Yes, I know your name most likely isn’t Ed. But frankly, I’m all out of ways to insert “Ed” into some other word, creating a new word that emanates the faint smell of education improvement. I’ve also run out of words for “rain.” And “fog.” And “grey.” We are at that point in the Northwest where creativity runs a tiny bit low and impatience waiting for the end of winter grows. And grows. One more Facebook friend’s photos of Maui or Mexico and I’m unfriending everybody.
Enough crankypants. On the positive side, it’s hard to feel guilty about not pulling weeds. Here’s your news:
Unwaivering: Governor Inslee met with Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, last weekend in a Hail Mary attempt to convince the Secretary to give Washington a pass on necessary changes to its No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waiver. See, we’re past the NCLB deadline for all children to be meeting state standards and because we got a waiver, our schools don’t have to send home letters telling every parent in the state that their school is failing. That’s the crux of the deal. NCLB requires that all kids meet standard and if schools are below 100% success they’re supposed to notify parents. Washington, like nearly every other state, received a waiver from this requirement—so long as the state amps up its teacher/principal evaluation system. The feds require that state test results be used as a part of teacher evaluation. State law says that they “can” or “may” be used. “May” and “must” are as far apart as Hall and Oates and Macklemore. So too, it would seem, is our legislature. Far apart, that is. Duncan didn’t answer Inslee’s prayers, as the latter returned to Washington with news that the legislature needed to act. Inslee also took action, calling a meeting of legislative leaders to find an agreement. The Gov is optimistic that a resolution will be forthcoming. We hope he’s right as $40 million targeted toward supports for low-income kids is at stake.
Speaking of the aforementioned Duncan, he gave a holla to Seattle’s Cleveland High. Grad rates are up—as they are across the country. Some good news among the political ashes.
Budget Belts: In other news from Oly, the House and Senate released their supplemental budgets this week, with expected differences and starting-point similarities. House Democrats put $100 million into education, partially funded through the closing of tax loopholes. The Senate Dems proposed closing the same loopholes and similarly put more money into education. Both budgets paid for a small Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for teachers. The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus also unveiled a budget that puts more money into education, more amply funding science supplies and keeping college tuition steady. The major differences between the MCC’s budget and the others; no COLAs and no new revenue. The “Loopholes II” or “Son of Tax Break” will play in a legislature near you over the next few weeks. This isn’t our first time to the tax loophole rodeo. Time’s running out to see who lassos which bull, with the legislature set to adjourn on the 14th of March. Keep your spurs on, cowpokes.
Bills no Blues: You can file these in the “these bills don’t give me the blues” department. This week saw positive movement for several of our policy priorities. First, the Governor signed the “Dream Act,” making financial aid available to would-be college students regardless of immigration status. This exciting development will provide college opportunities for hundreds of deserving students. The week also saw advancement of new high school graduation requirements that will better prepare our students for college and career. Homeless kids might get additional supports through SB 6074, which seeks to improve academic outcomes for those kids. This support is none too soon as our homeless student population continues to climb. You can find the latest on our policy priorities here.
You Might Have Missed It:
- Here’s hoping the revolution in school discipline finds its way to Kansas.
- Early learning continues to make front page news, both locally and nationwide.
- Are you a visual learner? Here’s America.
Ok kids, that’s all. Get out and enjoy your weekend! Thanks for all you do on behalf of our kids.
Chris (and Team LEV)