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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Families and Education Levy

I wrote an article for Crosscut (the on-line e-zine of the Northwest) about the upcoming Families and Education levy. I talked to both people on both sides of the issue, read all the supporting materials and did research on what the levy has done in the past.

I wholeheartedly support this levy.

It covers so much ground from pre-K thru high school. New to this levy are programs that the district has eliminated like college counseling and summer learning. In addition, it will have a program the district doesn't have but is working in other schools districts - direct interventions for struggling students. Unfortunately these programs will only be available at the high poverty middle and high schools but better it is there then not having it at all.

Most of all this levy has oversight, accountability and transparency. For me, those are the ding-ding-ding "we have a winner" words for a levy.

I want to know exactly where the money is going. I want to know that once the levy is passed, someone is following up to make sure the program is well-planned AND that as time goes by, its outcomes are being tracked. (In the past, the City has pulled a program or two to the unhappiness of the community group/entity running it but the City is interested in measurable results.)

The City has consistently sought out ways to measure results. For example, they can now point to a study from the UW about academic outcomes for students who use the health clinics within the middle and high schools versus those who don't. Yes, I know that correlation does not mean causation but, for me, there are enough measures that I feel satisfied that having the health clinics contributes to better student outcomes.

The City has provided annual reports for several years so you can see where the money has gone as well as look at results.

As I say in the article, I know it's the 4th education levy in two years. I know that we are in a struggling economy. I also know, from district levies, that levies really aren't any way to create long-term programming.

But so much of what is included in this levy is vital work. It's a levy that has been well-crafted with a lot of accountability.

I know it is early but I hope you take the time to read about it now as you consider your vote.

1 comment:

ConcernedTeacher said...

Thanks for the info. This was a balanced assessment of the pros and cons of the levy. I appreciated the links out to the article as well as to the reports. Thanks also for responding to those comments on Crosscut to correct misleading info.

-ConcernedTeacher