State Sentate Passes Education Reform Bill

The State Sentate yesterday passed a sort of omnibus Education Reform bill, HB 1443.

The bill puts teachers with unsatisfactory ratings at the head of the line for layoffs. Principals, too, although I cannot remember a time when the District ever had to RIF principals.

But the bill doesn't stop there. It's a regular Christmas tree of Education Reform bullet points:
* It adopts the Common Core Standards
* It reforms the requirements for high school credit
* It requires the use of a kindergarten readiness assessment
* It includes some meaningless stuff about drop-out prevention
* It includes some even less meaningful stuff about fully funding education

If this monster passes the house - and they started it - there will be a whole lot of stuff that the State dictates schools and districts must do, right down to spending on facilities maintenance per student.

The bill now goes back to the House for approval of the amendments.

Here is an AP story about it that appeared in the Seattle Times.


I'll have to read this thing - sounds like a real lalpapalooza.

I read elsewhere the teacher placement at high-poverty schools could not be done automatically by the district - that the principal/team get to decide. This is great if it includes the team but if not, it gives the principals some big power (and I read this as a welcome mat for TFA).
David said…
I don't know much about this, but some of these sound good to me. I particularly like putting teachers with unsatisfactory performance reviews at the head of the line for layoffs.

Charlie, could you elaborate on what you don't like? Is it that it centralizes more authority at the state level? Or specifics in, for example, how it reforms the high school credit requirement?

I'm not saying I disagree, I just don't know, and it sounds like you could easily point to some parts of the bill that should be subject to more scrutiny. Can you tell me more about what you don't like?
anonymous said…
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anonymous said…
The question is what is "satisfactory" performance and what is "unsatisfactory"? How do you evaluate? And what criteria could be used?

If satisfactory performance is based on test scores then wouldn't all teachers want to teach honors or AP classes, opposed to teaching remedial classes, ELL, or special ed?

If "satisfactory" performance means an "increase" in test scores over the year, then wouldn't teachers avoid high poverty schools where the reasons many students test scores don't always improve as expected are due to circumstances beyond the teachers control (attendance issues, no breakfast, need to work after school instead of studying, higher rates of drug use, higher rates of dysfunction in the home, etc.)

And wouldn't all teacher start spending more and more time on test prep, and teaching to the test?

If "satisfactory" performance is based solely on a principals review, rather than test performance, that is better, but what criteria would the principal use?

We know that teachers are being evaluated currently. What criteria is being used? What is considered satisfactory/unsatisfactory? What are the repercussions for teachers that fall into the unsatisfactory category? Is this system working or not? If so, great. If not, what can we do to improve it?

Under MGJ we saw more teachers being exited, and the process for exiting a teacher become more streamlined (principals were being trained and supported and the process was quicker). That seemed like progress.

I think the main issue for the public has been that it is very difficult and time consuming to exit an "unsatisfactory" teacher. Though the majority of our teachers are fantastic, the few "unsatisfactory" teachers are left to limp along year after year, doing damage to many kids in the process. Wouldn't addressing this issue help? Wouldn't streamlining an exit process for "unsatisfactory" teachers be enough?
Charlie Mas said…
David, what makes you think that I don't like the bill?
Charlie Mas said…
I'm with Peon. "unsatisfactory" teachers should be removed from the classroom with or without a RIF. If management were doing its job, there wouldn't be many - if any - teachers with unsatisfactory ratings to lay off first when the RIFs come.
wseadawg said…
Stand For Children has hijacked education in Washington. They own this bill.

But of course, where would we be without the likes of Rodney Tom, Eric Pettigrew, Ross Hunter, and Reuven Carlyle to thank for this. Every man indeed has his price!

Thanks a million, guys, for continuing to cave-in to big money interests who want to skim more education dollars from our schools to put into their pockets.

Thanks for injecting more controversy and instability into our schools as public education already teeters on the edge of a cliff. Thanks for opening the door to future, greater cuts in education, lower salaries, less benefits, and the further undermining of a solid, middle-class workforce.

Salander said…
And nary a word about changing funding so that Washington does not have the third largest class size in the nation as it has had for the last twenty years.

It is sad that our elected government is so mind warped by ed reform that the only level at which it can function is promoting teacher evaluation propaganda.

Good way to make to pat themselves on the back and continue to ignore the real issues.
Anonymous said…
Relax, Wseadawg. Word from my House members is that Tom's amendment is not the majority position in the House, and that most House Democrats will blow up the entire bill before allowing this language to go to the Governor's desk.

Still, everybody needs to call their State reps, and also the offices of Speaker Chopp and Majority Leader Sullivan, and tell them this language cannot stand.

Our reps in the 34th are totally against this language, as was Sen. Nelson, and will do what is necessary to kill it. We are a long way from "all is lost."

-- Ivan Weiss
Charlie Mas said…
Part of the reason that Olympia works so badly - it's almost totally dysfunctional - lies in the procedural processes that make it really easy to kill legislation and make it really hard to get legislation passed.

No bill is safe until it is passed.
Anonymous said…
There's also a huge bunch of crap in that bill over linking some funding to student attendance rates. Like everything else at the Stand for Children Macro-State-Reform level, it sounds good at first in addressing truancy, but then when you start thinking about it...Do we want to penalize our already resource-poor schools on the east side of the state for families for whom "picking" is an economic reality, and whose kids must help, or move, to do so during harvest season? How about those who can, and do, afford to travel to family events such as weddings -- family priorities -- or an overseas trip -- exposure to the world! etc.

And again, the teacher RIF thing just muddies the locally based reforms that our own community has already worked through.

