League of Education Voters http://educationvoters.org Building a quality public education system from cradle to career. Sat, 06 Feb 2016 23:36:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Korsmo’s Weekly Roundup: The First Bill Cutoff is Upon Us http://educationvoters.org/2016/02/05/korsmos-weekly-roundup-the-first-bill-cutoff-is-upon-us/ http://educationvoters.org/2016/02/05/korsmos-weekly-roundup-the-first-bill-cutoff-is-upon-us/#respond Sat, 06 Feb 2016 01:25:58 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=25114 Chris Korsmo, CEO, League of Education Voters

Chris Korsmo

It’s that time of year. Yes, there’s that football game. And the groundhog has done his thing. And the Iowa caucuses are thankfully in the rear view. But it’s the legislative calendar that has my attention. This week marks the first of many legislative deadlines. It’s the cut-off date for bills to be moved from the policy committee in their house of origin. In other words, let’s say you just told your kid to clean their room and they’re stalling. So you go to that all time parent favorite, the countdown. “You better get started on that room by the time I count to three or….” This cut off is roughly the equivalent of hitting “one” on the one to three countdown. They’re in the room assessing the damage. The real work hasn’t really started yet, but the wheels are turning and you can put your empty threat on hold.

Let’s check the progress:

  • On the charter school fix, the Senate has passed a bill over to the House where a group of legislators are working on a compromise they hope will move both sides to closure. Looks like a hearing on charters will take place in the House on February 19.
  • There’s all kinds of hot mess going on with assessments. Last year’s bill morphed into something unintelligible. And passed. The version that was originally introduced last year was also brought back under a new number and just to make things interesting a separate bill de-linking the statewide science exams from graduation requirements was also introduced. Take comfort, we’re not the only ones struggling with this issue.
  • Bills to close the achievement and opportunity gaps moved in both chambers. Representative Santos’ bill HB 1541  passed out of the House on a party line vote of 50 – 47, while Senator Litzow’s bill SB 6244 was exec’ed out of Committee. A side by side comparing these efforts can be found here.
  • Two of the Early Learning Action Alliance’s priority bills 6598 and 2716 passed out of their policy committees. Both expand Working Connections Child Care to provide continuity of care to vulnerable children.
  • SB 6408 focused on additional training to para-educators passed out of the Senate Ed Committee.
  • The “plan to plan” for McCleary SB 6195 and HB 2366 are both alive, with the Senate version getting out of committee and the House bill passing through the chamber. The sticking point remains the over-reliance on local levies – made stickier by the fact that it’s hard to know what local levies are used for.
  • On the higher ed front, folks are tripping all over themselves to provide free community college. The House version passed out of Committee with amendments.
  • There’s more, a whole lot of it, and you can find the aforementioned more in our bill tracker, here. Remember, dear ones, that just because a bill doesn’t make the deadline doesn’t mean the issue is absolutely, totally and completely dead. Bills turn into amendments, amendments turn into budget provisos, and rules become guidelines. So, stay tuned.

 

As lots of good (and some not so good) ideas are making their way through the legislature, newly released data out on homelessness reminds us that we need to continue to be creative and committed to ALL of our kids. With nearly 35,000 homeless kids in Washington, we’re going to need to double down on finding solutions for all our kids to be served. Still, there’s no dearth of folks getting in line to lead the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

 

Other good reads:

  • What’s that degree worth? And for those of you with a statistics degree, trythis.
  • Social Emotional Learning (SEL) practice extends beyond the school day.
  • Even though we don’t want to count the state science tests, new views ofSaturn could inspire our re-thinking on the importance of science.

 

Ok, kids, that’s it for today. Have a wonderful weekend. Here’s hoping the Super Bowl ads live up to the hype.  And happy Lunar New Year.

 

Chris

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Side-by-Side Comparison of Senate and House Levy Cliff Proposals http://educationvoters.org/2016/02/05/side-by-side-comparison-of-senate-and-house-levy-cliff-proposals/ http://educationvoters.org/2016/02/05/side-by-side-comparison-of-senate-and-house-levy-cliff-proposals/#respond Fri, 05 Feb 2016 22:01:34 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=25106 Levy Cliff

Three bills concerning the Levy Cliff have been proposed in the state Senate and House.  Here’s a comparison of Levy Cliff Proposals 6183 (McAuliffe D-1), 6353 (Rivers R-18) and 2698 (Lytton D-40).

For all the bills proposed this session, check out our 2016 Bill Tracker.

