Saturday, February 2, 2013

Education bills flowing in Senate . . .

There have been many education bills proposed in the first weeks of the session, many on the Senate side with the new leadership that I shared in this post.  Two of those bills are the focus of this Seattle Times editorial from Thursday.

Editorial: Bills to grade schools, hold back third-graders well-meaning but problematic

The State Senate Education Committee falls short in efforts to rate schools and ensure all third-graders can read.

Senate Bill 5328 is a bill designed to grade schools A-F and Senate Bill 5237 would hold back third graders reading below grade level.  I agree with the Times on these two bills.  They take the focus away from the need to meet the funding requirements of the McCleary decision and implementing the reforms that we already face.

Another potential bill that surfaced last week would eliminate the opportunity for any early release or waiver days.  The bill that will have a hearing next Wednesday before the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee would change the definition of a school day to be a minimum of six hours, taking away the possibility for early release. This is a bill that we need to watch and ensue that we communicate with our legislators the impact on our staff development program if this bill becomes law.   

We first learned about the bill Thursday in a Washington State School Directors post where they attributed it to the State Board  of Education. On Friday they apologized for the error.

The January 31 report attributed the draft bill to the State Board of Education. This is incorrect, and WSSDA sincerely regrets the error. It is unclear which legislator and/or organization is promoting this approach at this time.

The State Board is concerned with the loss of instructional time to early release and waiver days, but also sees the need for staff development so they are proposing that five Learning Improvement Days be funded.  In the video below, SBE Executive Director Ben Rarick shares their thinking.

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