LAST year the Republicans and “roadkill” Democrats who briefly took power in the Washington State Senate operated under the slogan, “Reform before revenue.” They would resist tax increases until they had money-saving reforms. They passed some reforms, and the reforms have already paid off.
The same theme can be found in the title of a second editorial. It is very clear what position the paper has taken on education as the session begins.
Editorial: Legislature should focus first on fixing public education, then asking taxpayers for funding
While it is clear state lawmakers need to invest more in public education, their first task is to make the system efficient and effective.
Those that know me know that I believe that we must make changes if young people are to successfully meet the standards embedded in the Common Core State Standards. I don't fear reform, I fear the wrong kind of reform. I am concerned with many possible reform efforts that may emerge this session, but specifically with one associated with teacher evaluation. As I have shard many times, I am not pleased with the decision to force every district to choose from one of three instructional models to meet the mandated teacher evaluation requirement. Today, however, I am focused on ensuring that our work with this model become another tool to support growth in instructional practice in every classroom.
In this Times article about the education battle that looms between a Democratic House, a Republican Senate, and a new governor pledged to not raise taxes, is one line that I do fear.
Tom and Litzow also said they will use the debate over the court ruling to push for policy changes, including, for example, even stricter teacher evaluations than the ones soon to go into effect.
I believe that changing what has been a moving target for two years will be counter productive. There are still too many unanswered questions about the current model with the potential for difficult negotiations across the state as Associations and districts try to make sense of this moving target. More importantly, I read this line to mean one thing and that is better alignment with other states on the use of student achievement data in the overall teacher rating. The current model mandates the use of achievement data, but gives individual systems much autonomy on what this data will be. This is different than many changes across the country that demand up to 50% of the overall rating be driven by achievement data and also a requirement to use state assessment results. I believe that this would be a huge mistake.
Though I think that a change to what and how assessment data is used is a remote possibility this session, I thought we would come out of the last session with the potential to use Classroom 10 as our model. Odd things happen behind closed doors when the session moves into months four, five, and possibly six. We must communicate to our legislators this session what we believe will be important for them to maintain and what we believe is essential for them to include if they are to create the support we need to balance the high demand they have implemented over the last few sessions.
About that game - oh so close. Proud of the way the Hawks came back. Funny how your emotions can change so dramatically in 30 seconds of game time.