (properly so) that they pay for out of their own salaries. High school teachers, especially but not exclusively, are expected to attend student sports, concerts and plays without compensation. It's a calling, not a "job" or "work." Comparing teachers salaries to the salaries paid to "most" workers is a straw man argument. Most workers don't require five years of education before starting work and continuing education over the lifetime of their job. Most workers don't have to deal daily with extremely sensitive and confidential family matters. Most workers don't have to recognize and report the signs of child abuse, child neglect, and a host of self-destructive behaviors. Most workers don't have to calibrate their instructional plans for students who speak little or no English, for learning disabled students, or for students who need extra academic challenge. And most workers aren't responsible for nurturing, shaping and supporting hundreds -- and thousands over a thirty-year career -- of tomorrow's leaders. Finally, let me remind you that every school shooting in this country has involved a teacher hero. Many teachers have given their lives protecting their students in the worst circumstances imaginable. In my opinion, it would be impossible to pay teachers enough to compensate for their service to this country.
Kendall Watson August 30, 2013 at 11:55 am
Hi Liv, I found your blog post enlightening and informative — especially in light of aRead More possible teacher's strike — but felt it important to note several caveats. Using Table 19 for 2012-2013, Seattle teachers total annual compensation is actually in the top 3-4 percent. Not sure how the school board director mentioned is getting the "1%" number. Mercer Island, FWIW, is in the top 10 percent with average total compensation of $85,899, while Issaquah and Lake Washington SDs are slightly above the state's school district average of $76,400 ($76,600 & $77,600, respectively). Might also be important to note that this is averaging pay from some teachers that are on multiple contacts into this number (i.e. football, track, swim coaches, ect.). I also thought it was confusing to state the WA median household income in the sentence immediately following what the total compensation package value is for Seattle teachers. That isn't an apples-to-apples comparison. It seemed to me that it would have been better if the Seattle teacher average pay of $69,590 (I'd also posit the average is higher than median teacher pay) followed the WA median household income of $56,000, and the $90K figure was left to the next paragraph. A state median vs average teacher salary comparison is not apples-to-apples either, but probably a more useful comparison. Kind Regards, Kendall Watson, Editor, Mercer Island Patch & Sammamish-Issaquah Patch
dexterjibs August 28, 2013 at 10:55 pm
I never understood why school districts and prosecutors never went after teachers unions forRead More striking. Teachers strikes are illegal but the citizens, prosecutors, judges and law makers never had the guts to go after the teachers unions even though the teachers unions are hurting the kids by going out on strike (which is illegal). Whenever a teachers union says they are going out on strike "for the kids", they are lying. They are going on strike to benefit themselves.
employee September 12, 2013 at 06:21 pm
It would be great, in your eyes, dexter jibs, if all contracts for longshoremen where to be theRead More same as teachers? I am sure a tea party guy like you would be happy to take a pay and benefit cut to show your support for the far right wing of the rethuglican party. Just notifiy your shop steward, and enjoy the support.
dexterjibs September 15, 2013 at 03:19 pm
It wouldn't matter to me, employee. I am confident enough in my abilities that I know I could doRead More something else if the pay is too low. Maybe I would become a teacher, who knows. Plus, I have enough confidence in free enterprise and market forces, I know it would work out in the end. Nice try though.
dexterjibs September 27, 2013 at 10:00 pm
employee, the big difference between longshore and teachers is that longshore are demading the moneyRead More from a private company, not tax payers. So, you are comparing apples to oranges. That being said, I still believe the market place should be allowed to rule at the end of the day.
Ken Mortland August 17, 2013 at 09:47 am
Liv: It's refreshing to find something in which we are in general agreement. Washington state'sRead More new teacher/principal evaluation protocols, which go into effect this next school year, are the result of three different laws, passed over a four year period. The result will be light years ahead of what was being done, though it will surely have a couple of years of learning, training, and trouble shooting to go through. And, yes, the feds should butt out.
Ken Mortland August 2, 2013 at 02:55 pm
DDane: Yes, I am a retired social studies teacher who taught civics, among other things. I am aRead More conservative, though Ms. Finne and the Washington Policy Center folks wouldn't necessarily agree. And Holly is wrong about the "Separation Clause". There is no such clause in the US Constitution. And that was all I was pointing out. I made no comment about anything else she said.
Edward A. August 2, 2013 at 05:17 pm
Well, he also said, infamously, during the enormous housing and lending bubble, in 2005 thatRead More "... The stability of the economy is greater than it has ever been in our history, we really are in remarkably good shape. It's amazing that people go around and write stories about how bad the economy is, how it's in trouble..." I wouldn't place too much weight on his opinions about the value of free market economy in addressing social problems.
R Jaffe August 3, 2013 at 10:37 am
The same people who most strongly advocate for the illusion of a free market tend to be the sameRead More people who most ardently lobby for free meals at taxpayer expense. Read David Cay Johnston's book "Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You with the Bill)" for a detailed report.
Austin Cooper July 31, 2013 at 11:02 am
Ken, again, I'd direct you straight back to the state board of education's website where theyRead More explain their methodology. I'd also like to note that the A category is disproportionately large also. If we had an index where each category was 1.2 points, Federal Way would all of a sudden have zero A/Exemplary schools. So again, this index is very generous to underperforming schools, both in the scale of its index and in the controls it has in place for rewarding schools who serve low income student bodies. All of your arguments involve some false perception that variables aren't being controlled for and that the index makes the situation look worse than it really is, when in fact most alternatives to this index would paint an even worse picture of school performance.
Ken Mortland July 31, 2013 at 11:33 am
Austin: So, you acknowledge that the picture being painted had something to do with the structureRead More of the index. Frankly, I find that troubling. Whatever picture the index portrays should be accurate and not subject to the perception or perspective someone wishes to present. If that makes a school or district look bad, at least it would be accurate. I presume that has something to do with why Ms. Finne objected to altering the focus of the index toward student growth. A basic concern with which I agree.
Austin Cooper July 31, 2013 at 04:09 pm
Of course the structure of an index determines the outcome. The challenge is to create a structureRead More that treats schools fairly and reflects reality. That's what this index does.
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