Basic Education Reform 2.0: Your action needed!

Basic education reform is now moving to the next stage. In order to  continue the conversation about basic education and education finance, Sen. Eric Oemig introduced an “intent only” bill this morning and Representative Pat Sullivan introduced a companion bill on the House side. These bills serve notice that it is the legislature’s intent to revise the definition of basic education and the plan to fully fund it. These bills do not outline specific details of basic education – that will come in time as work continues.

Bills are available here:

Process-wise, both bills will need to move quickly.The house bill must move by the end of this week and the senate version needs to move by Wednesday of next week. The bills still need to be heard and voted out of committee in order for us to make progress on a new program of basic education and a finance system to support it.

While it is early in the process of building out these new bills, two pieces of the basic education definition that were in the Basic Ed Task Force’s proposal that need explicit support right now are CORE 24 and early learning. Please contact Senator Oemig and Representative Sullivan to thank them for their work. Also, express your support for keeping CORE 24 and early learning in the definition of Basic Education.

Here is the email Sen. Oemig sent out explaining his new bill:

Dear Friend,

Since you’ve previously contacted me about education reform legislation, I thought I’d give you an update about some significant developments.  A lot of work went into the development of both SB 5444 and SB 5607.  Unfortunately, the debate around these two thoughtful and constructive bills turned into a “this is good, that is bad” conflict. To help re-engage a more united discussion, both of these original bills are dead. We are now working on a bill (SB 6048) that I believe will combine some of the best aspects of both SB 5444 and SB 5607.  Hopefully we can use this vehicle as a “middle way” to bring back together all the folks who have split into camps.

Right now, it’s an “intent only” bill that lays out only the intent of the bill.   We have a lot of work to do to add the substance back into to the bill.   This morning we got major stakeholders into one room to work together. I am encourage by the spirited debate and the key areas of agreement.   They laid out their ideas about what we can agree to get done this session.   Many concerns were also noted, but we were all working in good faith to advance the opportunities for our kids first and foremost.

Some of the stakeholders included representatives from the State Board of Education, the League of Education Voters, Stand for Children, the WEA, the PTA, the Children’s Alliance, the Washington Roundtable, the Partnership for Learning, Seattle and Tacoma Public Schools, the Governor’s Office, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Professional Educator Standards Board, the Washington Association of School Administrators, the Association of Washington School Principals, and the Public School Employees of Washington.
Everyone in the room agreed that we need education reform – the status quo is not acceptable.   I am honored to share a seat at the table as we work on reforming public education through SB 6048. We must work together to achieve the improvements we need.
Thanks for your input, too.  You are an important part of the process so please keep engaged and please keep in touch.

Eric Oemig
State Senator
Legislative District 45

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