Senator Fred Jarrett’s recap of ESHB 2261

April 17, 2009 at 1:40 pm Leave a comment

Yesterday, the Washington State Senate passed HB 2261, an act concerning the state’s education system by a vote of 26 to 23.  We expect the House to concur in the next few days and the governor has committed to sign the bill into law.

HB 2261 enacts the recommendations of the BETF.  While it is only one more step, it is a big step toward making our K-12 system a competitive, Twenty-First Century system.  A high level summary of the bill would include:

  • A new definition of basic education based on requiring 24 credit hours for a high school diploma (currently, the state funds 20 and requires 19 – meeting that standard means students don’t qualify for any four year college or university in the state and would require remedial courses before they could begin community college).
  • A basic education definition including transportation to and from school (currently not considered basic and underfunded by over $100 million a year), all-day kindergarten, highly capable funding, and the intent to add early learning for children considered at risk.
  • A new funding formula, termed a prototype school model, which defines the state’s commitment to fund districts in terms people can understand, for example class size, administrators, librarians, janitors, energy and technology – today we use abstract, opaque ratios hidden deep in the “omnibus budget”).
  • An accountability system using multiple measures, not just WASL scores, to compare the performance of schools against similar schools, measures which will set higher standards for all schools, not just those with the poorest performance.
  • A new certification system for teachers based on performance standards linked to effective teaching and student learning.
  • A standard set of accounting and performance data to allow comparability across the state.  Included is a student information system which permits longitudinal measurement, meaning schools will be able to track student performance.

Obviously, this will not happen overnight.  The bill sets 2018-19 school year as the target for full implementation and full funding, and while that is later than I’d wanted, the current economic challenges create a mood of conservatism in the legislature regarding expanding programs, even the education of our children.

What are the next steps?

  • The State Board of Education needs to complete their work on new graduation standards. The Board has been working on a proposal called “Core 24” to make high school diplomas meaningful.  They must now complete that work knowing the legislature will fully fund the “24” in “Core 24.”
  • The Professional Educator Standards Board must complete their work with the colleges of education to re-define the certification standard for new teachers based on performance standards linked to student learning.  This work is underway and informed much of the discussion of the BETF.
  • Financing work group will design the details of the prototype, moving from the concept to an operational formula to drive funding to school districts and recommend approaches for funding the phase in.  The funding task is a loose end from the BETF.
  • A supplemental funding work group to look into the rules for local levies and the levy equalization system.  Again, a loose end from the BETF.
  • A compensation work group to design a new salary allocation model, the way the state determines how much to send to school districts to pay teachers.  I expect this will result in a design which links compensation to student learning.
  • An early learning work group to work through implementing an early learning program for at-risk kids.
  • The Quality Education Council to bring recommendations on teacher mentoring, early learning, and a recommended schedule for the phase in of the changes in the instructional program of basic education, the new allocation formula, and the transportation funding formula.

Entry filed under: News Updates.

Senate passes ESHB 2261! This week in the Legislature: Report from Jim Kainber

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Recent Posts

%d bloggers like this: