What are the Criteria for Contempt?

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

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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.

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SBE URGES LEGISLATURE TO ACTION — RESOLVE WASHINGTON’S “HIGH RISK” STATUS ON WAIVER APPLICATION TO MOVE PAST OUT-DATED NCLB REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS ON SCHOOLS

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blocking Washington’s eligibility for greater flexibility in how federal funds can be spent, as well as relief from the outdated regulatory requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).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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Vanilla Waivers

Is it really that unreasonable to expect student growth in state test scores to play some role in how we evaluate teachers?  Apparently, a majority of the Washington State Senate thinks so.

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Vanilla wafers.  They’re subtly sweet, but not overwhelming.  Not too sweet, not too bland.  As a famous intruder to a bear family home might remark, they are “jusssst right.”

Might the same be said for the balanced approach of Washington’s ESEA flexibility waiver, and in particular, the modest changes proposed in Senate Bill 5246 to let that waiver succeed?  The proposal seems fairly, well — vanilla.  Is it really that unreasonable to expect state administered student test scores to play some role in how we evaluate teachers?  They certainly play a role in how we evaluate students.  And, how we evaluate schools, for that matter.   But when it comes to evaluating teachers; that apparently is a step too far for the state Senate. Continue reading

Posted in Legislation, Teachers | 4 Comments

SBE Chair Signals Support for More Flexible Approach to New Instructional Hour Requirements

Yesterday, Chairwoman Dr. Kristina Mayer sent the below letter to Senate lawmakers signaling support for providing school districts more flexibility in meeting the new instructional hour requirements scheduled to take effect in the 2014-15 school year.   The letter was in response to Senate Bill 6552, which would delay the increased instructional time requirements by one year, allow compliance with the requirement to be calculated as an average across all grades (rather than across specific grade bands or grades), and provide districts flexibility in how to deploy budgeted resources to best support a career and college-ready diploma, starting with the Class of 2019. Continue reading

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