Education WINS in the House
This has been a big week for education in Washington. The House of Representatives voted to achieve excellence in our schools and give our 1 million kids in public schools greater opportunities to learn. The bills that we approved include:
- Teacher Shortage – Washington has a teacher shortage crisis. It’s not a problem. It’s not a dilemma. It’s a crisis. I voted for a bipartisan bill to adjust our retire/rehire policies to help get more qualified substitute teachers into our classrooms. It’s a commonsense approach, one of many being considered this session, to address a growing crisis.
- High Stakes Testing – Washington state, like many other states, requires students to take and pass high-stakes tests before they can graduate. But we’ve reached the point of over testing. I voted for a bipartisan bill to fix the state’s broken student assessment system. Students should be spending more time in the classroom learning and less time taking tests.
This week’s votes on the House floor are steps in the right direction toward reaching our goals and ensuring our education system is fully funded. Unfortunately the fate of these bills is unknown in the Senate.
The best economy in the nation? It’s the state we call home
Earlier this month Business Insider ranked the economies of all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Washington earned the highest marks.
The results were the outcome of seven measures: November 2015 unemployment rate; 2014 GDP per capita; November 2015 average weekly wages; growth rates for nonfarm payroll jobs from November 2014 to November 2015; quarterly GDP rates; house prices from 2014 to 2015; and wages over 2014-2015.
This is what the publication says makes Washington the best economy in the nation:
“Washington state scored extremely well on most of our metrics. It’s Q2 2015 annualized GDP growth rate was a stunning 8.0%, by far the highest among the states and DC. The November 2015 average weekly wage of $1,073 was the second highest in the country, and was 5.6% higher than the weekly wage in November 2014, the third highest wage growth rate.”
To see how other states fared, click here.
Visit from the Bellevue Bellebots
I wanted to share with you one of my favorite meetings so far this session. Earlier this month I was visited by the Bellevue Bellebots, an all-girl team of students from our local middle schools and high schools who are competing in the Washington FIRST Robotics competition.
The Bellebots developed a way to minimize waste and increase the efficiency of yard waste trucks with the evaporation and drainage techniques used in the design of their robot. They estimate that it would save cities about $575,000 per year in municipal waste costs—something every public official likes to hear.
Washington FIRST Robotics is part of a legislative initiative to increase students’ interest and participation in STEM – science, technology, engineering, and math. These are growing industries that provide family wage jobs. It’s great to see the program is having an impact in our community!