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Korsmo’s Weekly Roundup: January 30

Well, two weeks’ worth of hype, including a ball-deflation flap, exes jawing about breaking bones, and a media day circus, is coming to a close. For my peeps here in Washington, it’s all about those ‘Hawks and defining dynasty. With my team out of the running, I was left to ponder bigger questions. Like, if the Seahawks were part of our State Legislature or administrative offices, what positions would they hold?

Let’s dispense with Coach Carroll quickly—he wouldn’t be in government. He’d be running a start-up that turns motivational speeches into chewing gum flavored to taste like “success,” “team,” “fun,” and “the 12s.” Russell Wilson is an easy choice to run the Department of Transportation. (You can’t swing a dirty sweat sock in this town without hitting one of his airline or auto dealership billboards.) Kam Chancellor would be a great Insurance Commissioner, because when he hits you, you’re reminded that you need insurance. Michael Bennett would Chair the House (sex) Education Committee. (Marshawn Lynch can join him as the Ranking Member of this committee.) The ‘Hawks’ orator-in-chief, Richard Sherman, makes a perfect fit in the Attorney General’s office.

On to the Ed News: You can always find the latest on education legislation here. And a piece on our priorities here.

Testing, Testing: There’s a fight brewing over testing, both here and in the other Washington. How much, when, what, and why, are among the questions of the day. In the midst of the tumult, it’s useful to remember the principles behind testing. Why do we test? Well, lots of answers there, but at its best, the assessment system determines whether kids are learning the standards, are at the appropriate learning target, whether there are gaps, and over time, whether those gaps are closing. The current brouhaha is one part frustration over how much time they take, one part worry about kids not graduating, and two or three parts distraction. (Speaking of distractions, someone might want to tell this political committee that the 1980s called and they want their mediocrity back? Ooops. Someone did!)

Don’t Put Baby in a Corner: And don’t expel them, either. After much reflection on how we discipline kids, the evidence points to intervention—being upstream from the “offending act”—as the most productive way to keep kids on track and out of trouble. Recent changes to discipline policies have provided an opportunity to go beyond just student behavior in the moment. New proposals on restraint and isolation for special-ed students seem long overdue.

You Want it When? Yesterday: You may think that Early Learning is the “new” black, or orange, or new anything. But its roots are deep and historic here in the US. Thankfully, early learning continues to get its fair amount of attention—consider the hearings this week in Olympia. Part of what makes early learning effective is attention to quality, starting with major attention to social-emotional learning. Another contributing element to quality is less well-discussed, but no less important: pay. If we want to continue to pay early learning instructors less than parking lot attendants, we ought not get too far in front of ourselves on quality.

Higher and Higher: Some folks in Oly want to create a new funding stream for higher education. This is a welcome alternative to changing current grants and scholarships into loan programs, which is also being floated. What else might the Legislature do to help community college students succeed? Just a few ideas.

Miscellany:

That’s it for this week, kids. Enjoy your Super Bowl and go ‘Hawks (they make me say that). As always, thanks for all you do in support of Washington’s kids!

Chris and Team LEV

P.S. Join me on March 26 at our annual breakfast. (They also make me say that.)

Korsmo’s Weekly Roundup is emailed to subscribers weekly and posted on our blog on Fridays during the 2015 legislative session. Sign up to receive Korsmo’s Weekly Roundup via email.

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