Waiver left behind, wage phasers, postal protests, TLC…

Friday, April 25, 2014




► In today’s (Everett) Herald — State loses waiver to No Child Left Behind Act — U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has revoked the state’s waiver to the No Child Left Behind Act, a decision expected ever since lawmakers refused the federal agency’s demand to change how Washington teachers are evaluated. Washington becomes the first state in the country to lose the waiver that exempted schools from rigorous — and, in the eyes of educators, onerous — requirements of the Bush-era legislation.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Loss of No Child Left Behind waiver means schools will be labeled ‘failing’ — Washington’s loss of a waiver to the No Child Left Behind law means many schools will be labeled as failing and districts will lose control of how they spend a portion of federal funding aimed at helping disadvantaged children with math and reading.

ALSO see local coverage in the Bellingham Herald, Spokesman-Review and Tri-City Herald, plus reactions from Sen. Patty Murray and Gov. Jay Inslee.

But the best MUST-READ response was…

► At HouseDemocrats.wa.gov — Statement from Rep. Chris Reykdal regarding the NCLB waiver loss — The bipartisan rejection of this federal government demand during the 2014 legislative session is a strong and unifying message that our state fully embraces our constitutional 10th Amendment guarantee to develop, fund, and administer our state’s education system as the citizens of the state of Washington and their elected representatives determine, not as federal officials deem it appropriate… I strongly encourage federal officials to use this moment in history to model Washington State’s success instead of using us as an example of federal government power and leverage. I challenge the federal government to turn a corner on education reform, fix the deeply-flawed and failed No Child Left Behind Act, and get back to empowering the states instead of coercing them.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — McMorris Rodgers says ACA likely to stay — With the news this week that more than 600,000 Washington residents have acquired new health care plans through the state exchange, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said it’s unlikely the Affordable Care Act will be repealed.

► In today’s NY Times — Oregon panel recommends switch to federal health exchange — State officials concluded that it would be much less expensive to use the federal site, HealthCare.gov, than to repair the one built specially for the state, Cover Oregon. The first option would cost $4 million to $6 million, while the second would cost $78 million, state officials said.

► In today’s Yakima H-R — State supporters of Nevada rancher respond to recent ‘slaves’ remarks — State Reps. David Taylor (R-Moxee) and Matt Shea (R-Spokane Valley), who traveled to Nevada to support Clive Bundy two weeks ago, have condemned the rancher’s racist comments but both had questions about the context in which the comments were made.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Here’s what this law-breaking nutbag rancher said.

(Negroes) abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy?

Umm… do you give a $%#@ what the context was? Maybe Reps. Taylor and Shea should watch this excellent report by Rachel Maddow that traces the roots of Clive Bundy and his supporters’ radical and dangerous philosophy directly to its racist origins in the post-Civil War South and to Ruby Ridge and to the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. Then, maybe, these Washington State Representatives won’t rush out for a photo op with the next Fox News celebrity nutbag whose anti-government rhetoric so closely mirrors their own. Maybe…





► In today’s Seattle Times — Mayor says minimum-wage agreement will take more time — Instead of presenting his own plan for raising the city’s minimum wage as expected, Mayor Ed Murray said he was holding out hope that his income-inequality committee could still reach a consensus on several contentious issues by Friday. He suggested that labor and business leaders were trying to get their memberships on board with a compromise proposal.

► In today’s PSBJ — Murray says income committee backs phased-in $15 an hour wage — Seattle Mayor Ed Murray on Thursday outlined the principles that a small majority of business and labor representatives on his income inequality committee have agreed to with regard to raising the minimum wage.

