A burst of activity late last week brought from 23 to 28 the number of proposed Washington charter schools for which operators say they intend to seek state approval, but they’ll be competing for just eight new openings per year starting this fall. Now filed are notices of intent to apply by November 22, with the first eight winners to be picked in late February by Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s Charter School Commission. We’ve integrated key data from the 28 notices of intent into an Excel spreadsheet which accents a diverse range of actors intending to shake up Washington K-12 public education and model new paths to academic success.
Collaboration in Civic Spheres
Archive for October, 2013
by Matt Rosenberg October 25th, 2013
A first-time ever comparison of academic achievement between U.S. states and foreign countries – focused on eighth grade math and science mastery – shows Washington’s rankings are above average globally and nationally but still have a long way to go. Released just this week, the report “U.S. States in a Global Context” from the U.S. government’s Center for Education Statistics shows that Washington eighth-graders on average ranked behind 15 other states in math results and also that their predicted offshore rankings lagged seven of the 47 foreign nations or foreign subdivisions included in study results. The Evergreen state was also bested in average science scores by 21 other U.S. states as well as in predicted global standings by Taipei, South Korea, Japan, Finland, Alberta, the Russian Federation, Slovenia, and Singapore.
by Matt Rosenberg October 21st, 2013
A 120-bed retirement home and assisted living facility in Seattle’s Central District named Cannon House is now dealing with its fifth state enforcement action this year for substandard care of paying residents. Operated since 2009 by the major regional health and social services non-profit Sea Mar, Cannon House was fined $9,200 in September by the Washington Department of Social and Health Services for 92 different patient care violations and earlier this year barred from admitting new residents until it straightens things out. Its administrator was ordered by the state to either retake training classes or hire a management mentor to help improve performance. The state also required Cannon House to hire a registered nurse to develop and implement a plan to better monitor resident health and ensure appropriate medication, care and planning are provided.
by Matt Rosenberg October 20th, 2013
It can be hard to know if you’re selecting the right assisted living facility for yourself or an aging relative or friend. A facility’s history may include failure to implement prescription drug regimens or individual medical care plans of residents; lax safety, sanitation, or health conditions; or even risk of financial fraud against residents. For Washingtonians though, choices are made easier thanks to a free online database provided by the state. The Assisted Living Facility Locator allows consumers to delve into public records of state enforcement actions for violations of proper care standards, and to see who’s clean as a whistle and who’s not, enforcement-wise. It includes facilities not listed in the helpful federal site Nursing Home Compare, which is limited only to those participating in Medicare and Medicaid.
by Matt Rosenberg October 8th, 2013
Port of Seattle Sea-Tac Airport concession operator HMS Host owes the port $635,704 in unpaid fees, interest and a late fee, according to a recently released port internal audit. The problem arose because HMS Host subtenants The Great American Bagel Bakery and Diva Espresso were misclassified as “branded food” concessionaires who get a discount of about two percent in the share of revenues they must fork over to the airport for the privilege of operating there. Port managers of airport concessions and business development said in the audit they hadn’t been aware of the current problem. But they added they’d seek “appropriate” recovery of funds owed by HMS Host, and would keep closer tabs on branded food sales by concessionaires and related rates of concession payments to the port.
by Matt Rosenberg October 7th, 2013
The charged public debate over yet another U.S. debt ceiling lift is just the tip of the iceberg. Today’s tussles over near-term U.S. borrowing capacity only foreshadow deeper federal fiscal challenges. A recent report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office stressed that federal debt has worsened greatly since fiscal year-end 2008, and absent bold intervention will jump dramatically as health care and other entitlements continue to escalate, and new costs grow from U.S. health care exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. “That trajectory for federal debt would ultimately be unsustainable,” CBO says.
The CBO report says, “Federal debt held by the public stood at 39 percent of GDP at the end of 2008, close to its average of the preceding several decades. Since then, large deficits have caused debt held by the public to grow sharply – to a projected 73 percent of GDP by the end of 2013. Debt has exceeded 70 percent of GDP during only one other period in U.S. history: from 1944 through 1950, when it spiked because of a surge in federal spending during World War II….”
by Matt Rosenberg October 2nd, 2013
There’s not yet any evidence the City of Seattle’s Family Support Program for at-risk students in Seattle Public Schools is improving academic outcomes, and changes in the program’s focus, worker training and performance metrics appear necessary, say University of Washington researchers who recently published their findings in the journal Advances in School Mental Health Promotion.
by Matt Rosenberg October 1st, 2013
The U.S. government today is shut down due to a Congressional budget impasse on continued funding in the new fiscal year but of 34 very public-facing agencies or programs listed in a special update from USA.gov, 18 are still open, nine more are partially open and seven are closed. Shuttered are national parks and landmarks, the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., presidential libraries, the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution. Loans by the Small Business Administration aren’t being processed, nor are new home loan guarantees by the Federal Housing Administration,
Open for Business
Still operating during the shutdown are food stamps (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program); federal grants to states for low-income women, infants and children; the Federal Aviation Administration including air traffic controllers; the Transportation Security Administration and Federal Air Marshall Service; State Department travel warnings; border patrol and cargo security; citizenship and immigration services; immigration enforcement; the Coast Guard; the Federal Emergency Management Agency; federal courts; the Federal Reserve; meat and poultry inspections; FAFSA student loan processing; the Health Insurance Marketplace; mail and postal service; the patent and trademark office; and the National Weather Service.
Partly or Mostly Open
Limited personnel are on duty at the U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency. Updated U.S. government job information will continue to be posted online but some applications may be slowed. Medicare and Medicaid benefits will continue to be paid but “could be affected in the event of an extended shutdown.” Medical care for veterans goes on but some benefit programs “may be affected.”
The military is still in operation but Department of Defense civilian employees deemed non-essential are not reporting to work. Clinical trials already in progress at the National Institutes of Health continue but new trials aren’t being initiated and new patients are not being accepted at NIH’s clinical center. Expedited passport orders are being fulfilled but new passport applications are not.
RELATED: “Affordable Care Act and the Appropriations Process,” U.S. Congressional Research Service, 9/27/13.