Monday, November 21, 2011

Cuts go too far, take wrong approach

Governor’s budget and revenue options
Dear advocates,

Gov. Gregoire released her budget on November 21 and K-12 takes another hit, this time to both levy equalization and school days. Over the past three years, the state has reduced spending by $10.5 billion, and the biggest piece of that – 26 percent, or $2.7 billion – has been to K-12.

Blow to basic education: We were told to expect more cuts, but the manner of one in particular is troubling. Not only would the governor’s proposal take another $329 million from students, it would require redefining basic education to cut the number of school days. For $99 million in savings the state would set a precedent that basic education is what the state opts to fund – not what students need to graduate ready for college and career, and not what the state previously committed to.  It undoes the “magic” of basic education funding reform and pushes us further from our goal to add instructional time in middle and high school.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Support for charter schools

Dear advocates,

Allowing the operation of charter schools in Washington is on our legislative platform for 2011-12. It is one of eight supported issues, which means the association will testify in support of a proposal that meets our criteria. To the extent possible the government relations coordinator (that’s me) will participate in conversations about what a good charter school law would entail. Staff focus goes first to the Top 6 issues, then to supported issues.

As with all platform issues, the government relations coordinator will let members know when there are opportunities to testify or otherwise engage in charter legislation or conversations.

Following is the filter that will be used this legislative session to evaluate any charter school proposal. This same filter is used for all school proposals.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Priorities for fall special session

Dear advocates,

Gov. Gregoire is calling legislators into special session on November 28 to deal with an expected budget shortfall. Revenue is not falling, but it isn’t recovering at the rate officials had hoped for. The governor is planning on $2 billion in spending reductions -- $1.4 billion to cover lower revenue and $600 million to maintain a reserve. Education and programs that support children’s health, safety and welfare could take a big hit.

The Washington State Parent Teacher Association asks the state to put children first.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Reading flagged in Nation’s Report Card

Dear advocates,

For the data wonks, long-awaited national figures have been released by National Assessment of Educational Progress. And contrary to what we often hear, READING is a concern. Early literacy, specifically screening for phonological awareness and direct, explicit, research-based classroom reading instruction in the K-3 years is our association’s No. 3 priority. (Math and science are No. 2)