My dad used to say “there are at least two sides to every story. But the truth is always somewhere in the middle.” As far as I could tell, he didn’t have telepathic powers, and if he did, I’m not sure he would have predicted the varied responses to the budget proposals released over this past week. The House has managed to push their proposal through the floor, while the Senate has bogged down a bit in a sea of amendments. The Senate is expected to clear their bill by early next week and then the real fun begins. Making one out of two. Like a legislative version of an arranged wedding from hell.
With only four weeks left until the curtain falls on the legislative session, and with both sides agreeing to a boatload of new cash into education, it might seem that there’s little to debate.
Well, kids, money can’t buy you love—something that should be abundantly clear to House Democrats, as this week’s political theatre on the ESEA waiver legislation showed. While nearly every other state has figured out how to include statewide testing as a measure—A measure, not THE measure—of student growth, (as a factor—A factor, not THE factor—in teacher evaluations) we are mired in one of the most roundabout debates to come this way in a while. Which is saying something for a place that makes up its mind by voting over and over again on issues until everyone is just plain weary of the whole darn thing.
Btw, folks are asking, which budget proposal is better? Well, depends which part of it you’re focused on. Both chambers put more than a billion dollars of new investments into education. The House version put more into Early Start and expanded access to higher ed through the State Need Grant; the Senate version lowered college tuition but did not expand the State Need Grant. Both fund full-day kindergarten (FDK) at close to the same rate. Both invest in class-size reduction—without explicitly funding initiative 1351—though the House version doesn’t actually require that the money be used for that purpose. Both fund materials, supplies, and operating costs (MSOC) at $741 million. And both fully fund the College Bound Scholarship program. The House version leaves a lot of money on the table for local bargaining. The Senate version leaves less. Neither addresses the Supreme Court’s admonition that it is the State’s responsibility to fully fund the staff it takes to run an education program and no one yet touches the use of local levies to backfill the state’s obligation. I look for both of those things to change in the coming weeks. Or as my dad would say, looking to find the middle ground here, where the truth lives.
Multimedia: Every day I receive links to podcasts, TED talks, YouTube videos, etc.—they may fill your inbox, too. Too often I don’t have the time carved out that these opportunities require. After experiencing the three I’ll share today, I’m re-thinking that. They’re not cute. Or funny. There are no cats playing pianos. And they will stay with you.
- How far is three miles? A world away.
- The lost kids of a Seattle school should be remembered.
- Think you’re color blind? Re-think.
That’s all for this week—there’s always more, and you can find some of it here. As always, thanks for all you do on behalf of Washington’s students.
Chris (and Team LEV)
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.