Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Reading Between the Lines on McCleary

I had a bit of a dust-up with reporter Melissa Santos at The News Tribune over her story on what teachers and students get from the McCleary-driven budget and her picks for quotes from public education groups.  (I'll note I generally like Ms. Santos' reporting.)

Who did she quote?

Someone from LEV and someone from Stand for Children.

Now there is WSPTSA or Washington's Paramount Duty or Parents Across America but no, she picked two ed reform groups, both funded by Gates.  If the News Tribune and the Seattle Times want to go to the same Gates-driven well for quotes on public education, that's their call.

But then, no fair being whiny when you get called out for it.  I consider it a public service to let people know because the Times and the Tribune certainly aren't telling their readers who these groups are and who funds them.

Oh and speaking of LEV, here's a few tidbits at their website:


On McCleary - "But in short, it means that our state may be moving on to the next stage of education advocacy in this state — from Does this satisfy McCleary? to What do we need to do to address the growing gaps in our system between historically underserved students and their college-bound peers?"

Is LEV saying that all students on the other end of the achievement gap are all going to college? I hadn't seen that data and that kind of statement would seems to widen the attitude on the gap.
 
On increased money, like most, they do not accurately explain that the increases from McCleary will NOT be all new money.  The recession took money out of the districts' systems that this budget will now backfill.  Is there new money? Of course there is but for districts limping along, not as much as they need.

They do get a couple of things right:

While there is additional consideration given to schools with high concentrations of low- income students, these funds are restricted to the Learning Assistance Program and cannot be used to address school-wide needs resulting from concentrations of high-need students, such as hiring a social worker or additional counselors.


No new categorical funding structure was created for students experiencing homelessness, students in the foster care system, or migrant students. 

The increase of the cap on funding for special education students will hopefully better cover the costs of serving students with special education needs, and the study of the safety net program is a promising step in addressing the actual needs of students, but the sufficiency of the increased cap and the safety net funding is definitely questionable.


While other states have focused on some comprehensive overhauls of their accountability systems following the passage of ESSA, Washington’s Legislature focused on a more minimal compliance approach. 

LEV hopes that OSPI gets more things right when the final plan for rolling out the ESSA comes out (Every Student Succeeds Act, formerly NCLB).  Me?  I'm getting tired of waiting and hoping for our public education system to be fully-funded.  

I would like to hope that the Supreme Court does NOT think "minimal compliance" is okay.  And I'm not even sure this plan is minimally compliant but geez, at what point will paramount duty make it into legislators' brains?

And somehow, LEV even somehow makes the McCleary issue about donating to them.

Help ensure that the McCleary decision is implemented to benefit every Washington student by making your gift today.

You can't make this stuff up.

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