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McCleary Resources

In McCleary v. State of Washington, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that the State of Washington is violating the constitutional rights of students by failing to amply fund basic education. The Court ordered the Legislature to make “steady, real, and measurable” progress each year to fully fund K-12 public education by 2018.  Below are resources that will help clarify the debate over education funding.

Definition of Basic Education

Glossary of Key Education Terms

Presentations on education funding by the LEV Policy Team:

  1. I Can See McClear-ly Now: A look at the education funding debate in Washington, gives you an in-depth look at how we got where we are today.
  2. We Can Work it Out: A long and winding road to funding basic education, covers whether our current education funding structure is fair and whether the system benefits all kids.

LEVinar on The McCleary Task Force: What to Expect Archived Recording | Presentation Slides

McCleary Education Funding Task Force Duties and Responsibilities

Senate Bill 6195, which created the Education Funding Task Force

Our view on NPR Education’s School Money series: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Posted in: Blog, Funding, Legislative session

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What Is Basic Education?

Classroom Students

By the LEV Policy Team

In Washington state, it is the state’s “paramount duty” to fund a program of basic education for all students. It is the Legislature’s responsibility to define that program of basic education. The Legislature has established goals for the education system, as well as a program intended to achieve those goals. The program of basic education can be changed and added to. It may only be reduced for educational reasons, not financial reasons. The instructional program of basic education is provided through the K-12 system, as well as in juvenile detention facilities, residential facilities, and adult correctional facilities (RCW 28A.150.200).

The Goals of Basic Education (RCW 28A.150.210)

  1. Read with comprehension, write effectively, and communicate successfully in a variety of ways and settings and with a variety of audiences;
  2. Know and apply the core concepts and principles of mathematics; social, physical, and life sciences; civics and history, including different cultures and participation in representative government; geography; arts; and health and fitness;
  3. Think analytically, logically, and creatively, and to integrate technology literacy and fluency as well as different experiences and knowledge to form reasoned judgments and solve problems; and
  4. Understand the importance of work and finance and how performance, effort, and decisions directly affect future career and educational opportunities.

The Program of Basic Education (RCW 28A.150.220)

The program of basic education is the legislatively defined basic education that the state must fully fund. Districts must use state funding to provide all of the following components to students.


•   1,000 hours of instruction for full-day Kindergarten (being phased in)

•   1,000 hours of instruction for grades 1-8 (districtwide average)*

•   1,080 hours of instruction for grades 9-12 (districtwide average)*

•   At least 180 school days

*Can be calculated as districtwide average of 1,027 hours grades 1-12


•    Instruction in the Essential Academic Learning Requirements (adopted by Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction)

o The Arts

o English Language Arts (Common Core)

o English Language Proficiency

o Early Learning

o Math (Common Core)

o Science

o Social Studies

o Educational Technology

o Health and Physical Education

o Integrated Environment and Sustainability

o World Languages

•    The opportunity to complete 24 credits for a high school diploma


•   Learning Assistance Program—supplemental instruction for “underachieving” students

•   Transitional Bilingual Instructional Program—supplemental instruction for English Language Learners

•   Special Education—appropriate education and supports for students with disabilities

•   Highly Capable Program—programs for highly capable students

•   Transportation (RCW 28A.150.200)

Components provided in the prototypical school funding formula (RCW 28A.150.260), such as Materials, Supplies, and Operating Costs (MSOC) or specific staffing ratio­­s do not constitute the program of basic education. They represent the Legislature’s assumptions of what resources are required to provide the program of basic education, but districts may choose to deliver the program in a different way.

Basic Education Compliance

Each district must certify to the State Board of Education that it is providing students with the minimum requirements of the basic education act. Districts must report that they provide:

  • K-12 students with 180 days of instruction
  • Kindergarten students with either 450 or 1,000 instructional hours, depending on full-day Kindergarten phase-in
  • Grades 1-8 students with a districtwide average of 1,000 instructional hours and grades 9-12 students with a districtwide average of 1,080 instructional hours, OR a districtwide average of 1,027 hours across grades 1-12
  • The opportunity to complete a 24-credit high school diploma

Instructional Hours: the definition of instructional hour is time in the school day from the beginning of the first period class to the end of the last period class, except for time spent on meals. Passing time and recess are counted as instructional time.

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Posted in: Blog, Funding, Money Matters

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Comments to OSPI regarding proposed revisions to the Teacher & Principal Evaluation Program (TPEP)

July 7, 2016

Sue Anderson
Director of Educator Effectiveness
600 Washington St SE
Olympia, WA 98501

Dear Ms. Anderson,

By this letter, the League of Education Voters (LEV) is providing comments on the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s proposed revisions to Washington Administrative Code 392-191A, regarding the Teacher & Principal Evaluation Program, that will be discussed at the July 7, 2016 OSPI rules hearing. LEV supports efforts to create a more meaningful evaluation system that drives continuous improvement and has some concerns regarding the proposed changes to the current rules and the rulemaking process.

I. Transparency & Community Engagement

Transparency and community engagement should be embedded in the process for updating the rules governing TPEP and should be reflected in the updated rules adopted by OSPI.

  • The lack of public and stakeholder engagement outside of the steering committee members is a We appreciate the time and work the steering committee has undoubtedly devoted to this topic. For any individuals or organizations not on the steering committee, however, it is very difficult to know about any changes that are being considered. We became aware of the proposed revisions less than 48 hours before the hearing will be taking place. Many stakeholders beyond the steering committee were involved in the legislation creating TPEP and many more beyond that may be interested. More meaningful outreach and engagement should be done with families, students, and communities.
  • Given that low-income students and students of color are usually served by less experienced teachers and are in schools with higher teacher turnover, has there been any analysis on whether these proposed changes would have a disproportionate impact on low-income communities and communities of color?
  • It is unclear in the proposed language how focused evaluation scores will be The draft rules propose that a comprehensive evaluation rating will be the rating on record for a teacher when they are on a focused evaluation, but remain silent on how this will impact reporting of scores earned on the focused evaluations. Consistent with current practice, we believe that all scores earned though comprehensive or focused evaluations should be reported to OSPI, and this practice should be clarified in the new rule.

II. Continuous Improvement and Consistency in the Process

The evaluation system and its complementary components should consistently reflect a philosophy of continuous improvement that focuses on improving teacher and principal quality to better support students in their educational experience.

  • To remain consistent with the philosophy of continuous improvement, the focused evaluations should drive towards growth in areas that would most improve instructional practice and student The rules should establish and clarify that when an evaluator selects a criteria for the focused evaluation the criteria selected should be determined by which focus area would most improve an individual’s instructional practice.
  • Do the proposed changes create a system where a teacher’s evaluation score of record can be improved but not lowered through the focused evaluation? If so, we feel this and should be A teacher or principal’s score of record should either 1) remain constant between comprehensive evaluations to enable a focus on areas with the greatest potential for growth or 2) be adjustable (either higher or lower) between comprehensive evaluations.
  • Do the proposed changes to the definition of ‘observe or observation’ create the possibility for no actual classroom observations to take place? What is the minimum criteria for what counts as an observation? A minimum floor should be established for what constitutes an observation that supports districts that want to implement more robust evaluations and feedback for teachers and principals to support them in their professional growth.

Thank you for your work and for your consideration.


Amy Y. Liu
Policy Director

League of Education Voters
2734 Westlake Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109

Posted in: Blog, Teacher Prep

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