And notice, this is the same dork legislator who wanted to stop rewarding teachers for using their own scarce time and money to obtain masters degree.

In short, as usual, Stand for the Children does more harm than good in its efforts to "better" our system. The more voters who understand the lameness of this PAC and the politicians it tries to put into their pocket, the better. ICKY.

dan dempsey said…
Few Bills are ever based on evidence. HB 1443 could never be considered to be the result of intelligently applying the relevant data.

Politics has evolved into a battle between two parties positions, which are based on donor contributions. Evidence of success in education is "irrelevant" to politicians.
dan dempsey said…
Seems like the Stranger's "Questionland" needs to take questions for WEA President Mary Lindquist, who has been an adamant supporter of E2SSB 6696 passed in March 2010 continuing all the way through to her Support for HB 1443 and WEA opposition to any delay of the Common Core State Standards adoption.

Is this odd that WEA leadership sponsors so much irrational crap?

How does testing and more testing produce improvement? Third largest class sizes in the nation and bound to get larger. hummmm ... Formative assessment is done by teachers who know their kids and happens more often than will ever happen in these expensive pointless tests.

Mary Lindquist, Olga Addae, Jonathan Knapp .... please explain.

This Video by USC Professor Stephen Krashen beautifully explains the completely irrational decision-making from Obama/Duncan that is driving the destruction of America's schools.

Be sure to watch the last 2/3 of the video. There is a manufactured crisis to drive an urgency for these completely irrational changes. Well irrational if improving education is the goal .... if improving bottom lines for various well positioned players on the Race to the Bank is the goal, then this is completely understandable --- for even I get it.
Anonymous said…
There is still time to call our reps and have them vote no on this bill.

For the skinny on it, see:

The PTA, “Ed Reform”, Don Nielson and Bill 1443.
dan dempsey said…
What I think the evidence indicates....

30 Senators are completely irrational.

Here are those who voted for E2SHB 1443 ... and my letter as well as the Krashen interview. Krashen starts of the Reform Ed fiasco at minute 5:00.

Krashen's articles =>
GreyWatch said…
I went to high school with Rodney Tom - an eastside public school with a good reputation. However, that was pre-Reagan era (RR was elected when we were seniors) and Seattle was pretty much off the map as far as the rest of the US was concerned -- a different world in many ways. No way would I be able to graduate from that good school now were I to attempt to do it as I did then, and I was considered a good student. Rod would have been lucky to make it junior year. Not that this has anything to do with his reform proposal.
wseadawg said…
Ivan, I thought about the House after my rants. But I can't get over how stupid our Senators are being to embrace all this RIF "crisis management" to allow opportunistic types to seize upon the supposed disastrous child-destroying results of seniority based RIFs to strip the teachers union of bargained-for rights and job protections they've not only earned, but need, in order to be allowed to do their jobs without constantly watching their backs.

All this reform crap is not only stupid, but expensive, and wholly ineffective. The supposed "Texas Miracle" accomplished exactly NOTHING after 10 years, as the NAEP scores (one of the few legitimate tests utilized anymore) didn't move an inch after a decade of closures, charters, merit pay, and all the rest. Nada. Zip. Same thing in Chicago, by the way. 10 years, millions of dollars, and at the end of it all? Nada. Zilch.

But the Washington Senate is on board, baby! Yahoo!

Anything in the foreseeable future can be called a crisis become the next pretext for RIFs, where political retribution against those who oppose administration will be shown the door.

Anyone remember when the state invoked the "emergency clause" of the state constitution to build a stadium for the Mariners? And the Supreme Court ruled that if the legislature declares it an emergency, then heck, it's an emergency. And the Mariners leaving Seattle after the '95 season was an emergency? Pfffft.

I voted for the stadium and I lost. By democracy's rules, the M's legitimately lost the vote and I'd had my say. But the state rode to the rescue by declaring an "emergency."

If they'll can and have done that type of thing before, purging the teaching ranks of the oldest, most expensive teachers is child's play.

I want every legislator that has kissed STAND's bottom to get a real job and stop working against their constituents by sucking up to special interest groups looking out primarily for their own interests.

Yeah, I know I'm tilting at windmills, but somebody's gotta do it.
cascade said…
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cascade said…
Publicola wrote a short article on this, but the accompanying rants are actually more interesting and amusing. Not sure why Stand On the Children appears to have direct mouthpiece to this misguided state senator and to Publicola's one editor Josh, but apparently they do because he seems to print their agenda and opinion more or less as they spew it. Perhaps its because it makes for juicy state drama, though it seems a sorry excuse for his affinity to that even sorrier group. And just how many people are sucking a salary off the local Stand organization anyhow? Wonder what the Big Boys in D.C. are paying them to send press releases to Josh?
dan dempsey said…

Thanks for the Publicola Heads up.

Josh Feit looks like he is publishing press releases not investigating anything. He must be hoping for an Ed reporting job at the Times.
dan dempsey said…
Rodney Tom could get a clue by reading about Colorado. Perhaps he should move there.... We do not need this same transformation in our schools.
Jan said…
Fabulous article, Dan. Thanks for posting.
kprugman said…
Lots of good reasons to leave Washington - the WEA president sounds like a jinx - as was Bergerson.

An unsat rating can mean most anything - it is the equivalent of hazing or harassment.

The Senators are confusing teacher preparation evaluations with professional evaluations which falls under the umbrella of the Federal fair employment act.

This is a legislative sham and the public will see right away how ineffectual their state legislature is, not only will these new laws get challenged, but the classrooms will suffer academically. Whatever money was allocated will never see the light of any classroom.

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