McCleary Decision

Via SPS, I see that there is an OSPI document on the McCleary decision.  It's a fairly basic overview but it may be helpful to those getting up to speed on the issue.

One key issue that I have been reading is that the Court based its decision on HR2261 about what full funding looks like.  What I have heard some legislators say is that they DON'T like what is in HR2261 and if they redid it, then we would be fully funding schools.

In other words, rewrite the rules of what full funding means so that you don't have to fully fund schools. 

Here (via Publicola) is what Senator Steve Litzow (R-41) had to say:

PubliCola: The McCleary decision compels the Legislature to fully fund education. This week, you heard more about that in your committee– as well as a presentation on increasing education quality in times of budget cuts. Do you have any plans for additional reforms that could reduce the McCleary funding burden this session?
Litzow: No. McCleary basically said, “you define what basic education is and then you fund it. 2261 [the 2009 education reform bill that grounds the McCleary decision] looks reasonable, but you haven’t funded it.” The working estimate of how much that will cost this biennium is $750 million to $1.5 billion, so a billion is a good working number—it seems reasonable.
But we can’t keep pouring money into a system that’s not working for everyone. We have a 76 percent graduation rate. We’re failing one out of every four kids, and that’s disproportionately the poor and children of color. We have got to stop doing that. We know money is one of the issues, but think about this: In 2000, we had an 80 percent graduation rate and spent $5,100 per kid. In 2010-2011, we spent $6,800 per student. We’ve increased funding 34 percent – 11 percent adjusted for inflation – and we’ve gotten worse results.
We’ve got to put more into education but we’ve got to figure out how to get better results.

 If we had an 80% graduation rate in 2000 (and I'm going to have to check that one because it seems high to me) AND we are now spending more, then clearly something is wrong AND/OR something has changed.

It might just be that more change has made it more difficult, not that districts and teachers are necessarily doing anything wrong.

But, at the end of the day, we don't fund to the national average.  We have far higher technology needs (and desires).  At least in SPS, we have cut summer school and graduation counselors.   And, Senator Litzow references this things in the article as well as multiple curriculums and extended school days.

All these things cost money. 


Charlie Mas said…
Perhaps Mr. Litzow doesn't recall that the WASL wasn't required for graduation in 2000.

That's the big change. The legislature's effort at "reform" is what has made things worse.
Ryan said…
Finding it all in one graph is not easy, but the WSIPP did a report in 2005 that's on point:

If you look at it that way, we're near our historic highs in graduation rates, and this is post-WASL, a Charlie said.

dan dempsey said…
Mel wrote:

"If we had an 80% graduation rate in 2000 (and I'm going to have to check that one because it seems high to me) AND we are now spending more, then clearly something is wrong AND/OR something has changed."

Good luck on finding a reliable statistic for graduation rate in 2000. This year we finally had an actual cohort graduation rate that looked at how many of the original 9th grade cohort actually graduated.

Most grad rates have been inflated fluff.

Remember the School Board action report that reported the graduation rate at New Tech Sacramento as 98% when the cohort grad rate was less than 50%.
dan dempsey said…
So look at the WA State Constitution:


SECTION 1 PREAMBLE. It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.

SECTION 2 PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM. The legislature shall provide for a general and uniform system of public schools. The public school system shall include common schools, and such high schools, normal schools, and technical schools as may hereafter be established. But the entire revenue derived from the common school fund and the state tax for common schools shall be exclusively applied to the support of the common schools.


About funding the common schools and allowing charter schools.....

Is the legislature going to rewrite the constitution?

Is the legislature just going to ignore the constitution?

What will Randy Dorn say?
dan dempsey said…
The linked McCleary document at OSPI contains:

Full implementation of the HB 2261/QEC process is the solution:
The legislature recently enacted a promising reform package under ESHB 2261, 61st Leg., Reg. Sess. (Wash. 2009), which if fully funded, will remedy deficiencies in the K-12 funding system (p. 3).

The Court will monitor progress to ensure the QEC recommendations are funded by 2018:
The judiciary will retain jurisdiction over the case to help ensure progress in the State’s plan to fully implement education reforms by 2018 (p. 77-78).

The court references ESHB 2261 as written.

A modified version of ESHB 2261 may NOT meet the criteria the Court should be looking for.

ESHB 2261 was passed in 2009 session.

Here is data from OSPI on $ spent per student in WA State ... using revenue from all sources.

2010-11 => $9696
2009-10 => $9544
2008-09 => $9807
2007-08 => $9267

Revenue provided by the state

2010-11 => $6308 (65% of total revenue)
2009-10 => $6400 (66% of Total revenue)
2008-09 => $6648 (67%)
2007-08 => $6632 (71%)

State percentage contribution has decreased annually => 71%, 67%, 66%, 65%

So that legislative plan that the court has decided to monitor has failed to make progress toward the 2018 goal.

Will rewriting 2261 satisfy the court?
Scrawny Kayaker said…
A couple of points:

1. Are 80% and 76% statistically different??? Those values are quite close. While that 4% represents a lot of students, it's a pretty small mathematical difference. What is the noise in those numbers? We really need to see the numbers for 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002, and compare them to the few most recent years, before we can say there has been a change at all. Unless the 1998-2002 numbers are very close to 80%, and the recent numbers all right at 76, these numbers are not really different. I'm no skilled statistician, but it's pretty clear that more often than not, statistics in politics are misused and misunderstood.

2. Education does not exist in a vacuum. IIRC, 2000 was a time of slightly better average incomes (relative to expenses, particularly basics like fuel and housing), lower unemployment and less pessimistic popular economic outlooks. These external factors must have some effect on graduation rates, even if the numbers did show a statistically meaningful decline. How much to "blame" the schools' internal workings vs. these externalities is a tough question, methinks.
Scrawny Kayaker said…
Ha! Ryan's linked graph shows the numbers for 1998 to 2002 to be:
to the best of my ability to read the graph. (and I'm not sure 2008 isn't 72%)

Giving a mean of 77.2%. Really not likely to be meaningfully different from 76%
Anonymous said…
Litzow has great right wing talking points which help focus the blame on the buildings - teachers, principals, over paid lazy bus drivers and custodians ...

Given how the "Democratic" party swallowed the Gate$-ILL-Vain-ia flavored right wing lies on evaluations last year with SB 5895, and put usage of garbage like MAP into evaluations, Litzow might as well push on. Politically, what did the WEA do to punish Democrats for 5895 ... NOTHING.

It is kind of ... amusing? humorous? ridiculous? how the WEA political naifs tremble at getting some brown scott rick scott walker scott to replace the sell outs disgracing the Democratic brand, so we get sould out in stages instead of all at once. yawn.

If they're is more funding, it will be going to some faction of the

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