We are going to have some memorable weather this week. Today we "warmed up" with a powerful front that brought heavy rain and winds gusting to 60-70 mph on the coast and 40-50 mph over some locations in the interior. Power outages hit tens of thousands of customers today, and lots of trees and branches were taken down. On the way home from the UW I saw a few bright flashes--surely due to transformer fuses blowing as lines got shorted out.
But the real excitement comes later on Thursday. There is a significant chance of snow over the lowlands, with the upper level pattern looking very much like the canonical snow configuration. (see upper level forecast below).
Temperatures are a little on the warm side, so the snow might be a tad wet, or turn to rain at sea level near the water. Yes, there is plenty of uncertainty, but folks let me assure you...this is a pattern to worry about. Here is the model snow forecast for the 24h period ending 4 AM on Friday.
The cold sticks around and there is another possible shot of snow on Sunday.
I plan on doing another NOWCASTING experiment on Thursday if the snow threat remains. That means I will try to provide very frequent updates during the day.
Mubarak-Style Democracy in Washington State
One could not help be enthralled by the democratic revolution in Egypt. How disappointing when one sees Mubarak-style anti-democratic tactics used in our own state legislature. State Legislator Sharon Santos, chair of the house education committee, is blocking a hearing on House Bill 1891, which would delay the state's adoption of the Common Core math standards. If she can block it until Thursday the bill will die.
This is a very important piece of legislation. As noted earlier, our state has just adopted new, A-rated, math standards in 2008, and spend over a hundred million dollars in its development, training, and associated textbooks. Now we are going to throw that all away for national standards that HAVE NEVER BEEN TESTED IN A SINGLE CLASSROOM and for which NO ASSESSMENTS HAVE YET TO BE CREATED. Standards that are so difficult to read that Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn was to PAY to get them rewritten. We would jerk around our teachers, producing chaos in the classroom. OSPI estimates it would cost $192 million to switch to the Common Core in math and English. This is money our state does not have. AND WHY THE RUSH anyway? This does not make any sense.
Back to Representative Santos. She is denying this bill a chance for a hearing. Is this what we expect from one of our elected representatives? Truly an embarrassment for those who believe in free discussion on critical issues.
Why is she doing this? Perhaps she believes in some theoretic advantage of national standards--even ones that are completed untested. Perhaps she believes, like so many in the education community, in the "quick fix." I do know who is pushing this--textbook publishers who stand to make hundreds of millions of dollars with such a major standards/textbook switch, the consulting and training industry, who must be licking their chops for lucrative contracts to help districts figure out the new standards and how to train teachers, and finally the lobbyists for these two industries.
But the bottom line is that her obstructionism will result in the state spending at least 192 million dollars (OSPI figures) and our kids being guinea pigs for completely untested new standards, ones rated inferior to what we have now in math.
Want more information?: check out the wheresthemath.com web site on this issue:
But lets not give up yet. Please call or email Representative Santos and Speaker of the House Frank Chopp immediately, asking them both for a hearing and their support for HB 1891.
The legislative hotline is 1.800.562.6000
Email Representatives Santos firstname.lastname@example.org and Frank Chopp email@example.com and tell them that Washingtonians don’t want democracy to be denied.