Sunday, January 20, 2013

My concerns grow . . .

Over at Washington Policy Center, Liv Finne did a summary of the first Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee meeting under the leadership of Senator Litzow.  She characterized it as a glass of cold, fresh air blowing through a Senate hearing room.

A new day is dawning for children in our state. Sound reform ideas that were denied a hearing in the past are now being included in the policy debate, thanks to the new openness of Chairman Litzow.

Some of what she sees as positive I see as a step backward.  Check the post for the short summary of eight points ranging from little correlation between revenue, class size and achievement to school employee benefits starving classrooms of needed funds.  I struggle with many of them, but in particular the following focused on the possible repeal of HB 2261, the reform bill that the Supreme Court is using as a marker for future funding under the McCleary decision.

The Legislature has the power and responsibility to define Basic Education. The Legislature can repeal HB 2261 and still comply with the McCleary court decision, said Senior Assistant Attorney General Dave Stolier;

I understand that the legislators could repeal the definition of basic education under 2261, but struggle to understand how this would be a positive step for young people.  Stepping back to create a new definition that may make it easier for this or future legislators to fund makes no sense given the current need to focus on TPEP and preparing young people for Common Core assessments or considering the great deal of time, energy, and money that went into development of this definition and funding model.  We need stability, not new studies and shifting targets.

If the point above doesn't create some concern for you, try point eight below.

HB 2261 prototype school staffing formulas are already out-of-date, as is the single salary pay scale.

I don't know what data they are using to suggest that the staffing formulas are out-of-date; I can only hope that they mean that they don't provide enough staffing support, but somehow I doubt that will become the focus.  What do you think may be the mental model behind the single salary schedule being out-of-date?   What might emerge in the conversations as a more current model?

As I shared in previous posts, it will be important to follow this session closely and to let our legislators know that we need stability with no new unfunded mandates.

1 comment:

Boomer said...

My guess on the single salary schedule is East side of the state vs. West Side of the state. Allowing rural districts to pay rural salaries, similar to a model used in other states like Arizona. A teacher in Phoenix makes about $15,000 more than one in Flagstaff.