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Why a Charter School Opponent became a Charter School Parent http://educationvoters.org/2016/02/05/why-a-charter-school-opponent-became-a-charter-school-parent/ http://educationvoters.org/2016/02/05/why-a-charter-school-opponent-became-a-charter-school-parent/#respond Fri, 05 Feb 2016 18:13:57 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=25100 By Melissa Pailthorp

Melissa Pailthorp

Almost precisely one year ago, my daughter announced that she would not attend the traditional public high school we’d secured for her, rather, she wanted to attend Sierra Summit Public School, one of our state’s first charter schools.  I had voted no twice on charters.  I am generally pro-labor.  I’m adamant and actively committed to strengthening public schools through work on the levies campaign and serving on our other school’s PTSA board.  My daughter would be giving up one of our city’s destination public high schools with its strong academics, robust extra-curriculars and an amazing music program.  I think she’d probably thrive at that school.  She wanted a smaller institution and had found the inadvertent segregation of her middle school offensive and unfair, even if it worked okay for her.  I applauded her sense of justice, but still wasn’t sure that her inclination toward this choice was a good thing.

As we dug in, I learned a lot.  All charters in Washington must choose all students by blind lottery to allow opportunity for all.   All charters in Washington must be operated by nonprofit organizations.  They are not by definition anti-union (Washington’s charter law prevents this and Green Dot schools, the parent entity of Destiny School in Tacoma, are unionized).  They pay competitive salaries.  The pioneering educational leaders behind these schools are some of the state’s most committed, accomplished and well-regarded public school educators in the field.  Authorized charters have specific and aggressive accountability for student progress governed by their contract and consistent with state standards.  Moreover, the school my daughter chose had a proven model that worked for an incredible range of kids across seven different locations in California, evidenced by four-year college acceptance rates of more than 94% year on year.   Project-based and self-driven learning guide the curriculum, not the technology that helps deliver the content, although that technology enables both scale and teaching to individual kids as well as amazing collaboration between teachers across campuses.  My kid could attend a school where all kids – regardless of where they were when they came in the door – would be learning together in ways appropriate to each.  My kid would benefit hugely from truly and deeply engaging in the most diverse student body she’s ever encountered.  Having lived in south Seattle most of my life, both watching and participating in the multitude of efforts and machinations to improve struggling, segregated schools, I decided I was comfortable with – and proud of – my daughter’s decision to give Summit a go.

Fast forward one year and we find ourselves ensconced in a battle I never imagined would be part of our experience – and which I cannot help but support.  My advocacy is compelled by the constant refrain from political leaders across the spectrum who pledge their focus and devotion to closing the achievement gap, yet we continue to lead the nation in the disparities in our schools, impacting kids today.  It’s inspired by incredible academic growth now of many of my daughter’s peers who have never felt successful in school, and their caring families showing their commitment to these schools, while some decision makers defer action given the need to eventually (maybe next session) find the solution(s) to McCleary.  I’m appalled that instead of embracing and learning from the pedagogical models that are yielding early, incredible progress with the amazing spectrum of kids at these schools on a financial model that is feasible at public funding levels, we’re at risk of leaving a solution for charters on the legislative table.  We need broadly accessible, scaleable ways to successfully educate all our kids well, with consistency and coherence for families…so how can we not support these efforts?!!

It’s not fair to ask the kids and parents who simply want this option, one that works for their kids today, to endure status quo and wait for the day when things will be better – unless you’re willing to put your kid in the same situation as theirs.  I’m not.

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Side-by-Side Comparison of Washington Promise Program Bills proposed in the House and Senate http://educationvoters.org/2016/01/28/side-by-side-comparison-of-washington-promise-program-bills-proposed-in-the-house-and-senate/ http://educationvoters.org/2016/01/28/side-by-side-comparison-of-washington-promise-program-bills-proposed-in-the-house-and-senate/#respond Thu, 28 Jan 2016 19:21:31 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=25050 iStock_000005055351_Medium

The Washington Promise Program provides a tuition waiver for certain Washington residents to attend one of the 34 community and technical colleges in the state.  Here is a side-by-side comparison of the Senate and House versions.

For all the bills proposed this session, check out our 2016 Bill Tracker.

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Side-by-Side Comparison of Opportunity Gap Bills proposed in the House and Senate http://educationvoters.org/2016/01/27/side-by-side-comparison-of-opportunity-gap-bills-proposed-in-the-house-and-senate/ http://educationvoters.org/2016/01/27/side-by-side-comparison-of-opportunity-gap-bills-proposed-in-the-house-and-senate/#respond Wed, 27 Jan 2016 19:02:35 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=25042 school-children-300

Three bills concerning closing the opportunity gap have been proposed in the state House and Senate. Here’s how HB 1541 (Santos D-37 and Ortiz-Self D-21) compares with SB 6192 (McCoy D-38 and Rolfes D-23) and SB 6244 (Litzow R-41 and Fain R-47).

