Korsmo’s news roundup: Tinkering toward transformation


I mean that in the most loving way possible. Of course. Check out the LEV team in full April Fool’s swag – we zombified the LEV page. There’s a hostile take-over. Undead teachers testify at hearings. And more. Get your prank on.

No News is… News?: The budget impasse drags on in Oly. By most accounts, it’s not so much the dollar figure(s), but policy matters gumming up the works. Pensions, the teachers’ health insurance plan, revenue, when and how payments get made, health care for the poor and a few other issues need hammering out. This special session hasn’t been so very special and at the moment, it’s not clear they can wrap it up by the 10th. For her part, the Governor has made good use of the pen. She had a marathon bill signing session last week – inking the proverbial John Hancock to over 100 bills. Previous threats to veto bills as a way to get the attention of budget negotiators seems to have fallen by the wayside.

Hot, Fresh Politics: If you’re tracking the race for Governor, the place to be last week was the Alliance for Education’s breakfast. Both candidates were given time on the stage to answer questions about their education platforms. Jay Inslee (D) surprised some by saying that the new evaluation system should play a “significant” role in hiring and firing decisions. Inslee’s positions are evolving and he promised an education plan in the next week or so. For his part, Rob McKenna (R) continued the drumbeat on making education a top priority for the state and also touted the new evaluation system as a good step forward. Though he wasn’t specific, McKenna said we should be using more of the things we know work – that work elsewhere – in closing the achievement gap and in improving results for all kids. The candidates didn’t debate, but took turns on the stage answering the same set of questions.  This one is just getting started.

Room for Improvement: The title of a new study from the Center on Reinventing Public Education says it all; “Tinkering Toward Transformation.” Sort of like “Eating Your Way to Thin.” The study looks at the results of implementation of the federal school improvement grants in Washington state. While some schools have had success, overall the results are not what one would hope. The study puts a lot of the onus on districts’ lack of planning, tight timelines, limited school autonomy and a “kitchen sink” approach to turning schools around. Some of these same issues will most certainly arise in Seattle’s approach to innovation – Creative Approach Schools. Schools can gain some measure of autonomy in doing things differently – if 80% of the faculty agree on the approach. Originally intended to be a tool for transformation – this was an element of the Families and Education Levy plan, and one that carried a lot of promise, for a minute – the mega-majority requirement all but dooms its use in schools where a majority struggle or are behind. (In a test of the 80% threshold, I conducted a survey and I disagree with myself at least 34% of the time.)

Washington Nuggets:

Not From Here:

  • Denver schools are trying out a new early warning system
  • More parents are borrowing money to pay tuition – for their K-12 kids.
  • NYC students won’t have these words to kick around anymore.
  • Who trusts science? You might be surprised. (HT to JB)

That’s it friends. Sure, there’s more. But I’m minutes away from six year olds playing what only a very generous heart could call soccer. Have a great Sunday. And seriously. Play a joke.

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  1. Melissa Westbrook April 2, 2012

    “…the mega-majority requirement all but dooms its use in schools where a majority struggle or are behind.”

    And you know this how?


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