A couple of important stories to check out this morning.
One is from the Seattle Times about how our Legislative leaders are going to figure out how to enact McCleary. (I will point that charter schools only complicates this process.)
The other is Seattle Channel's interview with Superintendent Banda. Once again, the Superintendent comes across as quiet but firm.
There is also an interesting op-ed from outgoing Governor Chris Gregoire who says there should be one education department for the state to cover pre-school to higher ed.
Today we have eight education agencies and at least as many major
strategic plans. That’s too many. We need a system that works together,
not one that is limited to organizational views. We need a system that
tackles challenges, not avoids them. What we have now doesn’t make sense
from the student’s point of view. It doesn’t make sense from an
economic one, either.
Money is part of the solution. But the other part is fixing the
system. We must commit to both.
What do you think about this idea?
About McCleary, there is a big split over this issue within the Legislature and frankly, it may make a difference in what they do if YOU reach out to your legislator and say, "This is what I believe is the best way."
No matter if you believe that cutting back (further) in our budget to help public education is the way OR that we need to/must find new revenue, tell your legislators. (There is also a third way - a combo of cuts and more revenue.) Telling your legislators what YOU think provides them the backing they need to put forth their stand.
As the session opens Monday, Democrats, who control the state House,
are basing their proposal on promises the Legislature made a few years
ago — to fund a full day of kindergarten for all students and smaller
class sizes in early grades and to better cover the costs of school
materials and operations.
They're talking about an education-funding increase of $1.7 billion
this session, much of it raised through new taxes.
Republicans, who control the state Senate with the help of two
renegade Democrats, view the court ruling as a broad mandate to improve
They want to find between $500 million and $1.5 billion more for
education by limiting other state programs — but they also plan to
demand bitterly contested policy changes, including grading every school
and putting the lowest-performing schools in a special state-run
In 2009, as the lawsuit worked through the system, lawmakers passed
two bills that redefined what it means to provide a basic education for
all students, and mapped out how to fund much of it by 2018.
In their ruling, the justices essentially ordered the Legislature to
fund the promises made in those bills, which would cost an estimated
$1.6 billion to $2.2 billion per year above what the state now spends.
Legislators set a 2018 deadline for four elements in those bills.
They pledged to give districts enough money to offer a full day of
kindergarten for all students, up from the half day they now fund. They
said they would pay for one teacher for every 17 students from
kindergarten through grade three, down from 25. They also agreed to fill
in some big gaps between what they give school districts for
transportation, and for textbooks, heating and other costs, and what it
actually costs districts to pay for them.
What stick does the Court have to get the Legislature in line?
In other states, courts have taken additional steps in school-funding
rulings, including appointing special masters to oversee progress, or
ordering lawmakers to distribute school funding more equally.
Thomas Ahearne, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said the court also
could hold lawmakers in contempt, or nullify some of the checks the
states writes for noneducation programs.
Nobody really wants to find out how far the court will go, said
Hunter, the House budget chairman.
Like the three biggest kids in middle school, he said, the executive,
legislative and judicial branches don't really want to test each