Monday, January 28, 2013

Legislative Round-Up

As most of you know, public education, both K-12 and higher ed, are central focuses of the current Legislative Session.  Here are some issues/bills up for discussion:

- from the Times, an article about a bill to "grade" schools (except for charters, of course).  

- as previously mentioned, Senator Rodney Tom (F-Medina), wants to get rid of GET (Guaranteed Education Tuition), the program that helps people save for their children's college educations.  Guess what?  The astoundingly popular College -Bound program that low-income middle school students sign up for to encourage them to finish high school and go to college?  He wants to end THAT one as well.  (Even the Times says they should continue the College Bound program.)

Senator Tom has said the State shouldn't be in this "business."  Confusing because our Constitution says that educating the populace IS the paramount duty of the state.  (Also, understand that people who crunched the numbers figured out it will cost MORE to close down GET than continue it.)

- according to Publicola:

On Tuesday, January 29, the House Education Committee has a public hearing on a bill to cut costs in education by dramatically reshaping standardized testing. The bill eliminates the writing portion of state tests, reduces the high school math assessment to just one test rather than two, and removes testing-related graduation requirements. It also prevents the state schools superintendent from developing additional science tests in any subject other than biology. The bill is sponsored by a bipartisan group including Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos, chairwoman of the Education Committee. The hearing starts at 1:30 pm.

- Also this week on Wednesday, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education will be hearing from the group tasked to figure out education spending. Later in the week on Friday, the House Education Committee will hear from the Joint Task Force on Education Funding (the McCleary group).  

Link from Rep. Marcie Maxwell to the Joint Task Force.   

Article from Ed Week about McCleary being thrashed out in the Legislature.

- Thursday, the House Higher Ed Committee will work on the GET program. 

- Rep Sharon Tomiko-Santos, along with a couple of other Reps including Gerry Pollet, are sponsoring a bill for more on-line education courses.  I'll have to ask them about this.  While it seems the way of the future, there is an awful lot of crash-and-burn stories throughout the U.S. on this subject. 

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Re-post from earlier thread, because we all need to read it!

MW & All: Take a look at Brier Dudley's revealing article from today's Seattle Times High-tech expects breaks while education funding suffers. Can somebody please tell me why we continue to countenance such galling behavior from our local billionaires, instead of scolding and shaming them for their thankless, anti-social, unbridled greed? It's enough make me want to puke! Simply disgusting. WSDWG

Anonymous said...

From the above-linked article:

Public assistance makes sense for young companies that may be struggling to pay for product development, before they make their first sales. But after they've grown up, they should be embarrassed to be asking for these perpetual handouts.

The biggest beneficiaries of these breaks are now giants. They're among the most prosperous companies in the world.

Microsoft, the most vocal proponent of improving math and science education, last week reported profit of more than $2 billion per month despite the struggles of the PC industry.

Washington state is doing its part.

Its tech sales tax exemption helped Microsoft and other tech companies avoid paying $31 million in 2011, and $249.8 million in sales taxes over the past eight years.

It's funny -- that's almost exactly how much Gregoire's education-funding plan would collect next year from a higher tax on the less privileged companies across the state.


Please, don't anyone confuse tax fairness with class warfare, like politicians & the media do all the time. It's about basic responsibility and fairness. Far from being "too much to ask" of anyone. WSDWG

mirmac1 said...

Rodney Tom should go back to school.

mirmac1 said...

I get tired of getting screwed, so I use my vote to make it stop.

Watching said...

http://www.nwprogressive.org/weblog/2013/01/senate-republicans-want-to-assign-letter-grades-to-washingtons-public-schools.html

Litzow's proposed grading system would take dollars AWAY from under performing schools. Ov course, charters aren't included in the grading system.

Can we cut Medina out of the state?

Anonymous said...

The GET program has a serious problem. Per the contract, they can shut it down and refund your investment at the price of tuition. Any new money going in is at risk of instant large loss. "All other contract holders shall receive a refund equal to the value of the current tuition units in effect at the time that the program was declared discontinued." So $172 paid today becomes $117.82 tomorrow if they close the program.

No responsible person can invest with that clause in place, especially with that 31% potential loss.

The state needs to create a GET-2 or otherwise change the contract to make the program reasonable for new parents.

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