Well campers, that was quite a finish! No, not that. I’m talking about the eighty points put up by Team Ruff in Puppy Bowl Xl! Oh, come on. What’s a girl to do? The Super Bowl pre-game felt like it was three hundred and thirty-seven hours long—or roughly the same length of a Hobbit movie, both of which make me want to watch commercials thinly veiled as puppy shows. Plus, I’m a sucker for a Clumber Spaniel. (By now, you’ve noticed the very soft treatment of the Super Bowl. I’ve lived in the Northwest for nearly eight years now, and the one lesson I’ve learned is that if you want a decent table in this town, or a holiday card or sarcasm-free latte, you don’t rub ‘Hawks devastating Super Bowl loss in their fans’ faces. So I didn’t. Until just then. And even then, gently.)

Enough of the kerfuffery! Lots of action going on in policy-land, and for a just-the-facts-ma’am look at it, check out our legislative tracker. So far, there’s been a fair amount of attention paid to underserved kids, including foster youth, special education students, and low-income kids. This is laudable as the state explores system change to bring more equity to our schools and beyond. In addition to bill action, there is a lot of speculation about resolving McCleary, the Supreme Court decision finding the State to be out of compliance in education funding.

Speaking of the Hobbit, and I just was, did you see this piece wherein someone “in charge” thinks a kid with a Hobbit ring talking about making someone invisible is the equivalent of a terrorist? It’s no wonder teachers want clear guidance on discipline. Onward, ho.

Crowd Sourcing: The past few years have seen steady and significant growth in public school enrollment, from Spokane to Olympia to Seattle, and beyond. Districts are scrambling to find room for everyone—a bit of math made more difficult by the passage of the class-size initiative (I-1351)—and some districts are taking the case for more space to the voters. And that’s where the trouble starts.

It still takes a 60 percent vote to pass bonds necessary to replace or repair aging buildings. A supermajority much felt and understood in the Highline School District, where they saw their election Super Bowl slip from their fingers in November when their school bond lost with 59.27 percent of the vote. If you think Pete Carroll isn’t sleeping after the Super Bowl debacle, imagine being less than 1 percent away from kids getting better schools and failing because the rules make it insanely difficult to win. Highline is re-running their bond measure, and we folks in the community wish them Godspeed, but we also wish they didn’t have to. Apparently 45 members of the House feel the same way. They introduced a bill that will lower the voter threshold for school bonds to a simple majority—just like the levies. It requires a supermajority of the Legislature to vote it out and then a majority of the people to support it, with the former being the bigger hurdle. This one’s just out of the chute, so stay tuned.

Mo Mentum: House Bill 1491, the “Early Start” bill, passed through the House Education Committee this week. The bill focuses on quality in early learning—the key to getting kids ready for the K–12 system, closing gaps, and getting kids off to a great start. New studies show an additional benefit to high-quality early learning—reduced need for special education.

Possimism: What do you call an optimist with a tinge of pessimism? Apparently, a high school student. Worried about the jobs market, high school students would do well to become college students. Or rather, college graduates. They can get some help along the way—and some have to find their way back to high school first—but the rewards are clear.

The Rest:

  • As Boomers age out of teaching, will there be a new pathway to the profession?
  • Texas. That’s all.
  • As the assessment debate expands, it puts a new twist on an old problem
  • Our annual breakfast is coming! This year we focus on higher education with guests WSU President Elson Floyd, Seattle Community Colleges Chancellor Jill Wakefield, and Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen.

Finally, please welcome our newest board members. We are thrilled and proud to work alongside them—and you—in pursuit of better outcomes for all of Washington’s kids. Thanks for all you do.

Chris (and Team LEV)

P.S. There will be no Roundup next week. We’re trying not to jinx the legislative session on Friday the 13th! I’ll be back in two weeks, on February 20.


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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