Where do we Stand?

March 17, 2010 at 4:59 pm Leave a comment

2010 Legislative Session Summary

Our top three priorities this short session were:

1)      Securing legislative changes that make us competitive for Race to the Top:

  1. An improved teacher and principal evaluation system that uses multiple measures to distinguish teachers, has 4 ratings, and higher and student-centered standards for effective instructional practice.
  2. A 3 year probationary period of teachers
  3. State authority to intervene into our lowest-achieving schools
  4. State agreement to adopt the common core standards

2)      Taking the necessary next steps on basic education finance reform – Adopt the model school funding formula for implementation beginning in 2011 and an implementation plan that prioritizes operating costs, transportation and reducing class size K-4.  Include early learning in the state definition of basic education.

3)      Protecting BEST – Washington’s improved beginning educator mentoring and support program that we improved and protected funding for last session.

Session Outcomes:

Race to the Top (SB 6696) – State lawmakers took a step in the direction of bold education reform by passing SB 6696 in the final hours of the regular legislative session.

Stand for Children and allies pushed legislators to amend SB 6696 to include using student growth in evaluations and establish a common statewide evaluation model for teachers and principals. However, the House and Senate Education Committees were unwilling to go this far. The bill does have several key reforms that will accelerate student learning, teacher and principal performance and advance Washington’s Race to the Top application, including the following:

  • Authorization for state intervention in low-performing schools. Requires districts with schools performing in bottom five percent to submit an action plan identifying measures that will be taken to turnaround the school.
  • Development of new evaluation criteria for teachers and principals and establishes a new four-tiered evaluation rating system Creates new evaluation criteria for teachers and principals evaluation, and calls on districts to design new evaluation systems using a four-tiered rating system.  Measures of student growth data can be used, when available and relevant.
    • Consideration of a single, statewide evaluation model. Requires the Office of Public Superintendent of Instruction to provide recommendations to the Legislature by July 2011 on if a single statewide evaluation model should be adopted. Establishes parent representatives as part of the state group that evaluates and makes recommendations on teacher and principal evaluation models.
    • Extension of teacher provisional status. Lengthens the time in which a teacher is without tenure from two years to three years.
    • Authorization to transfer ineffective principals. Allows school district superintendents with more than 35,000 students to transfer ineffective principals to a subordinate position in the district.
    • Authorization to increase salaries for staff that implement innovative programs. Allows school districts to increase the salaries of teachers and staff involved in implementing innovative activities designed to close the achievement gap, encourage a focus on STEM subjects or provide an arts education.
    • Expansion of alternative route preparation programs. Allows for four new alternative teacher preparation programs for teachers.
    • Authorization to adopt Common Core standards. Authorizes Superintendent of Public Instruction to provisionally adopt the Common Core standards by August 2, 2010.  Requires SPI to submit a report to the House and Senate education committees by January 1, 2011 comparing the rigor and specificity of the Common Core with our state standards and providing an implementation timeline with associated costs. 

With the passage of SB 6696, Washington advances to the starting line in the $4.35 billion Race to the Top grant competition. The second phase of this campaign now begins as we advocate for a bold and innovative state application that builds upon these reforms to make Washington highly competitive in Race to the Top.

Basic Education Reform (HB 2776)– In a late night vote just hours before the end of the regular session the House and Senate passed HB 2776 – basic education finance reform.  Governor Gregoire intervened to break the impasse between the House and Senate. Senate Majority Leader Brown and Speaker Chopp hashed out a compromise that the state must begin funding K-3 enhancements, MSOC (maintenance, supplies, operating costs) and transportation in the 2013 biennium and complete funding in the 2017 biennium.  We originally wanted the State to increase its funding in these three areas in the 2011 biennium but the Senate was consistently opposed to that idea.

Early Learning (HB 2731) – This bill passed the House and Senate in the same late night series of votes on the final day of session. This bill establishes a voluntary early learning program for 3- and 4-year-olds in September 2011, calling for the program to be phased in over several years before eventually becoming an entitlement for all eligible children. This bill falls short of including early learning in the state definition of basic education. There was much resistance to that idea given that the State is already billions of dollars short on funding the existing definition of basic education.

Protecting BEST – The Governor, Senate and House zeroed out BEST in their respective budgets. We successfully worked with Senators Tom, Prentice, and Zarelli to get it back into the Senate budget and have verbal commitments from Rep. Linville (House Ways and Means Chair) and Rep. Sullivan (House Ways and Means Vice Chair) to ensure funding for BEST remains. Funding for BEST is part of the overall budget this is unresolved and the focus of the special legislative session that will begin on Monday March 15th.

What Stand for Children contributed during the 60-day legislative session:

An Ongoing Presence in Olympia – Turnout, Testimony and Meetings.

  • Stand members – parents and teachers – attended and testified at every hearing on Race to the Top legislation (SB 6696) and most hearings on Basic Education finance reform (HB 2776).
  • Members meet with key legislators throughout the session, especially in advance of critical votes.
  • We generated 1,501 emails and hundreds of calls to key legislators and legislative leaders at critical times throughout the session.

In-district Advocacy – Neighborhood Postcard drops and Town Halls.

  • 30 Stand members dropped literature at 1,000 homes in 3 key Senate districts the first weekend of Winter Break urging the Senators to support a stronger version of SB 6696.
  • 25 Stand members pressed legislators to strengthen SB 6696 at 4 critical legislative Town Hall meetings.

A Critical Final Push for Race to the Top. Heading into the final week of session and the critical Senate vote on SB 6696; Stand members focused on Senate leadership – Senators Brown, McAuliffe and Oemig.

  • Wrote and delivered 327 personal postcards
  • Sent over 300 emails
  • Made 100 calls and generated 20,000 auto-dial calls to highly motivated voters
  • Ran 42 radio ads for a week in Spokane.

Mobilized Community Leader Influence. We enlisted major political donors and community leaders to call key legislators and legislative leaders.

Effective coalition-building and earned media. Stand for Children co-leads the Excellent Schools Now Coalition, with League of Education Voters and Partnership for Learning.

Legislative Launch event – we held an event during the first week of session to launch our Race to the Top legislative priorities including the unveiling of a poll of Washington teachers that showed support for our priorities.  Nearly 100 business, community leaders and legislators attended.

Ongoing positive earned media. We generated 18 supportive opinion-editorials or Editorials throughout the session. Every major newspaper in Washington editorialized in support of a competitive Race to the Top application.

Recruited Superintendent support. 34 Superintendents plus Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn signed onto our letter encouraging the Legislature to strengthen SB 6696.

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Entry filed under: News Updates.

Thank you legislative leaders – from lobbyist, Jim Kainber Stand Endorses Education Champions for 2010

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