BOO: Failing school letters
Later next week, Thurston County school districts will send letters to parents of students telling them that their school is failing because not every child passed math or reading tests. What the letters will not say is that because state Democratic lawmakers gave in to pressure from the teacher’s union, state schools will lose control over about $40 million a year in federal Title I funding for students from low-income families.
All the Legislature had to do was change one word in state law, from “may” use statewide test data in teacher evaluations, to “shall.” There was no requirement to how much weight the data was given. It could have been next to nothing, but it just had to be there.
Shame on the Democrats who failed to do the right thing for kids.
YAY: Aging athletically
Congratulations to the more than 2,000 senior citizens who participated in the 2014 Washington state Senior Games over the weekend. Approximately 76 percent of participants come from outside Thurston County. Organizers estimate the economic benefit to our region at $500,000. But the real benefit is gained by the athletes who know that staying active enhances a person’s sense of wellness.
YAY: To berries
Blueberries in particular. We are blessed to live in an area where they are abundant and delicious, and this is a banner year. Near Rochester, Black River Blues has 100 acres of blueberries, and boasts of being the oldest commercial blueberry farm in the state, with some bushes planted by Herbert Drew in the 1930s. They have great U-pick fields; you can find them at blackriverblues.com
YAY: Bob “Lakefair” Barnes
Bob Barnes has played a key role in Olympia’s iconic Capital Lakefair summer celebration since 1978. He’s seen the festival through its heydays when water events took place in Capitol Lake and through some recent difficult financial periods. Thanks Bob, for 36 wonderful years.
A giant boo to anti-immigrant protesters who greet busloads of immigrant children from Central America with jeers and, in Vassar, Michigan, semi-automatic rifles and handguns. That’s just the kind of terror these kids were fleeing. Ditto for the xenophobes who claim the “invasion” of poor, scared kids will let loose terrible epidemics. So far, there’s been one case of flu and some head lice.
But perhaps the anti-immigrant zealots are thinking of the devastating smallpox epidemic that their undocumented European ancestors visited upon Native Americans.
After performing brain surgery on a 50-year-old German rocker who suffered bleeding in his brain following an overly enthusiastic headbanging session at a heavy metal concert, the doctor said, “If (the patient had attended) a classical concert this would not have happened.”
NOTE: To pot smokers
Passage of Initiative 502 that legalized possession of an ounce of marijuana for adults and established a production and retail industry in the state did not give you the right to smoke pot in public. Notwithstanding the hempfest festival that occurred in Olympia this weekend and similar events in other cities, the law only permits smoking in private residences. And city streets don’t qualify.