For all the bills proposed this session, check out our 2016 Bill Tracker.

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2016 Parent & Community Training Highlights http://educationvoters.org/2016/01/25/2016-parent-community-training-highlights/ http://educationvoters.org/2016/01/25/2016-parent-community-training-highlights/#respond Tue, 26 Jan 2016 00:37:36 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=25030 Thank you to everyone who attended our 2016 Parent and Community Training!  We couldn’t have done it without you.

Check out the slides here by Duncan Taylor, who led a workshop called The Dollar Dance on education funding.

See LEV Field Director Kelly Munn’s Advocacy 101 presentation here.

Jolenta Coleman’s excellent Financial Aid 101 slides are here.

We will add more presentation slides as soon as we get them.  In the meantime, here are a few photos:

Jene Jones of LEV Government Relations, Dave Gering of the Manufacturing Industry Council, Thomas Mosby of Highline Public Schools Career Pathways and Partnerships, Chance Gower of Highline Public Schools Career Technical Education, and Highline CTE student Kyla, who is taking dental assistant classes

Beyond High School: A Panel on Career Technical Education featuring Jene Jones of LEV Government Relations, Dave Gering of the Manufacturing Industry Council, Thomas Mosby of Highline Public Schools Career Pathways and Partnerships, Chance Gower of Highline Public Schools Career Technical Education, and Highline CTE student Kyla, who is taking dental assistant classes

 

Robin Tatsuda, Program Supervisor of the Arc of King County's Parent to Parent Support program, leads a worshop on how to advocate for your special needs child

Robin Tatsuda, Program Supervisor of the Arc of King County’s Parent to Parent Support program, leads a workshop on how to advocate for your special needs child

 

Senator Joe Fain (center) is joined by parents and students from Excel and Rainier Prep charter schools for a roundtable on how charter schools have impacted their lives

Senator Joe Fain (center) is joined by parents and students from Excel and Rainier Prep charter schools for a roundtable on how charter schools have impacted their lives

 

Parent Organizing Groups panel featuring LEV Field Director Kelly Munn with parent organizers Margarita, BJ and Fatima

Parent Organizing Groups panel featuring LEV Field Director Kelly Munn with parent organizers Margarita, BJ and Fatima

 

Financial Aid 101 workshop presented by LEV senior policy analyst Jolenta Coleman

Financial Aid 101 workshop presented by LEV senior policy analyst Jolenta Coleman

 

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Korsmo’s Weekly Roundup: Charters pass the Senate but no McCleary Deal http://educationvoters.org/2016/01/22/korsmos-weekly-roundup-charters-pass-the-senate-but-no-mccleary-deal/ http://educationvoters.org/2016/01/22/korsmos-weekly-roundup-charters-pass-the-senate-but-no-mccleary-deal/#respond Fri, 22 Jan 2016 23:27:16 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=25025 By Chris Korsmo

Chris Korsmo, CEO, League of Education Voters

Friends,

For those of you keeping count, it’s Oly Short Session, day number 10. Fifty days left to find a charter schools fix, prevent cutbacks to Career and Technical Education, address educational inequities and not talk about the elephant in the room, McCleary. But those aren’t the only education issues under consideration. You can find more on the bills introduced so far here.

The session is young, and so was a group of advocates who found themselves on the wrong end of a question normally reserved for parents. Behind closed doors. The content got a little, er, personal this week when a Washington legislator asked a group of teens whether they were virgins. It’s not quite as bad as Presidential hopeful Ben Carson telling a group of school kids to point at the “dumbest kid in the room” but it’s not exactly HIPPA compliant, either.

Charter News: The Senate took up SB 6194, addressing the charter school funding issues, this week. The bill passed out of the chamber on a 27-20 vote, and now moves over to the House. Thanks to Senators Mullet and Litzow for their leadership on the bill and for all who voted to support this effort to keep our charter schools alive and well.

McCleary News: This past week, State Budget Director David Schumacher said out loud what many have thought: no McCleary deal this year. While work is ongoing, including the recommendation for another legislative task force, a final deal isn’t imminent for two significant reasons. First, this isn’t a budget year. A kind of big deal if you’re going to be allocating money in the billions of dollars. Second, it’s an election year, making tax votes pretty tough. It would seem that not many years are great for tax votes… unless you’re voting to limit taxes. Which, as it turns out, is often unconstitutional.

