Sunday, February 9, 2014

Important conversations . . .

As I shared in this post, on Friday twelve of us representing our school community visited with five of our six legislators.  I was able to be involved with four of the five.  The sixth is a member of the House Rules Committee and was called to a meeting because of a looming bill cut off date.  So, what did we hear?  We heard that the cost of living raise is dead then we heard it is still alive and later we heard that it is doing better than just alive.  We saw surprise on one legislators face as we shared the response to this question from another legislator leading me to assume that in conversations between the two something else may have been said.  Given what we heard I'm not ready to bet n this one.

We heard that the 1080 hour requirement is likely to be delayed and that there will be some flexibility built in by lowering the requirement for some grades.  There will, however, be a struggle as there are a number of bills addressing this issue with  one gaining momentum that includes implementation of the Core 24 graduation requirements beginning with the class of 2019.  We shared our preference with the bills that delay this requirement until it is fully funded.

On another critical issue we learned that there will be legislation coming out of this session that will change "may" to "shall" related to requiring the use of state testing data in teacher and principal evaluation.  We had some interesting conversations about this requirement and what legislators are looking for when they say they want increased accountability.  There is no hope of this going away as the lobby from districts with significant Title 1 money and from OSPI is too strong.  What will be interesting will be to see the parameters attached to the use of these tests.  At least one legislator suggested that he will advocate for language that gives local districts the autonomy to determine how much of an influence these tests will have on an individual evaluation.

We talked about other issues with some interesting conversation around the common core, but I want to close this post by sharing my appreciation for most of our representatives.  I believe that they are transparent and share what they believe or what they know at that moment.  I also believe that I have the ability to influence someone who is transparent and am more open to being influenced by what I hear.  Those that say what they think I want to hear, waffle on positions, use vague and ambiguous language, and hide behind their position are not open to being influenced so receive little attention and time from me.  Though I don't believe we changed any positions I do believe we said some things that opened up the possibility for further conversations.  In any case we, we actually got on both the House and Senate floor in the same day, a new experience for me that could be do to our unique coalition appreciated by multiple legislators.

1 comment:

Scott Mitchell said...

This coalition is such a wonderful and unique part of what we do in Tahoma. It sounds like their is a chance that some positive things may come from the session, but one never knows. Thank you to all of those that went down to Olympia and are working to make a difference.