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Korsmo’s Weekly Roundup: January 23

Ok. Let’s get the obvious out of the way. My Packers are not going to the Super Bowl. You might think I’d like to just avoid the topic and move on—you’re right. But what I learned about conflict and loss a long time ago is that moving on without reflection doesn’t teach you anything. So, let’s learn something—and use sports metaphors!

What Happens Early Sets the Tone: I could have named this “seven is more than three,” but it doesn’t completely work here. (And it didn’t work Sunday either. First quarter. Fourth and goal from the one. This is the opportunity to define who you are and will be. It did.) It is fourth and goal for our three- and four-year-olds. Time to call the play, and it’s a no brainer—leave the field goal unit on the sideline and go all in.

Here’s why: New data from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) highlight findings from the Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (or WaKids). The data show that in literacy, kids largely start kindergarten where they should—nearly 80 percent exhibit skills like rhyming, recognition and naming of up to 10 letters, and recall of familiar stories. But they also show that gaps already exist between ethnic and economic groupings—and overall math proficiency for everyone hovers just over 50 percent. This all but makes the case for high-quality early learning being an essential part of a strong start. This week, both chambers introduced the Early Start Act, which builds an integrated system of early learning and provides incentives for a diverse group of providers to improve the quality—and close gaps. Next week, the Senate Education Committee will hear the bill Monday while the House will take it up on Wednesday. (more…)

Posted in: Legislative session, LEV News, Weekly Roundup

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Korsmo’s Weekly Roundup: January 16

It’s baaaaack. Just when you thought it was safe to go back into your inbox, here come your cheeky reflections on the news from Oly and beyond.

Much has happened since last we spoke. The Legislature is being held in contempt by the Supreme Court—pending meaningful investments in “basic education,” and a plan to implement those investments. The elections have colored Washington a shade more purple than blue, and an improving economy has Washington voters thinking that education is the issue of the day. Will that spell good news for those of us wanting to see smart investments in the education continuum? Will Early Learning be the new Netflix series? Will the cheese be mightier than the hawk?? These and other questions will resolve themselves over the next few months.

But first, a look at the big themes of the session. (You can track the details here, where we describe the bills of note and what’s going on with them.)

Necessary but not sufficient: With all due respect to the K–12 system, the growing consensus is that if we are really going to prepare students to be meaningful contributors to our democracy and society, a high school diploma isn’t enough. Our view is that “basic education” is a continuum beginning early on—pre-k at the latest—and extending into higher education. We are not alone.

You say you want a revolution: According to some, our tax system (Yes, that WAS the opaque reference to the Revolution. Bonus points for those of you still with me. There WILL be prizes at the end. I swear. Really.) is kinda outta whack. Some would say it’s the worst in the country. While Senate Republicans don’t want to go gently into that taxing night, taxes will be front and center.

Sharing is caring: The closely divided Legislature provides some unique opportunities for shared leadership. Bi-partisan leadership may feel like a legacy from the past, but if we are going to see results our kids need and the Court is demanding this session, policy leaders will have to reach across the aisle to get the job done.

Trends to watch out for: Testing, testing. Free college isn’t just the President’s “thing.” It’s our thing. Early Learning WILL be the new Netflix series.

Miscellany:

Well, kids, that’s it for this first week of the session. Join us again next week when I wax on about my Packers going to the Super Bowl. And the first time a bill gets “Roached.”

As always, thanks for all you do on behalf of Washington’s kids—however old they might be. We couldn’t do it without you.

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.

Posted in: Blog, Legislative session, LEV News

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Statement from Chris Korsmo on I-1351

While the Initiative 1351 votes are still trickling in, it’s clear that what everyone thought was a slam dunk is looking more like a shot from mid-court.

From pre-election polling we know that the more voters learned about I-1351, the more concerns they had.

This fall voters heard from diverse groups—including the Children’s Alliance, Association of Washington School Principals, and every major editorial board across the state—all opposing I-1351.

Reasons for opposition included concerns about the price tag, the impact the initiative would have on other important state-supported social service programs, and the potential to preclude state’s ability to make investments in other proven education strategies, such as early learning and college readiness.

We were told by all the pundits that 1351 would win and win big. That doesn’t appear to be the case.

Win or lose, these margins aren’t indicative of the kind of voter mandate that is going to shake things up heading in the 2015 legislative session.

Instead, the results leave the door wide open for a conversation about the best next steps to create an ample, equitable, and stable plan to fund our public schools and ensure each and every student in our state with the opportunity for success.

Posted in: Blog, Funding, LEV News, Press Releases & Statements

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