The Road Ahead

A couple of important stories to check out this morning.

One is from the Seattle Times about how our Legislative leaders are going to figure out how to enact McCleary.  (I will point that charter schools only complicates this process.)

The other is Seattle Channel's interview with Superintendent Banda.   Once again, the Superintendent comes across as quiet but firm. 

There is also an interesting op-ed from outgoing Governor Chris Gregoire who says there should be one education department for the state to cover pre-school to higher ed.  

Today we have eight education agencies and at least as many major strategic plans. That’s too many. We need a system that works together, not one that is limited to organizational views. We need a system that tackles challenges, not avoids them. What we have now doesn’t make sense from the student’s point of view. It doesn’t make sense from an economic one, either.

Money is part of the solution. But the other part is fixing the system. We must commit to both.

What do you think about this idea?

About McCleary, there is a big split over this issue within the Legislature and frankly, it may make a difference in what they do if YOU reach out to your legislator and say, "This is what I believe is the best way."

No matter if you believe that cutting back (further) in our budget to help public education is the way OR that we need to/must find new revenue, tell your legislators.  (There is also a third way - a combo of cuts and more revenue.)  Telling your legislators what YOU think provides them the backing they need to put forth their stand. 

As the session opens Monday, Democrats, who control the state House, are basing their proposal on promises the Legislature made a few years ago — to fund a full day of kindergarten for all students and smaller class sizes in early grades and to better cover the costs of school materials and operations.

They're talking about an education-funding increase of $1.7 billion this session, much of it raised through new taxes.

Republicans, who control the state Senate with the help of two renegade Democrats, view the court ruling as a broad mandate to improve education.

They want to find between $500 million and $1.5 billion more for education by limiting other state programs — but they also plan to demand bitterly contested policy changes, including grading every school and putting the lowest-performing schools in a special state-run district.


In 2009, as the lawsuit worked through the system, lawmakers passed two bills that redefined what it means to provide a basic education for all students, and mapped out how to fund much of it by 2018.
In their ruling, the justices essentially ordered the Legislature to fund the promises made in those bills, which would cost an estimated $1.6 billion to $2.2 billion per year above what the state now spends.

Legislators set a 2018 deadline for four elements in those bills.

They pledged to give districts enough money to offer a full day of kindergarten for all students, up from the half day they now fund. They said they would pay for one teacher for every 17 students from kindergarten through grade three, down from 25. They also agreed to fill in some big gaps between what they give school districts for transportation, and for textbooks, heating and other costs, and what it actually costs districts to pay for them.

What stick does the Court have to get the Legislature in line?

In other states, courts have taken additional steps in school-funding rulings, including appointing special masters to oversee progress, or ordering lawmakers to distribute school funding more equally.
Thomas Ahearne, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said the court also could hold lawmakers in contempt, or nullify some of the checks the states writes for noneducation programs.

Nobody really wants to find out how far the court will go, said Hunter, the House budget chairman.
Like the three biggest kids in middle school, he said, the executive, legislative and judicial branches don't really want to test each other's strength.


dan dempsey said…
putting the lowest-performing schools in a special state-run district.

So why would that make anything better?

Is this is a plan to copy the Detroit Area?

The state has not shown an ability to run schools much less pay for them.

Looks like a proposal for more Centralized Top Down action.

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
He mentioned focusing on special ed and strengthening that department, that he understands that that is a real concern.

Unfortunately, the interviewer did not ask about the other side of the equation - accountabilities for teachers and building administrators to be informed about and support the rights and needs of students with disabilities.

He also responded to a question about in house suspensions and replied that there is disproportionality in suspensions, explusions. He did not say what kind! He said they have to review whether the suspensions etc are equitable, fair.

Anonymous said…
Listener mentioned:

"He also responded to a question about in house suspensions and replied that there is disproportionality in suspensions, explusions. He did not say what kind! He said they have to review whether the suspensions etc are equitable, fair."

What does disproportionality mean?

Too often this is viewed as a ratio based on different ethnic groups.

Is anyone correlating the data based on "the offenses" and the "resulting suspensions"?

If so what does that ratio reveal?


I want the see the road ahead.... to Look at the "ready for high school math" percentage of 8th grade students given on the school report cards. Currently it is absurdly high.

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
I have never understood the need for so many ESDs and OSPi, seems very redundant to me.
Anonymous said…
I love op-eds from departing office holders. They are basically"Profiles in Cowardice", litanies of what the pol didn't want to stake their careers on...


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