Building Additional Capabilities into the Washington Achievement Index

With each new school year, the State Board of Education is building additional capabilities into the Washington Achievement Index. This is a great tool for principals, staff, parents, and advocates. And now, more than ever before, you can understand the aggregate performance of a school as well as how particular subgroups of students are performing, based on race, income, and other factors.

Below are two examples of what you can do, but if you want to play with the tool yourself, go to and launch the Index interactive tool. Continue reading

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School Classifications vs. Letter Grades

You might have seen that the Washington Policy Center has released its own achievement index (based on the State Board of Education and Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Washington State Achievement Index) issuing A through F- grades. The State Board of Education again, see blog post from last year, opposes the letter grade approach.

The Index measures student proficiency in math, reading, writing and science, student growth, and college and career readiness (currently just high school graduation rate). The Index identifies high-performing schools for recognition and low-performing schools for support. The emphasis is improvement and recognition, not punishment. Continue reading

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What are the Criteria for Contempt?

Getting ready for the April 30 McCleary Report from the Legislature on Ample School Funding.


This past January, the Washington State Supreme Court essentially put the Legislature on notice. “It is clear that the pace of progress must quicken,” it said, and ordered the Legislature to produce, by April 30, a “complete plan for fully implementing … basic education … between now and the 2017-18 school year.” The court also required “a phase-in schedule for fully funding each of the components of basic education.”

If you feel like you have read this before, you’re right. This is similar language to the first order issued in December of 2012. But, that one really didn’t produce a credible plan. Will this one? Continue reading

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Interesting, Terribly Disturbing Dropout Data

This interesting data available on the ERDC website shows the dropout rates as a whole, but also shows them disaggregated by grade and by demographics.

This is interesting data, but of course it’s also terribly disturbing.  Each data point is a young person whose life prospects are significantly and sometimes irreparably harmed.  Sometimes the decision to dropout is based on apathy. In other cases, it’s essentially a forced choice — driven by trauma and circumstances in their life, such as homelessness and other seemingly overwhelming obstacles. This is some of the most troubling data we look at in K-12.

Continue reading

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Today, the State Board of Education adopted a resolution calling upon the state Legislature to resolve Washington’s status as a “high risk” state with the US Department of Education.  This designation prevents the approval of the state’s ESEA flexibility waiver – effectively blocking Washington’s eligibility for greater flexibility in how federal funds can be spent, as well as relief from the outdated regulatory requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).  Soon, nearly every school in Washington will be labeled “failing” without a waiver from the antiquated performance system established by NCLB. Continue reading

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