Higher Ed News: A new focus on affordability seems to be the spotlight as a new House bill would make two years of college “accessible and affordable” by paying for community/technical college, and another attempt to make textbooks more affordable. Meanwhile, a new report highlights some success among Washington Community College students who transfer to four year schools completing their degrees. And the college admittance process gets a fresh look.

You can’t chalk it all up to STEM policy, but here’s some news that required STEM degrees:

  • Stephen Hawking scares the living daylights out of us.
  • Look! Up in the sky. It’s a new planet. And five old ones.
  • Dating a computer software engineer? Stop going Dutch.
  • Speaking of software engineers and other tech-based professions, Houston, we have a problem.

There’s more. Oh, so much more. But that’s all the time your intrepid writer has today. Thanks for all you do on behalf of our kids!

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Korsmo’s Weekly Roundup: It’s baaaaack for 2016 http://educationvoters.org/2016/01/15/korsmos-weekly-roundup-its-baaaaack-for-2016/ http://educationvoters.org/2016/01/15/korsmos-weekly-roundup-its-baaaaack-for-2016/#respond Sat, 16 Jan 2016 00:45:40 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=25006 By Chris Korsmo

Chris Korsmo, CEO, League of Education Voters

Well friends, it’s that time of year. Where endless possibility meets the constraining nature of time. Where Susie Sunshine and Boundless Optimism meet Mr. Pragmatic and Johnny Deal-Maker. To Recap: When we left our super-heroes of the Dome last summer, they’d added nearly $1.7 billion into K-12, fully funded College Bound Scholarships, passed the Early Start Act, and more. Shortly thereafter, the Supreme Court signaled their dismay that, despite fully funding the “buckets” of the Basic Education budget, in their view, the legislature left a few critical things undone. The plan to fully fund basic education wasn’t clearly articulated and the legislature didn’t touch the issue of compensation – which translates into reducing the reliance on local levies to pay for basic education. The Court imposed a $100,000 a day fine, the governor appointed a task force, and we all went on summer break, sun screen and calculators in hand, ready to fight another day.

At the tail end of the summer, just as the school year was getting underway in our public charter schools, the Supremes levied their own blow to 1100 kids and families (see how levy can be a verb there? I thought so. More fun with double entendre later); they found that the schools didn’t meet the definition of “common school” and that they were unconstitutionally receiving money from the general fund. Schools scrambled to stay open, and with a little ingenuity, a lot of courage and a roll of poster paper, the school year has been uninterrupted. Big hat tip to Mary Walker School District for working with many of the charter schools as Alternative Learning Experiences, or ALEs, in order to maintain the public nature of the schools. Check out a couple of great public charter school TV ads here and here.

With the table set, the sixty day “short” session is under way and it already feels like the sprint we anticipated. You can find the news that matters – or at least the bills that have been introduced – here. While McCleary lurks like thick rolling fog in the background, the charter issue is front and center. Already this week, Senator Steve Litzow, chairman of the Education Committee, held a hearing on two bills to “fix the glitch.” The bills, one from Senator Billig of Spokane, and one from Senator Litzow of Mercer Island, differ in some significant ways, with Billig’s (SB 6163) focusing on school districts as authorizers and Litzow’s (SB 6194) focused on funding mechanisms. The Education Committee took executive action on SB 6194 Thursday and it is scheduled for action in Ways and Means Monday. A floor vote could take place next week in the Senate. Now would be a good time to sign the petition to keep these schools open, and provide our kids with more options.

Back to that rolling fog we call education funding. With the 2018 deadline looming large, the Court still waiting for a plan and local levies headed for a cliff, there remains a gap between solutions and urgency. In part because this is not a budget session. But it is an election year. And in part because we’ve saved the most difficult part for last.  Difficult and election year are like Cincinnati and Super Bowl. You’d like to think it’s possible, but…..

Other bills we supported this week include:

HB 1295 (Hudgins, D-11) Nutrition Programs, concerning breakfast after the bell programs

HB 1865 (Magendanz, R-5) Vision Screenings, concerning visual screenings in schools

HB 1345 (Lytton, D-40, Professional Learning, adopting a definition and standards of professional learning

Here’s what we’re watching out for next week:

HB 2214 (Reykdal, D-22) Assessments, streamlines assessment requirements for purposes of high school graduation

HB 2556 (Hunt, R-2) Graduation Requirements, eliminating the certificate of academic achievement as a requirement for high school graduation

SB 6182 (McAuliffe, D-1) Graduation Requirements, delaying and potentially eliminating state assessments as a requirement for high school graduation

HB 2366 (Lytton, D-40) Education Funding, concerning basic education funding to address McCleary

SB 6195 (Rivers, R-18) Education Funding, concerning basic education funding to address McCleary

