Wednesday, February 17, 2016

"This Bill is Better Than no Bill"

The Quarterly Journal of Economics put out a report in October 2015 - The Effects of School Spending on Educational and Economic Outcomes: Evidence from School Finance Reforms.  They linked school spending and school finance reforms in public school spending.  (This follows a very long-term study from James Coleman at Johns Hopkins University.  Coleman's work suggested no connection between money and test scores.) 

Guess what?  District that had more money, on average, did better.  And their students had higher wages as adults.  The study was not so much about WHY the money affected change but that it DID.



One issue in all this work is that not all kids are the same. Low-income kids generally test lower.  But a "helicopter drop of money," as lead researcher Kirabo Jackson calls it, can make a difference.

From the Seattle Times article;
He and his colleagues found that a 25% increase in per-student spending over the course of a student's school-age years could eliminate the gaps in income and years of education between children from low-income families and those making at least twice the poverty line. And so far, Washington has increased state per-pupil spending by 33%.
(I would dispute that per-pupil spending number since, during the recession, funding got cut.  How much of that 33% is replacement funding and how much is new funding is not clear to me.)

So what's happening with McCleary?

The Senate passed Senate Bill 6195, with a 26-23 vote.  It creates a "taskforce" to work on figuring out the funding for K-12 public education, supposedly by 2017 (but I'll lay odds it will be later.)

An identical House version already passed.  The Washington's Paramount Duty group reports:

The vote in the Senate did not follow party lines, with 15 Republicans voting to approve the bill along with 11 Democrats.  (Interestingly, Rep Pam Roach voted no but that may be the far-right saying they don't think more funding is needed.)

From the News Tribune:
 
Opposing the measure were 10 Republicans and 13 Democrats, including Democratic Sen. Tim Sheldon of Potlatch, who caucuses with Senate Republicans."
“The reality is, this bill is better than no bill,” said Sen. Bruce Dammeier, R-Puyallup, one of the Senate Republicans’ past leaders on school-funding issues.

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/politics-government/article60722711.html#storylink=cpy
 I'm not sure how a "leader" can make that kind of statement.

“I hope it’s enough,” said state Sen. Cyrus Habib, D-Bellevue, who voted against the legislation. Habib compared the plan to telling the court “the check’s in the mail.”

Let's see if the Supreme Court sees it that way.

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/politics-government/article60722711.html#storylink=cpy

Here's what Senator Kevin Ranker (D-Orcas Island) had this to say on the passage:
“This bill is barely better than no bill. It does not solve the problem. We had a bipartisan proposal that would have actually addressed this problem, but in the end neither side had the votes. We did not have the votes because it talked about revenue, it talked about the simple fact that to fix this problem — this $3.5 billion dollar problem — we’ve got to actually fund it.

“Elected officials at all levels need two things to do the right thing, and you can’t have one without the other. You need political cover and you need political pressure.

“We need people to come into our hearing rooms and into our offices and tell us, ‘Yes, that is a great idea, please do that and I am going to be there supporting you if you are willing to do that.’ But I also need those same people to come back with a bat, screaming and telling me that they are going to hold my feet to the fire if I do not do what’s right.

“At this point in time, we have the political cover. The people of Washington state are telling us that we need to do our job. The Supreme Court is telling us we need to do our job, and we have that political pressure. We have people screaming, saying ‘It’s been years — fully fund education!’

“I’ve been in this chamber for eight years, and we’ve been talking about this for eight years. For eight years, we’ve had that political pressure building and we still haven’t done our jobs.

“We need to be bold. We need to step up for our children. My little girl is in the second grade. Can we please solve this problem before she graduates?

“I voted for this bill to move forward because we need to do something, but we should not celebrate this. We should not feel that we’ve done our work. We should not feel that we’ve satisfied our moral and constitutional obligation.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This bill is not better than no bill. It is the same. Only good thing I see is no charter linkage. Which proves my point. If there was significant McCleary progress in the bill the charterites would have tried to tag on.

NoCharters