This week in Olympia ~ from lobbyis, Jim Kainber

February 12, 2010 at 10:11 am Leave a comment

Race to the Top Legislation

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.  Received a majority of the Senate K-12 committee votes.

After a very encouraging amendment allowing principals to fire teachers who had received unacceptable evaluations three years in a row, by Senator Joe Zarelli, passed in the Ways & Means Committee 11-7, we were feeling hopeful that there would be movement to strengthen the RTTT application legislation.

Unfortunately Senator McAuliffe, arguing that districts already could remove bad teachers – which anyone who has a child that has had a terrible teacher knows is fiction in almost every district in the state – replaced this progressive language with a striking amendment, which reversed the objectives of the amended bill to the original.

The bill, as passed by an overwhelming majority of the Senate, without any of the key amendments we were advocating for, is a step in the right direction, but we fear falls way short of what is needed to secure the funds.

The disappointing behavior continued as Sen. Joe McDermott spoke against an amendment that would have strengthened the RTTT section on teacher evaluation – making it so that that they would include measures of student academic growth.   A companion amendment that would have established a statewide benchmark for student academic growth was also defeated.

Senator Steve Hobbs showed great commitment to these issues by supporting both amendments, joined by two other Democrats (Sen. Kastama and Sen. Hatfield), and all of the GOP.  The amendments were sponsored by Senator Curtis King of Yakima, who is the ranking minority member of the Senate K-12 Committee.

It is clear that the WEA’s war chest, and legislators’ uneasiness with voting against them two years in a row is a significant barrier to the reform we seek.

RTTT Dead in the House

With only a couple days left to go, it is pretty clear that the Senate bill will be the only way we see the RTTT language emerge from this legislative session.  Representative Sullivan, who was hopping mad about the Governor Gregoire’s line item veto of the early learning section of the 2009 HB 2261 reforms, is clearly not going to let the Senate and the Governor have a win on their banner legislation without working with him and the House leadership on HB 2776, and restoring the early learning piece to the landmark education reforms.

HB 2261 and Quality Education Council Progress

2776 moved is currently scheduled to be heard on the House floor at any time.  Passage is expected, but please communicates with your house members to urge their support.

Math and Science Graduation Requirements.

SB 6554, is currently in Ways and Means in the Senate, but has not been scheduled for a hearing, so it is possible it will die in that committee.

The companion bill 2915 did not pass out of Education Appropriations, and is dead in the House.

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Entry filed under: News Updates.

Legislative Tornado – Update from Lobbyist, Jim Kainber Keep Speaking Up, from Lobbyist Jim Kainber

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