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We agree on school funding; we can agree on how to do it

Commentary | September 28, 2015 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

Ensuring every child has equal access to the ladder of opportunity, from pre-school through higher education, is the most important work of our state government. And if our elected leaders aren't up to that task, then it falls to us, the voters, to make sure it happens.

Burbank: Public school funding will pay off in the end

Commentary | September 22, 2015 | By John Burbank | Sequim Gazette

Do small classes only make sense for elementary kids? Perhaps we can take a lesson from the private school where the elite send their kids — Lakeside School in Seattle. The average class size for this middle school and high school: 16. Average class size in our public high schools: 30. Here is a lesson: If you want to neglect students, increase drop-outs and have high school be the final stop in education, then increase class size.

A new school year; same old funding woes

Commentary | September 9, 2015 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

The legislature says it supports K-12 education. But as citizens, and for the sake of our kids and our future, we should say: “Show me the money.”

State income tax would fix school funding and much more

Commentary | August 26, 2015 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

Legislative leaders think they can just muddle through and do a minimal amount to meet the paramount duty for the education of all children. They want to manage the fiscal crisis. We need to vanquish it.

How to truly commemorate Women’s Equality Day

Commentary | August 25, 2015 | By Marilyn Watkins | South Seattle Emerald

Winning the right to vote was a landmark achievement, but it was never the only goal of women activists and their male allies. And we aren’t going to get the rest of the way to equality by politely waiting around for a convenient time when it won’t interfere with corporate profits or the priorities of male leaders.

Time to get it straight on fully funding education

Commentary | August 24, 2015 | By John Burbank | Sequim Gazette

It didn’t take long before the Legislature stopped its crowing about how it funded K-12 education and admitted that it was far from the mandates of the State Supreme Court for basic education. How is that? It starts with Stephanie and Matthew McCleary, parents of two public school kids on the Olympic Peninsula.

State’s top-two primary leaving many without a voice

Commentary | August 12, 2015 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

An election with one candidate is not an election. But with Washington's "top-two primary" that's exactly what we're getting.

State Supreme Court shares in blame for lack of school funding

Commentary | July 29, 2015 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

Is the Supreme Court an impartial judge of what's good for our kids? If that is the case, then they need to look themselves in the eye as well. Because it was the actions of previous Supreme Courts that took away the best funding tool for education.

We must back taxes if we want smaller classes

Commentary | July 15, 2015 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

Last November, Washington voters passed Initiative 1351, which directed the Legislature to allocate funding for smaller K-12 class sizes, with extra class-size reductions in high-poverty schools. That was the law. But what did our Legislature do? After refusing to fund the law, they changed it.

Greater tasks ahead than just lowering a flag

Commentary | July 8, 2015 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

In our state, black citizens are six times more likely to be incarcerated and lose their right to vote than whites. The net worth of white households is thirteen times the net worth of black households. Among fourth graders, only 50 percent of low-income African Americans are reading at grade level. One-third of African Americans don't graduate from high school. So the question before us is not merely that symbol of oppression, the Confederate flag.

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