Well, kids, it’s that time of year. The gnashing-of-teeth-while-twiddling-thumbs time of year. It’s too early to plant. The Grammies and Westminster are already over. And the rush to see all the Oscar nominees is out-weighed by the lack of desire to spend $35 on a movie and a box of popcorn. On the legislative front, it’s much the same. The first cut-off date for the Legislature just passed.

And no one is talking seriously, yet, about possible solutions to the state budget challenges. Namely, how to make public education whole, fund, or repeal the class-size initiative, and solve the transportation mess, all while not really changing the tax structure. (Note: I’m not suggesting that they shouldn’t change the tax structure. Just that, well, they won’t.)

Gnash and twiddle. It feels sort of like watching my 9-year-old clean his room. Yes, sweetie, you really CAN throw away the broken Nerf darts. And the half- chewed gum. You can also re-purpose those too-small-shoes. And neaten those boxes of toys. Or not. So much promise amid the flawed execution.

Something else that my son and the Legislature share is that there is still time. Not infinity. But time. Enough lamenting. As always, you can track the movement—or lack thereof—on education policy here. On with the news. This week, let’s play the half-used-popular-phrase game. You’ll get it.

The Elephant…: This is not a thinly veiled reference to the new Congressional majorities; but is the essential part of the phrase that describes that thing that no one will talk about. Education funding. While the glacial movement in Olympia is painful, it has allowed time to consider other states that’ve faced similar challenges. It also got Rep. Reuven Carlyle thinking. Sadly, it would seem that the one funding issue that had some traction, changing the requirements for passing school bonds to a simple majority, is DOA.

Why, you might ask, would a bill with 45 sponsors, including the chair and ranking members of the House Education Committee, not even make it out of said committee? It’s a good question.

The Messenger….: Don’t like the message? Shoot it. Folks who see the new college and career ready state standards (often referred to as Common Core State Standards) as too challenging are itching to eliminate them. It’s creating something of an unholy alliance between otherwise “liberal” parents and tea party conservatives. No new system is perfect, but eliminating one before it’s really implemented because it’s “too hard?” Seriously.

And let’s not stop there. Why not get rid of the whole system while we’re at it?

The Few…: The bills that made the cut were varied, and many in Oly, this week. Cut-off day was kind to early learning, college access, teacher training, and gap-closing strategies. And that’s just a few of the House bills. For full Senate and House progress, check here. Bills now have a week to make their way through the “money committees,” in order to stay alive. The budget discussions should start in earnest any week now.

No Rest…:

  • Say what? Sometimes it’s how you say it.
  • In the aftermath of President Obama’s call for free college, much has been written about the potential of community college. Meanwhile, his DOE gives a shout-out to a local program to double the number of college grads in South King County. Additional good news—for students, if not the institutions—here, lawmakers are looking to keep tuition flat.
  • Hopefully, ketchup won’t count.

Well, folks, that’s your update for this week. Next stop on the legislative express is funding the bills that passed out of committee—deadlines loom large next week. Stay tuned. As always, thanks for all you do to support Washington’s kids.

Chris (and Team LEV)

P.S. Please join us at our upcoming breakfast on March 26!


Korsmo’s Weekly Roundup is emailed to subscribers weekly and posted on our blog on Fridays during the 2015 legislative session. Sign up to receive Korsmo’s Weekly Roundup via email.

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