Update from Stand’s Lobbyist on the Quality Education Council’s Report to the Legislature

January 11, 2010 at 6:20 pm Leave a comment

The Quality Education Council released its report to the Legislature this week, and it was a lot of good news for backers of HB 2261, teachers, students, parents and Stand for Children members.

The legislation, which was strongly backed by Stand for Children and our legislative allies in 2009, created the Council to begin the process of redefining the system of basic education in our state, and the methods by which it is funded with federal, state, and local tax dollars.

The final report was based upon the proposals by our legislative champions, Rep. Skip Priest and Rep. Pat Sullivan, and we are grateful for their thoughtful consideration of, and action taken upon, Stand for Children’s recommendations for items to be addressed in their proposal.

The major issues around which Stand’s lobbying effort has centered since the end of the last session have been advocacy around several of the findings of the Council, and in the final report they recommended that the Legislature take the following actions this session:

  • Refrain for making additional budget cuts to education during 2010 legislative session.
  • Begin the process of defining system capacity for reducing K-3 class size to 15 pupils per teacher, and set a schedule for statewide implementation, beginning high poverty areas.
  • Add early childhood (pre-K) education for at-risk children to the definition of basic education and develop a plan for funding its incremental implementation.
  • Continue to expand the state’s all-day Kindergarten funding as the state’s revenue picture improves.
  • Adopt the prototypical model of school funding as outlined by the QEC to be implemented in the 2011 school year.
    • Maintenance, Supplies, and Operating Costs (MSOC) of individual schools should be more accurately reflected in the prototypical school, and should receive adequate funding from the state.
    • If the Beginning Educator Support Team (comprehensive new teacher mentoring) pilot program, now working in five school districts, proves effective, sufficient funds should be phased-in beginning in school year 2011-12 to cover all first year teachers in the state.
    •  

The powerful chair of the Senate K-12 Committee and member of the QEC, Senator Rosemary McAuliffe, issued a minority report which called out a few areas of concern she had with the proposal, the most significant of which was the need to address additional revenue to be able to fund  the recommendations.  Stand for Children will continue to work with her and her Senate colleagues this session, providing the most up to date data on the issues they raise in an effort to address their concerns.

The next step for this report is that it will be turned into multiple bills which will begin to work through the legislative process as early as next week.  We will keep our members apprised of hearings, progress and any threats to passage of critical pieces of these important proposals.

Check out the report at http://www.k12.wa.us/QEC/pubdocs/DRAFTQECReport.pdf.

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Entry filed under: News Updates.

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