► In today’s NY Times — How to kill the minimum wage movement (by Timothy Egan) — Seattle officials are trying to decide whether an entire city can raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour without killing a robust economy, the social service agencies, and the numerous immigrant and family businesses that pump new blood into old places. All the evidence shows that, yes, they can — but only if they do it right, and do it gradually over many years. If they rush into it, as the “15 Now” zealots favor, they could hurt the burgeoning raise-the-minimum-wage movement around the country and deprive Democrats of a great voter stimulant for the midterm elections.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Apart from Seattle’s minimum-wage debate, America needs a pay raise (by Lance Dickie) — Increasing the minimum wage needs to be a national discussion. Involve Congress, and make it a campaign issue for 2014. The fight is bigger than Seattle. Broaden the discussion, expand the political turf and increase the beneficiaries.




► At Slog — Contrary to dire business predictions, paid sick leave is great for Seattle — University of Washington economist Jennifer Romich presented an audit of the city’s paid sick leave ordinance to the Seattle City Council this week. Her findings boil down to this: it’s an excellent program, with room to grow. “Costs to employers and impact on businesses are very modest and smaller than anticipated,” Romich says in her presentation. “Many employers support the Ordinance” — 70 percent of them, in fact — “and workers view it as helpful.” Says Seattle city council member Nick Licata: “The study shows that… the apocalypse did not happen. Businesses have in fact prospered and grown, faster than in surrounding cities that do not have paid sick leave.”

► In today’s Seattle Times — First cuts to Metro Transit spread all over Seattle area — Fewer rush-hour buses would show up, and some suburban riders would lose night trips, in the first wave of proposed King County Metro Transit budget cuts… Some are urging the county to lean harder on its drivers, mechanics and other workers in talks with ATU Local 587. The county and union are in mediation, after workers balked at a contract offer last fall. The ballot defeat could crimp the supply of funds for pay and benefits.




► From AP — Postal unions protest at Staples — Postal workers in cities big and small protested in front of Staples stores Thursday, objecting to the U.S. Postal Service’s pilot program to open counters in stores, staffed with retail employees. Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union representing 200,000 employees, called the Staples partnership “a dirty deal… It represents a shift of good, living-wage jobs to low-wage jobs.”

► In today’s NY Times — NLRB to review Northwestern football case — The full board’s decision to consider the case, which was expected and could have tremendous implications for college sports, came on the eve of a vote by the Northwestern football team on whether to certify a players’ union. The ballots from Friday’s vote will be impounded until the board issues a decision.

► At Huffington Post — Obama faces growing rebellion against Secure Communities deportation program — Last week, Philadelphia’s mayor committed the latest act of rebellion against the euphemistically-titled Secure Communities, a federally-run program launched in 2008 that allows U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to find and pick up immigrants it will eventually deport.

► In today’s NY Times — Tech giants settle antitrust hiring suit — Four of the largest technology companies tentatively settled on Thursday a class action brought by 64,000 of their engineers, who accused them of agreeing not to solicit one another’s employees. The amount of the settlement was not released, but people with knowledge of the deal said it was in the neighborhood of $300 million.

► At Think Progress — Student debt nearly tripled over last decade — Using a new dataset on various types of household debt, including student loans, research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that total outstanding educational debt nearly tripled from 2004 to 2012, growing from $364 billion to $966 billion. The total rose by 14 percent each year on average.

► In the Dallas Morning News — Big pilot shortage hits regional carriers — A study projects that the four largest U.S. carriers — American, United, Delta and Southwest — will need 14,000 pilots by 2022 just to replace pilots hitting the mandatory retirement age of 65.




► What’s the best-selling American girl group in history? It’s not The Supremes. It’s not Destiny’s Child (with Beyonce). It’s TLC, featuring singers Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas and rapper Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes. The group’s biggest hit, the Organized Noize-produced “Waterfalls,” was written by Lopes who borrowed its central metaphor and some of its lyrics from a song of the same title by Sir Paul McCartney that was released 15 years prior. The song’s socially conscious lyrics dealt with drug violence and AIDS/safe sex. On this day 12 years ago, Lopes was killed in a car accident in the Honduras at the age of 30. R.I.P., Left Eye.


(Among the backup singers on this song was Cee-Lo Green, then of the Goodie Mob.)


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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