Happy Friday to you all. As you’ve likely heard by now, this Sunday is “turn-your-clock-forward” day. While I’ve always wondered about this whole turn-the-clock-forward-and-back thing, one thing that is very obvious is its impact on my kiddo and elderly dog on the following Monday morning. This is a mixed bag, because the elderly dog, who normally rises at five, will now arise at six, owing to the clock manipulation. The 8-year-old, who normally gets up at seven, will have to be nudged, cajoled, called out, and more because eight is the new seven. Or is seven the new eight? In either case, I’ll have a cranky second grader. On the good side, I’ll actually be able to stay up to watch “The Blacklist.”
Enough about losing time, on to the little bit of time left in the legislative session:
Waivering: Will Washington beat the clock and maintain its waiver from requirements of ”No Child Left Behind” (NCLB)? I dunno. But right now I give it the same odds as Liza Minelli inviting Ellen DeGeneres to her holiday party. Recall that in order for schools to be exempt from calling themselves “failing” and writing letters to parents saying as much because the school hasn’t reached the 100% threshold for students testing at proficiency on state tests, the state needs to make changes to its teacher/principal evaluation program. (If you liked that run-on sentence, hang on for a bit.) State law currently allows for the use of state test data to be used in teacher evaluations—there is no mandate to do so and no threshold for how much it would count—but the Feds require the inclusion of said state test data in order to get and maintain a waiver. (See, I told ya. This stuff just doesn’t lend itself to short, crisp description. More William Carlos Williams than e.e. cummings.) This past week, teachers rallied against making the changes while the Governor reiterated his desire to require the use of state test data. At stake is control over some $40 million in funds targeted to support low-income kids. With the clock ticking, and at least one hour being lost to daylight savings, the pressure mounts.
Winding Down: Less than a week remains for the state legislature to wrap up its business. Both chambers have passed state supplemental budgets, sides have chosen negotiators, and it looks like we may see budget votes early next week. Meanwhile, we await further action on the “Meaningful High School Diploma,” SB 6552, and a small bucketful of other bills before the sine die. In addition, legislators owe the Supreme Court a plan for fully funding basic education as laid out in the McCleary decision by April 30. Looks more like the state will be asking for an extension to file the plan as of right now. Speaking of right now, we expect legislation to move between now and the end of the weekend—so stay tuned.
Winners: We saw a lot of local recognition being given to schools, organizations, and programs that work. First, the Roadmap Project held its first-ever awards ceremonies for the partners working in a nine-district area of South King County. Their aim to double the number of college certificates or degrees in this area by 2020 is a high bar. But folks are really pulling together to make it happen. iGrad, a dropout recovery program in Kent, received a national award for its efforts to improve education in the district. The state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction recognized 23 schools for implementing college and career readiness programs. Though no official recognition ensued, a major shout-out to Puyallup and Sequim school districts for planned expansions to their full-day kindergarten programs.
- An interesting lawsuit in California over teacher protections. You can follow the trial here.
- Big changes to the SAT—looking to make it more equitable. Will it work? Lots of food for thought.
- President Obama released his federal budget earlier this week. On the education front, Obama’s administration requested about $69 billion in discretionary funds for education. While that’s almost a 2 percent increase over last year, including funds for college financial aid, special education, early learning, and school safety, the NSBA says more funds are needed for Title I and special education. Another focus of his budget is improving the availability of workforce training.
- All in for early learning! Well, most in. Some aren’t convinced. But the President is, and so are we.
Happy Friday! Enjoy this glorious, one-hour-shorter weekend. And thanks for all you do on behalf of our kids.
Chris (and Team LEV)