Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Education News Around the State and Nation

The Bellingham Herald has good coverage of THE key race for the legislature this fall - the race in the 45th where interim Senator Dino Rossi will likely be replaced by one of two major candidates.  With the Senate barely held by the GOP, this race could be a game-changer.

The contest will play out across a district that covers Duvall, Kirkland, Redmond, Sammamish and Woodinville. It’s a slice of Washington that already has two Democratic state representatives — and that rejected President Donald Trump.

The winner is likely one of two women, both minorities, both first-time candidates.
They are Manka Dhingra (D) and Jinyoung Lee Englund (R).

I point this race out because of the current gridlock in the current special session over fulfillment of McCleary and a final budget.  I also want to note something that always gets to me:

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/politics-government/article150675067.html#storylink=cpy
She (Englund) insisted the state could do better on education funding by prioritizing current spending — though she didn’t name any programs she’d cut to do that.
If you are running, you better be able to lay out what should be cut and how districts should prioritize spending.  No wiggling out from that question.

State Superintendent Chris Reykdal was scheduled to have a press conference this week on "long-term education visions and McCleary funding" but it has been postponed under May 24th.  His press release said:
“Early this week, legislative budget negotiators indicated that they are making meaningful progress toward a budget solution, which is why I have decided to delay the unveiling of my long-term vision and McCleary framework by one week,” Reykdal said.

“My team and I have been working with policymakers from both parties since session began in January, and we will continue to do so until a final compromise is reached."


“I remain concerned that a McCleary plan is coming together to solve the short-term interest of the court, but not the long-term needs of students. This is a once-in-a-generation rewrite of basic education finance and we should be working to transform the system well beyond a court-mandated compliance minimum,” he continued.
If true (the progress on McCleary), that would be welcome news as the end of this session comes on Tuesday, May 23rd.

I have my doubts, though, that progress is being made.  And I share Reykdal's concern about this "progress" being perhaps a band-aid rather than a real solution.

Interesting column from The Oregonian - When School Foundations Pay, the Majority of Students Lose.  It touches on two issues we have discussed here  -  private dollars into individual schools and underfunding of schools.
In 1994, due to parent concerns about public education funding in the wake of Measure 5, the Portland School Board passed a resolution authorizing each PPS School to form a foundation that could privately raise money to hire teachers and staff. Now, 23 years later, parents continue to foot the bill to hire necessary staff year after year and student performance in Oregon has slipped far below the national average. This affects every Oregonian.
Right now in Portland, 77 of the 86 Portland Public Schools have foundations. Of these, only 10 raise enough money to hire even one additional teacher or staff. We need a new system that promotes equity without reducing revenue, a system that provides public funding for hiring teachers and staff.
It is time for all school foundation leaders to demand a new method for funding our schools equitably. Staff at all public schools must be adequately funded by state tax dollars. It is not equitable for some schools to be able to pay for teaching staff through private contributions by families, while other schools suffer from deep budget cuts that reduce instructional support to meager levels.

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/politics-government/article150675067.html#storylink=cp

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