The State Board of Education does not support organizations using the Washington State Achievement Index to issue a series of A – F- grades for schools. We believe that the Achievement Index provides valuable information about a school’s performance, but we believe it is only part of the story, and not sufficient to label an individual school a failure.
We are particularly troubled by the designation of an “F-” grade, which doesn’t exist in any real sense, and comes across as a gratuitous effort to demean the hard work that schools are doing. A letter grade does not do justice to the complexity of school performance and increases the risk of alienation and demoralization for schools.
Each year, the State Board of Education and Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction analyze school performance data through the Achievement Index. It’s the only statewide school accountability system recognized by both the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and State Board of Education.
The Achievement Index measures student proficiency in math, reading, writing and science, student growth, and college and career readiness. It identifies high-performing schools for recognition and low-performing schools for support. The Index emphasizes improvement and recognition, not punishment. An A-F grading system oversimplifies school data, and it doesn’t do justice to schools working hard to serve students in a number of areas.
Today, Board Chair Isabel Muñoz-Colón released the following statement regarding a legislative proposal to change state education policy governance:
“Each session, the State Board of Education welcomes discussion of what K-12 governance structure best ensures a high-quality education system for all Washington students. While we are still reviewing SB 5673 and HB 1886, they appear to contemplate a significant rewrite of state education policy oversight. Major education policy responsibilities would be moved away from public discourse among the education advocates on the Board and placed with a single executive, the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Changes on the scale the bills propose certainly deserve a robust public discussion and we look forward to working with the sponsors and other legislators to achieve the best possible outcomes for all students.”
State Board of Education Chair Isabel Muñoz-Colón issued the following statement on Gov. Inslee’s recent proposal to increase school funding:
“It’s clear to me that Gov. Inslee recognized the urgency to provide each and every student in the state access to quality education and is investing in closing opportunity gaps for our historically underserved populations. Under his plan, the state will invest in K-12 education to help students in the classroom now, and to attract the best educators for the next generation of students. I want to thank him for his leadership on teacher retention and professional development, as well as his proposal’s significant investments in the whole student through social and emotional health.”
“I wanted to take a moment to send a message on behalf of the State Board to our students in Washington. The Board takes seriously our mission to provide a high-quality education that prepares each and every one of our students for college, career, and life. We believe it is important to share with you and your families that the State Board of Education believes that one of our greatest treasures as a state is found in our diverse student population.
“As a daughter of Spanish-speaking parents who is now serving as the chair of the Washington State Board of Education, I want to personally reach out to our students of color, our young girls and women, and those who speak languages other than English. I have walked in your shoes and I know how hard the journey can be. Just know that I believe in your potential to do great things for our state and this country. Also know that there are those in your school buildings, in your community and in your state government that will continue to work hard to support you along the way. So keep your eyes on your goals, your feet moving forward, and know we got your back.”
— State Board of Education Chair Isabel Muñoz-Colón
State Board of Education Chair Isabel Muñoz-Colón issued the following statement on today’s order by the State Supreme Court in the McCleary case regarding Washington’s public school funding:
“I applaud the Supreme Court for continuing sanctions, and emphasizing the urgency of strengthened school funding. The legal sanctions are meaningful, but the real urgency comes from a looming crisis: fewer and fewer of our best and brightest are choosing the teaching profession. Clearly, the state does not fund compensation or provide professional development at levels that will attract and retain the best educators for our next generation of students.”