Skip to main content

Discussing Issues That Shape Our Future

Our club never takes sides but our speakers do


The Columbia Basin Badger Club is an exciting and vibrant organization dedicated to civil discourse

of the important topics of the day.  We pride ourselves in being non-partisan.  Our club never takes sides, but our speakers do, and the result is often a lively discussion that improves our understanding of the world around us.


Speakers at our monthly forums have spanned a wide range of ideas and opinions that have included legalization of marijuana, same sex marriage, and the proposals to remove the lower Snake River dams to name just a few. 

And our lineup of topics for 2015 promises to be just as stimulating and enlightening.

 Videos of Past Forums



And part of what makes this club so special is that members ask questions directly of our speakers and

can expect direct answers and a better understanding of the issue.

All our forums are open to the public and we invite everyone to join and share in the benefits that the club provides.  The name Columbia Basin Badger Club reflects our tenacity to seek out clear information, yet we maintain a sense of humor and civility as we tackle the tough issues that are before us.

If this makes sense to you then you are just the person that the Badger Club is seeking. 

We invite you to join us. 

Sign up at:

 Membership Application


Next Meeting:

Tickets: Register

Charter Schools – Hope or Hype


  When: Thursday May 19th, 2016 

Where: 11:30am Richland Shilo Inn


or                                       Email 
or                                       Call our message phone at 628-6011

Cancellation Deadline:    Noon on Tuesday, May 16th;

Cost:                                 Member $20, Non-Members $25, Day of Event $30


Tickets: Register


In 2012 voters passed an initiative allowing charter schools in Washington State. A new state agency, the Washington Charter School Commission was created, composed of nine political appointees, also the schools cannot charge tuition.  They must follow practices developed by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation and the Robertson Foundation


Charter schools are popular because they are thought to provide access to a quality education to children living in communities that are underserved by traditional public schools


The pros and cons will be discussed to understand charter school benefits and impacts to local communities. Also discussed will be public school districts requirements to follow rules and regulations that Charters schools are not due to their smaller sizes. 

 Mathew Polk


"With a decade of experience teaching in public schools, Matthew Polk leads the Mariachi and Classical Guitar Program at Pasco High School. Matthew’s work has been featured in numerous publications and he is a frequent lecturer and consultant regarding his advocacy for academically and culturally relevant music education. Matthew has represented the Northwest region of NAfME on the National Guitar Council for the past five years where he helped develop the first national standards for guitar education and he was part of the planning and curriculum team for Pasco's first STEM school. Matthew’s great passion is ensuring equitable opportunities in education for young people, which led to him being recognized by the Washington Education Association with the 2015 Human and Civil Rights Award. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Music from Eastern Oregon University, majored in Elementary Education for his Masters at Heritage University, and is currently a Doctoral Candidate at Northeastern University where his research focuses on developing creativity and innovation through social entrepreneurship."


Katie Christianson

Katie Christianson is a community activist, business owner, and educator in Walla Walla, Washington. Katie founded Safe Travels Alliance, a collaborative effort between the city of Walla Walla, the public school district, parents, and other agencies to improve safety for children walking to and from school.  She has volunteered extensively with the local school district, including chairing a successful levy and participating in several other facilities bonds and program levies.

Katie created a thriving business teaching dance and creative movement to newborns through three-year olds.  She modified the program to suit the needs of school-aged children, and taught active-participation workshops to adults throughout Washington state.  She served on the board of the Washington Association for the Education of Young Children, actively participating on the steering committee tasked with revamping the organization's strategic plan. 

Home-schooling a special-needs child and working both in and out of the current traditional school model led Katie to embark on a mission to change the way we educate children.  Joining other community leaders, she is a founding member of Willow School, a project-based middle school for creative learners, low-income families, and English language learners.  When the school opens in 2016, Katie will serve as Dean of Students.

In addition to her work with Willow School, Katie balances a full-service, top-rated dog care business, two children in high school, and her own studies in preparation for her Masters in School Leadership.  


We appreciate our supporters: 


Missed a forum? Remember videos are online:  





1) Clicking on the Calender of Events

2) Click on the Forum you want to attend on the calender

3) Follow the on screen directions

4) The cost of the Forum is $20.00 for members and $25.00 for non members


Our Facebook page

Find us on Facebook