Korsmo’s news roundup: The gift that keeps giving

Korsmo’s news roundup: The gift that keeps giving

Let’s not bury the lede in pithy metaphors of unicorns and seal pups, the teacher/principal evaluation bill passed this week by an overwhelming majority and is on its way to the Governor! The new law will require evaluations to consider  student growth and will utilize evaluations in decisions about tenure, layoffs and firing. This is a huge victory and a great step in forward for Washington’s kids. Like all things change, this is not a silver bullet or a panacea or the single answer, but it provides a great foundation in our goal of giving teachers the tools they need to succeed with our kids.

(At this writing, WaKids passed the Senate, but was amended and needs to go back over to the House for concurrence, which is expected. Two huge victories for kids this week.)

Gift Horse: If you thought last week’s exchange between Nick Hanauer and Mary Lindquist was just a one off thing, think again. It’s the gift that keeps giving. Over at the United Faculty of Washington State, the standard pro-union arguments get made. Another major Democratic contributor chimes in to support the position Hanauer took. And the Op-ed writers kinda love this discussion.  Looking forward to where it goes from here.

Moolah: Senate Democrats released their state budget this week and McClear-ly, they paid attention to the most recent Supreme Court ruling on education funding. The budget spares K-12 and higher education, preserves state need grants and generally moves us in the right direction after years of deep cuts. This is another step in the budget process, where House and Senate versions have to find enough votes – which will mean compromise – but this budget stopped the bleeding for education funding.  Meanwhile, local levies went to ballot and won… of the 157 levies on the ballot 152 passed. Voters approved $2.6 billion in ed funding and $1.2 billion was the result of the other gift that keeps giving, “simple majority.”

Movin’ on: Interim Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools, Susan Enfield, was the belle of the ball for a few minutes there.  Not one to linger on the stairs while the dancing goes on, Enfield has elected to go to  Highline where she will be Superintendent beginning in July.  “Alignment” with the board was a strong part of her decision making – and presumably a clear set of procedures governing how the board interacts with the Super. Godspeed, Susan.  Go get it right!

Retiring Types: Some notables are hanging up their gloves. State Reps, Mary Lou Dickerson and Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney – both Democrats – are leaving the state house for greener pastures. Congressman Norm Dicks is also retiring. The Bremerton Democrat surprised some by announcing that 36 years is enough. And on the other side of the country, Olympia Snowe dropped jaws when she announced earlier this week that she won’t run again to represent Maine in the US Senate. A moderate Republican, the last of a dying breed in Congress, Snowe has apparently had it with polarization and the regressive focus of the hard right of her party. Sadly, there aren’t moderate replacements on the horizon – Snowe will be missed.

Tid Bits:

  • You waiver junkies out there – and you know who you are – can dig a bit deeper into states’ ESEA waivers to compare and contrast.
  • What does it mean to have a “high value-add” teacher?
  • San Francisco stops the madness.
  • Ohhhhh, NOW I get it. It’s the kids’ fault.

My son informed me this week that they officially celebrated the 100th day of school. Holy cats! Where did the time go? (Easily measured in the number of shoes and pants outworn, but geeze) Our kids are more than half way to the school year finish line. When’s the last time you dropped into your child’s school?  It’s always a good time to support your teachers and school leaders. Thanks to all for your hard work in support of Washington’s kids. We continue to make progress.

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  1. Lori Pittman March 3, 2012

    This is the only thing to be happy about! Last night the Senate Republicans and a few Democrats exercised the worst abuse of power I have ever witnessed in the legislature. They acted against the citizens of Washington and took away their voice. This is digusting and lacks integrity. Washinton residents should be OUTRAGED! The budget they passed last night widens the achievement/opportunity gap! Hurts children, education and families!

    • Leonard March 4, 2012

      Rodney Tom is carrying water for the League of Education voters. Rodney Tom prefers backdoor deals to further the charter agenda. I believe Rodney Tom will try and pass charter legislation with the budget.

      So much for democracy.

  2. LEV March 4, 2012

    We want to remind everyone of the rules of this blog: Be respectful. Be civil. Stick to the facts or even your feelings (hey, this *is* Washington).

    You are really smart folks who know how to argue your points. If you want to spend hours on the web debating policy and comment on every post, that’s your choice. Fantasic. But be respectful. Be civil. You might even give someone a break – or consider their point of view.

    Consider your intention when posting: Are you trying to influence or are you trying to insult? If it’s the latter, you will most likely find your post – and you – removed.

    We respect your choice to disagree with us and with other organizations or political parties or politicians or commenters. We respect your choice to voice it. But if you are going to be disrespectful, it won’t be on our blog. You will be removed and your comment will be deleted.

    The definitions of all of this remains with us. We’ll do our best to be reasonable, just as we’ve asked you to be.

    Be safe out there.

    • Charlie Mas March 6, 2012

      I guess my comment got lost in some glitch. I wrote to thank LEV for reminding Ms Korsmo to be respectful, civil, and stick to the facts. It would be a big bonus if she would ever consider the other point of view.

      LEV writes “But if you are going to be disrespectful, it won’t be on our blog.” I look forward to seeing your writers stick to that rule.

      • LEV March 7, 2012

        No, Charlie, we deleted your comment. We respect your right to disagree with us – and Chris – but if you are going to comment, you will follow the rules for our comment section or we will delete it.

  3. John March 4, 2012

    Have standardized tests been shown to be an accurate measure of teacher competence? My understanding is they weren’t designed for that use.

  4. Charlie Mas March 5, 2012

    Interesting story about the San Francisco school district’s effort to stabilize the teaching corps at high turnover schools in low-income neighborhoods. Too bad they didn’t try to do it with the union’s cooperation.

    That’s how we did it here in Seattle. The union and the district agreed in advance, as part of the Flight Schools effort supported by the WEA, to exempt teachers working in high turnover schools in low-income neighborhoods from seniority-based layoffs. The union was all for it – it was their idea. The effort also included home visits by teachers – also the union’s idea – and other efforts to engage families.

    This story from San Francisco is about conflict between the union. That didn’t happen here because the union and the district worked together. Talk about “stop the madness”. We need to stop the madness of the district trying to change the contract without negotiating the change with the union. We need to stop the madness of putting the district and the teachers in conflict when they could be working together – as they do here in Seattle.

  5. Charlie Mas March 6, 2012

    Here is a link to the Highline School District Policy and Procedure for The Board-Superintendent Relationship

    The policies and procedures actually are good and clear. Highline’s 1620 is similar to Seattle’s policy 1620. The difference really comes in the procedure.

    It’s interesting to note that the Highline procedure assigns the board the duty to review district operations to assure compliance with district policy and to establish criteria and processes for evaluating staff. The Highline board is supposed to be very hands-on.


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