SB 6192 (McCoy, D-38) Opportunity Gap, implementing strategies to close the educational opportunity gap

HB 1541 (Santos, D-37) Opportunity Gap, implementing strategies to close the educational opportunity gap

SB 6244 (Litzow, R-41) Opportunity Gap, implementing strategies to close the educational opportunity gap

In other news:

  • Both the POTUS and the GAW (Governor of Washington) highlighted education in their “State of….” Speeches this week. Not that Superintendent of Public Instruction Dorn actually heard the Governor’s speech.
  • In news that will not come as a surprise to the folks at Summit Public Schools, mentors
  • Similarly, we’re not surprised that Nate Gibbs Bowling of Tacoma Public Schools is a national teacher of the year finalist. Congrats and good luck, Nate!
  • Adele. Just because.

There’s so much more – we didn’t even talk about the ‘Hawks or the Pack or David Bowie, or the scores of other bills introduced. But I would be truly remiss if I didn’t mention two upcoming events. Our annual activist training takes place January 23rd, check it out here. And our annual breakfast is March 31. Hope you can make it.  Thanks for tuning back in – and for all you do for our kids. See you next week and go Pack/Hawks!

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Education Advocate January 2016 http://educationvoters.org/2016/01/14/education-advocate-january-2016/ http://educationvoters.org/2016/01/14/education-advocate-january-2016/#respond Thu, 14 Jan 2016 23:55:39 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=25059

Greetings

Chris Korsmo
Chris Korsmo, CEO

Happy New Year! I hope your holidays were full of good cheer (and football). Now that 2016 has arrived, it’s full steam ahead into this short but important legislative session. Read our legislative priorities on our website.

I will begin my Weekly Roundup email series tomorrow—sign up via our website to receive those emails.  And do mark your calendar for the morning of March 31.  This year’s annual breakfast focuses on helping students find their personal pathways to career-ready success beyond K-12.  To register, contact Development Manager Jackie Schultz.

Finally, I would like to extend a big thank-you to all of our 2015 donors. You make our work possible. Thanks for all you do for kids. We couldn’t do it without you.
Chris Korsmo signature

Chris Korsmo

Save the Date for our Annual Breakfast

Save the date for our 2015 Annual Breakfast: March 26, 2015, at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel.Our 2016 Annual Breakfast, to support the LEV Foundation, will be held Thursday, March 31, at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel.

Join us for a conversation about the skills gap in education with Mike Sotelo, Founder of Consolidar, Plaza Bank and other business ventures, and Will Sarrett, Director of NewTech Skills Center-Spokane. Moderated by Colleen McAleer, President of the Washington Business Alliance. Learn more

Puget Sound Parent & Community Training

Access, Equity, & ExcellencePlease join us at our annual Puget Sound Parent & Community Training. The 2016 training will take place on January 23 at Highline College.

In Last year’s legislative session, elected officials directed over one billion dollars towards K-12 funding.

Where did the billion dollars go? How can you find out?  Panel topics will include:

The importance of career and technical education in meeting the needs of Washington businesses, The status of charter schools in Washington state, Education funding and update on McCleary, Advocacy for families of children with special needs (in English and Spanish),

Financial Aid 101, And a lunchtime panel on parent organizing in King County.

Learn more or register

Celebrating our donors

Thank you!Donations are made to the League of Education Voters (LEV) and the LEV Foundation by individuals, groups, and businesses throughout the community. These generous donations from those who believe in high-quality public education allow us to ensure measurable progress toward LEV’s vision that every student in Washington state has access to an excellent public education that provides the opportunity for success.

We’d like to take a moment to celebrate our supporters who donated to LEV or the LEV Foundation between July 1 and December 31 of last year. Thank you!

Get Involved

COMING UP

January 23, 2016 | Access, Equity, & Excellence: Annual Parent and Community Training, Highline College, Des Moines
March 31, 2016 | 2016 Annual Breakfast, Sheraton Hotel, Seattle


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Side-by-Side Comparison of Charter Schools Bills proposed in the Senate http://educationvoters.org/2016/01/13/side-by-side-comparison-of-charter-schools-bills-proposed-in-the-senate/ http://educationvoters.org/2016/01/13/side-by-side-comparison-of-charter-schools-bills-proposed-in-the-senate/#respond Thu, 14 Jan 2016 01:05:41 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=24973 ActNowkids

Two bills concerning charter schools have been proposed in the state Senate.  Here’s how SB 6194 (Litzow R-41) compares with SB 6163 (Billig D-3).

For all the bills proposed this session, check out our 2016 Bill Tracker.

 

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