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Korsmo’s news roundup: The state of things

As we prepare to launch full steam into another week, here now the news sure to inform and delight. Ok, not so much delight. At least I didn’t say tickle.

Special Session not Special: Late last week it looked as though a budget deal might be nigh, but by the end a certain House leader was saying something about June and waiting for the next revenue report if folks couldn’t simmer down. So, we head into our third week of the session with little momentum on a budget. In the end, we will come back to the dreaded “t” word while our love affair with sales tax continues to disappoint.

One sticking point left in the budget is whether to consolidate teachers’ health plans. There are mixed reviews as to the savings, but other states have used this kind of consolidation to lower administrative costs and increase the transparency in the system. For now, it’s still on the table – it, being Senate Bill 6442.

Despite throwing down a threat to start vetoing bills, the Governor has been signing mode. This past week she put her John Hancock on the WaKids bill. Statewide implementation of the (not an assessment!) inventory of kindergarten readiness must be phased in statewide and will be required for full day kindergarten by 2017-2018.

The Governor’s pen was busy, she also signed the “Collaborative Schools” bill last week. Starting next year a few struggling elementary schools can become teaching “laboratories.”

Seattleicious: The Seattle School Board has decided to make good on their contract with Teach for America after all. Not even a full year into the three year contract, some on the board were threatening to pull the plug.

The School District has created a new ombudsman position – to give parents a “go to” person they can call when they’re not sure where else to go.

State of Things:

  • Tacoma seniors are feeling the effects of the 8 day teachers strike that started this year. Most will have to attend Saturday school to make up for lost time.
  • Washington ranks second in regulating home child care. Although a C+ isn’t much to brag about.
  • Graduation rates are up, but not enough to call it good.
  • Olympia Schools has narrowed their superintendent search to three.

Hot Fresh Politics:

  • Pretty sure that this is not what Jay Inslee meant when he stepped down from Congress to run for Governor.
  • On the trail in central Washington, Inslee linked economic opportunity to education.
  • Meanwhile the Democrats running to fill Inslee’s shoes are first filling out a questionnaire that includes education reform.

Elsewhere:

  • Joel Klein and Condoleeza Rice think our education woes are a national security problem.
  • Brazil is trying on a new anti-truancy campaign. Kids are wearing t-shirts with computer chips in them intended to track whether they are in class. Gives a whole new meaning to one of my pet phrases, “wear the t-shirt.” And I’m not sure it’s in a good way.
  • High school graduation rates are up nationwide, but still lagging for some.
  • The education divide is a growing between rich and poor.
  • Colorado is working to improve early literacy – and shows some of the policy struggles along the way.

 Well, friends, that should sustain and nourish until next time. Until then, thanks for all you do to help Washington’s kids and stay tuned for more from Olympia.

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2 Comments

  1. Charlie Mas March 26, 2012

    “Graduation rates are up, but not enough to call it good.”

    When will it be enough to call it good? Where’s the finish line?

    reply
  2. Dylan Dentremont March 26, 2012

    Well, I would say the finish line, the goal, should be 100%. I realize that is a very difficult number to achieve for all but the smallest school districts.

    The 5 best-performing states in the nation in terms of graduation rates are all above 85%. We are number 38 (this is according to 2008-09 numbers from the National Center for Education Statistics), with a graduation rate of less than 75%.

    I agree with the linked article above; we can do better.

    reply

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