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Articles written by Liv Finne

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  • State Board of Education pushes for more charter schools and calls for equitable funding

    Liv Finne, Washington Policy Center|May 16, 2024

    The State Board of Education (SBE) just published its seventh Annual Report on the performance of Washington’s 18 charter public schools. These innovative community-based schools serve a total of about 4,800 students. As in past years, the State Board finds that children who attend a charter public school receive an education that is as good or better than the one provided at most traditional public schools. Charter schools are popular. Many parents regard them as the best option for their children. Most charters have waiting lists, and attenda...

  • In a sign of distrust, voters reject two-out-of-three local school bond proposals

    Liv Finne, Washington Policy Center|Mar 14, 2024

    In the latest sign of declining public confidence in the education system, voters in February turned down two-thirds of proposed local school bond measures, rejecting 14 out of 21 proposals. The failed bonds range from $34 million in the Hood Canal School District to $242 million in the North Kitsap School District. School construction bonds impose long term debt on homeowners for 25 to 30 years. The bonds are structures as public debt, so brokers add millions of dollars in interest and fees to...

  • Expand school choice

    Liv Finne, Washington Policy Center|Dec 14, 2023

    School choice programs give families between $4,000 and $8,000 per student to cover the cost of private education. These programs provide families public assistance to select a private school if their zip-code assigned public school is not a good fit for their child. In the last two years, school choice has exploded across the United States. In 2019, private school choice programs in the U.S. served only 500,000 students, less than 1% of the nation’s school children. Today, 20 million s...

  • Governor Inslee is right to support individual tutoring to help students make up for COVID learning loss

    Liv Finne, Washington Policy Center|Sep 28, 2023

    Earlier this year Senator John Braun (R-Centralia) introduced SB 5248 to provide funding for individual tutoring to help students recover from the learning losses resulting from the COVID school shutdowns. The Democratic leadership included his bill in the state budget (as Section 1517(47)(o)), passed it on a bi-partisan vote and sent it to the governor. The Braun provision provides $27 million in state funds and $97 million in federal funds for individual student tutoring. In researching the...

  • As parents flee controversial public schools, private school enrollment jumps by 25 percent in Washington state

    Liv Finne, Director Center for Education, Washington Policy Center|Aug 3, 2023

    New data reported by the State Board of Education reveals that private school enrollment in Washington state has jumped by 25 percent in three years. In 2019-20, total K-12 private school enrollment was 65,270 students. In 2022-23, this number rose to 81,434 students, an increase of 25 percent. The number of homeschooled students has also grown, from 20,844 in 2019-20 to 29,798 in 2022-23, an increase of 42 percent. Over 110,000 parents in Washington state have decided that enrolling in...

  • School choice is on the rise

    Liv Finne, Center for Education Director, Washington Policy Center|Jul 6, 2023

    School choice is on the rise across the nation. Pennsylvania governor Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, just announced his support for Lifeline scholarships, a state voucher program that will allow students to use public funds to attend a private school of their choice. If enacted, his bill will help families assigned by local officials to the lowest-performing public schools because these families will be able to choose a better alternative for their children. Governor Shapiro’s bold initiative is the...

  • Segregation by skin color is illegal

    Liv Finne, Director for the Center for Education at the Washington Policy Center|Apr 20, 2023

    Last week, a parents group filed a complaint against Pathfinder K-8 Public School in Seattle for racial discrimination. The civil rights group filed a complaint on April 11 with the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education against principal Britney Holmes and the Seattle School District for discriminating against white students at the elementary school. The complaint presents evidence that Principal Holmes issued invitations to black and "multi-racial" children to attend an...

  • Inslee's decision to close schools for COVID-19 caused harm

    Liv Finne, Washington Policy Center|Aug 25, 2022

    Gov. Jay Inslee responded to the national COVID-19 health crisis by closing the public schools in Washington state to in-person instruction from March 2020 to September 2021 and allowing them to reopen sporadically the fall of 2021. The governor also mandated the use of masks and other face coverings and implemented social distancing rules in daycares and schools from March 2020 to March 2022. We are now learning that two years of these strict policies have imposed long-term harm on the 1.1...

  • Inslee funding unnecessary union jobs

    Liv Finne|Sep 10, 2020

    Most schools in Washington state will remain closed this fall. Some school districts are tightening their belts in anticipation of the COVID-19 budget cuts that are coming. But last week Gov. Jay Inslee bypassed the Legislature and the decisions of local school districts to protect the jobs of unionized school bus drivers. He’s made sure money will keep flowing for school buses that are not carrying school children. Here is the background on his action: In early August, the school districts o...