This Week in the Legislature: Update from Jim Kainber

February 16, 2009 at 4:43 pm Leave a comment

As with any major piece of legislation, there is a lot of political wrangling going on behind the scenes on movement on 5444/1410, the Basic Education bills that are the cornerstone of Stand’s legislative agenda for 2009.

Several new developments arose over the course of the week. There is a distinct possibility that they will scrap the current version of the senate bill, and develop a “title only” bill that would allow the Senate Education committee to spend more time working with stakeholders, including, but not limited to Stand for Children, the League of Education Voters, the WEA, organizations representing the school principals, superintendents and school board members to work through a compromise.

Stand remains steadfast that any package must have measurable reforms such as maintaining the provisions that affect teaching quality, mentoring and induction and CORE 24 high school requirements, and are working with the legislative leaders on a compromise bill that would maintain these attributes. If no compromise is viable, we will continue to work for passage of 5444, though we remain hopeful that with so much common ground in the various proposals, that something will come of this effort. Senator Fred Jarrett, prime sponsor of 5444 continues to lead this effort, with help from senators Rodney Tom, Joe McDermott, and Steve Hobbs.

Passage of the original house bill remains the goals of Sponsor Pat Sullivan and our key advocates in that chamber. Currently Representative Sullivan is working with opponents of the bill to come up with compromise language that may meet some of their concerns. An executive session (vote out of committee) has yet to be scheduled, and the cut off for moving the bill is looming – February 25!

Shannon Campion and Jim Kainber, Stand’s lobbyist in Olympia, met with the Education Appropriations Committee Chair, Kathy Haigh this week to reiterate our support for HB 1410, and urge her to maintain adequate funding for Washington’s existing teacher mentoring program called TAP. The Representative was cautiously supportive, understandably so, given her Herculean task of massaging a much smaller education budget. She addressed the issue of TAP funding to her committee the following day, which was helpful, but fell short of meeting our request to hold a work session for members on it.

Everything is in flux, but we continue to hear that the bills are moving inch by inch, but that we have lots of work to do educating members and winning supporters for when something moves out of committee.

We are not out of the woods by any means, but legislative leadership and the governor’s office are engaging on the issue of reform, so we remain very hopeful about some progress.

Legislators regularly mention the communication from supporters of this important effort as motivating factors, we urge you to continue to reach out to all legislators on the education and finances committees.

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Entry filed under: News Updates.

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