The Inside Scoop – From Lobbyist Jim Kainber

January 29, 2010 at 1:28 pm Leave a comment

Education took center stage in Olympia this week – and an article by Lynne Varner in The Seattle Times said it best, “We can only hope political courage will overtake the desire to duck and cover…”

Race to the Top Legislation

At a hearing on SB 6696 – the Governor’s proposal that would align the State of Washington with the expectations of the Federal Race to the Top Grant, as well as evolving expectations to seek Title One education funds, and No Child Left Behind funds.

In short, failure to adopt significant legislation regarding state intervention in poor performing schools, revamping the states outdated teacher evaluation system, the collection and use of data on student performance, performance based compensation, and development of state standards for measuring student growth throughout the school year, will doom Washington’s application for the $150-250 million in funds offered by the Obama Administration.

While the Governor’s plan is a good first step, it falls short in several key areas where significant numbers of “points” in the application for Race to the Top are focused.

Testimony in the Senate Early Learning K-12 committee gave a strong sense of the inertia among some key members of the Senate around making improvements to the Governor’s proposal, and Stand for Children members, many private citizens and other Excellent Schools Now! Coalition members were given the last eighteen minutes of testimony, while association groups, bureaucrats and their professional lobbyists were given nearly an hour and a half in defense of the governor’s proposal.

The tables were turned when the companion bills (HB 3035, HB 3038, HB 3059) were heard in the House Education. We remain hopeful that amendments bolstering the RTTT application will be offered and accepted.

Shannon Campion, Stand’s Washington Executive Director spoke passionately in support of the bill but offering suggestions for amendments that would significantly tighten the Governor’s proposed legislation. This legislation took the form of three bills in the House, divided by topic (HB 3035, HB 3038, HB 3059.)

We will need a significant presence of Stand for Children members at the House hearings and again when the Senate considers the House’s amendments – but that will be sometime after next week.

HB 2261 and Quality Education Council Progress

The Quality Education Council, established last year in ESHB 2261 (Stand’s banner piece of legislation in 2009) has issued its report to the legislature, and we will be vigorously pursuing passage of the legislation that will enact their recommendations.  The report, initially drafted by Representatives Pat Sullivan and Skip Priest would, among other things, force the state to include early learning (pre-Kindergaten) for at-risk three and four year olds in the definition of basic education; create a building-based model school funding formula for directing state funds to local districts, among other things.

The House heard vigorous testimony in support of HB 2776, and all Excellent Schools Now! Coalition members spoke in support.  It passed the House Education Committee yesterday.  The companion bills in the Senate are scheduled to move from committee Wednesday.

Delay of Math and Science Graduation Requirements

HB 2915/SB 6553 delaying the Math and Science graduation requirements may have stalled in the House, but are having a hearing next week on Wednesday.  We may need some public pressure on the committee members to ensure it dies, but we will keep you posted.

Next week is inside baseball, as there will be no public testimony on our signature bills, but a lot of work to be done trying to hold onto what we’ve got so far with the various committee members before the bills move out of committee.  Here is a short list of things that need to move:

HB 3035                Race to the Top                                      House Education Comm. Scheduled for Tuesday

HB 3038                Race to the Top                                      House Education Comm. Scheduled for Tuesday

HB 3059                Race to the Top                                      House Education Comm. Scheduled for Tuesday

SB 6696                 Race to the Top                                                              Senate K-12 , Scheduled for Monday

HB 2915                Delay in Math/Science WASL              House Education Committee NOT SCHEDULED

SB 6553                 Delay in Math/Science WAS    Senate K-12 PUBLIC HEARING Tuesday 10am

SB 6761                 QEC Recommendations                                         Senate K-12, Scheduled for Wednesday

SB 6760                 QEC Recommendations                                        Senate K-12, Scheduled for Wednesday

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Entry filed under: News Updates.

The $250 million dollar question… Legislative Tornado – Update from Lobbyist, Jim Kainber

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