Via SPS, I see that there is an OSPI document on the McCleary decision. It's a fairly basic overview but it may be helpful to those getting up to speed on the issue.
One key issue that I have been reading is that the Court based its decision on HR2261 about what full funding looks like. What I have heard some legislators say is that they DON'T like what is in HR2261 and if they redid it, then we would be fully funding schools.
In other words, rewrite the rules of what full funding means so that you don't have to fully fund schools.
Here (via Publicola) is what Senator Steve Litzow (R-41) had to say:
The McCleary decision compels the Legislature to fully fund education.
This week, you heard more about that in your committee– as well as a presentation on increasing education quality in times of budget cuts. Do you have any plans for additional reforms that could reduce the McCleary funding burden this session?
Litzow: No. McCleary basically said, “you define what basic education is and then you fund it. 2261 [the 2009 education reform bill that grounds the McCleary decision]
looks reasonable, but you haven’t funded it.” The working estimate of
how much that will cost this biennium is $750 million to $1.5 billion,
so a billion is a good working number—it seems reasonable.
we can’t keep pouring money into a system that’s not working for
everyone. We have a 76 percent graduation rate. We’re failing one out of
every four kids, and that’s disproportionately the poor and children of
color. We have got to stop doing that. We know money is one of the
issues, but think about this: In 2000, we had an 80 percent graduation
rate and spent $5,100 per kid. In 2010-2011, we spent $6,800 per
student. We’ve increased funding 34 percent – 11 percent adjusted for
inflation – and we’ve gotten worse results.
We’ve got to put more into education but we’ve got to figure out how to get better results.
If we had an 80% graduation rate in 2000 (and I'm going to have to check that one because it seems high to me) AND we are now spending more, then clearly something is wrong AND/OR something has changed.
It might just be that more change has made it more difficult, not that districts and teachers are necessarily doing anything wrong.
But, at the end of the day, we don't fund to the national average. We have far higher technology needs (and desires). At least in SPS, we have cut summer school and graduation counselors. And, Senator Litzow references this things in the article as well as multiple curriculums and extended school days.
All these things cost money.