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LEV Board votes to oppose I-1351: There is no silver bullet

Chris Korsmo, CEO, League of Education Voters

Chris Korsmo

The League of Education Voters (LEV) Board voted last week to oppose Initiative 1351, a statewide class-size reduction initiative on the November ballot.

Our founders authored and passed Initiative 728 in 2000, and LEV has always supported class-size reduction as one necessary, but not sufficient, gap-closing strategy for grades K–3 and high-poverty schools. Nine years later, we endorsed the re-definition of “basic education” developed by our State Legislature, which includes smaller class sizes of 17 in grades K–3 upon which McCleary v Washington is based.

So, given LEV’s history and commitment to smaller class sizes, why are we opposing I-1351?

We believe the pathway to providing a high-quality public education for all students begins with identifying and funding what works.

We know there is no single silver bullet that will close the opportunity and achievement gaps for Washington students. We believe I-1351 will preclude our ability to make investments in other proven strategies, such as early learning and college readiness.

High-quality early learning, including preschool and full-day kindergarten, can significantly reduce and prevent gaps in later years. LEV believes early learning is critical to a student’s success, which is why we fought, unsuccessfully, to include it in the 2009 re-definition of basic education.

Academic acceleration is another proven strategy to raise the academic achievement for all Washington students. Instead of just catching kids up, it pushes them forward. In Federal Way, the school district increased the number of low-income and minority students taking upper-level courses (Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses) by 2.5 times over a four-year period while holding exam passing rates steady.

As the leader of Washington’s only statewide advocacy organization that works to improve public education from early learning through higher education, I know that our state has the people, the resources, and the innovative spirit to create the best public education system in the world. But it’s going to take tough decisions from each of us to make it a reality.

This fall, we are talking with policymakers, community members, parents, and educators across Washington to discuss our vision for a high-quality public education system from cradle to career. I invite you to join us.

To learn more or join us at these meetings, please contact our State Field Director Kelly Munn.

Posted in: Blog, Closing the Gaps, Funding, Press Releases & Statements

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Korsmo’s Weekly Roundup, Week of 2/17-2/21


Greetings! Friday already. Where did the week go? For those of us mid-winter-breaking (No, I won’t go there again) (but if I did, it would be epic) the week went like this: create to-do list, set up playdates, have a near emotional breakdown when you realize that your to-do list is longer than the time allowed—in fact, it’s longer than your lifetime—make corndogs for playdates, hire help for to-do list, look into going to the museum to see the Lego exhibit, realize you don’t have time for Lego exhibit because of aforementioned to-do list, download “Guilt for Dummies,” because your kid is eating half-frozen corndogs and playing video while you’re scrubbing the floor from the “touch-up” paint you spilled and you’re not at the museum looking at Lego configurations that actually resemble something recognizable. And that was Tuesday. Onward! (more…)

Posted in: Blog, Career and College Ready Diploma, Closing the Gaps, Early Learning, Funding, Higher Education, Legislative session, LEV News, School Discipline, Weekly Roundup

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Korsmo’s Weekly Roundup, Week of 2/10-2/14


Happy first weekend AF. After football, of course. If your weekend seems empty or somehow meaningless because of the dearth of large men running into each other, try to focus on the Olympics. Did it bother anyone that this young man’s pants seemed to have kept him off the medal podium? And of course, there’s Valentine’s Day to focus on.

This week is one of those milestone weeks for the legislature. Having been without football for six entire days, we’ve dubbed it “half-time.” Bills must have moved out of committee in order to have a shot at getting to the governor’s desk (or the second half). That made this week something like the two-minute warning where defenses either dropped back into deep-zone coverage or played aggressive man-to-man. In any case, to get the score, you can check out our Bill Tracker, where you’ll find that early learning, career and college ready, equitable access to higher education, and help for homeless kids all made it to the second half.

Even I’m tired of the sports analogies. Now the news…. (more…)

Posted in: Blog, Legislative session, Weekly Roundup

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