There are two bills that are currently up for vote in the House and Senate. This legislation will affect student outcome and basic education funding for our schools. Both bills are detailed below. Please contact your Representatives and Senators and express your thoughts and opinions.
HB 1443 identifies steps that the state can take – even in bad economic times – to improve student outcome. It identifies instructional improvements, steps to close the educational achievement gap, and ways to support educators. Mainly, it insists that we re-evaluate what we’re doing and make improvements. Because there isn’t much money, it focuses on low- or no-cost items, such as:
· Requires kindergarten readiness assessment in required action districts (involves screening for things like phonological awareness that give educators and parents insight into children’s learning needs)
· Mandates that required action districts identify how they are measuring student achievement.
· Specifically notes that "basic skills areas" include science, in addition to reading, writing and math. This is new and will allow learning assistance funds to be used to support students in science.
· Requires a study that measures impact of remediation strategies funded by the learning assistance program.
· Directs the state superintendent to adopt consistent procedures that school districts must use to identify and assess highly capable students.
· States intent to continue development and implementation of new teacher and principal evaluation systems.
· Continues work on developing recommendations for an enhanced salary allocation model.
HB 1443 DOES NOT increase funding for basic education, but it does show what existing funding is based on (class sizes, etc.). It is a bill we want passed IN ADDITION to funding in the operational budget that makes sure core student costs are covered. HB 1443 alone will not save the schools. Washington State PTA strongly supports HB 1443
For more information please go here:
Changes to the program of basic education are to include all-day K, smaller K-3 class sizes, six hours of instruction for middle and high school students, and program funding for highly capable students. (Transportation, maintenance and operating costs are already part of basic education, but the state allotment hasn’t kept up with actual expenses.) According to existing law, the additions are to be funded by 2018, and will be phased in on a schedule determined by the legislature.
SB 5475 also says nothing is “basic” until it is FULLY funded. That leaves all incremental funding for all-day K, highly capable, smaller K-3 classes sizes, etc. subject to cuts (even retroactive cuts!) and could create an unstable and inequitable funding stream from year to year.
In its essence, this bill strips protections off “basic ed” and defines it by what it was pre-2261. It says the legislature will decide, year by year, what core costs to cover; and says it will decide that based on how much money it opts to put into K-12.
SB 5475 does include a funding mechanism for basic education. As the economy recovers, 60 percent of extra revenue will go into funding education.
Washington State PTA strongly opposes SB 5475