At a time when passage of a transportation package is critical to relieve congestion and remedy a huge state highway maintenance backlog, and the DOT’s management has been called into question by a stuck tunneling machine, the last thing the agency needs is another black eye. Yet the National Transportation Safety Board finds that state highway officials demonstrated a chilling obliviousness to danger.
Washington state won’t get a pass this summer on telling parents that their kids attend failing schools, the federal government says. State Superintendent Randy Dorn said Monday it is unclear right now exactly how many schools will have to send letters home to parents, but that it will be “a majority” of schools in Washington. State officials will know for sure after they review test results that will come out in August, he said.
When it comes to negotiations with public-employee unions, many states — including Oregon — require some openness in the negotiations. In Florida, for example, the bargaining is open, but strategy sessions involving just one side are closed. This makes sense as part of the art of negotiating process; but when both sides are meeting and discussing how to spend millions of taxpayer dollars, the people holding the pocketbook should be included.
One recommendation in last year’s Washington Roundtable report: The K-12 school system should enhance student interest in STEM subjects. Schools across the state have taken up the challenge. The report says that STEM workers in the greater Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area average $79,490. That compares with non-STEM workers at $45,072.
Lawmakers grilled officials from Washington’s Health Benefit Exchange Thursday, making it clear they’ve heard plenty from constituents who say they’ve paid their premiums but still don’t have health coverage — in most cases because premiums, which they paid to the exchange, aren’t getting to the insurer. The lawmakers’ tales of patient woe were backed up by brokers, a representative of the state’s doctors and Len Sorrin, representing Premera Blue Cross.