This week finds your intrepid writer at an undisclosed location listening to the soothing tones of seven year olders shooting Nerf guns, discussing the relative merits of the digging tools in Minecraft and spraying Pirate’s Booty crumbs hither and yon. It’s mid-winter break in our school district. These poor creatures must have been absolutely exhausted after the nearly 26 days of school since the last break. There were even two whole weeks where they went to school every day for a full day. “Full day” being six hours. It’s hell being a first grader. Absolute hell. Apparently there aren’t any low income families in this district who struggle with childcare during these breaks and half days and partial weeks. And quite obviously, all of our children are well past competent in reading, writing, “rithmetic. Or we’d not be taking so much time off. Right? Right.
Ok, I’m done. For now.
Here now, the news that matters.
Sessionology: Looks like Early Learning is the new Marc Jacobs - come on, people, even I knew it was fashion week. First, President Obama gave Early Learning a shout out in his SOTU, and our own Senator Patty Murray responded (with colleagues) by introducing a bill to support high quality pre-K. Washington legislators introduced two bills, one to create an integrated birth to five “Early Start” program and another to improve the Working Connections childcare program. The state is already playing a leadership role in Kindergarten readiness, and better integration of the existing programs and supports just makes good sense.
By the way, the President’s remarks on education were a huge part of the SOTU - and shows his continued commitment to transforming education. For fun, or just because it’s still February in Washington and there’s not a heck of a lot of anything else to do, you can compare and contrast the SOTU to Governor Inslee’s new Education Policy Brief. In full disclosure, the sun’s out here, and I’m getting twitchy, so haven’t gone there.
Meanwhile, in the desert we call “State Budget Drafting,” (rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?) the House Finance Committee held a work session to review the work of the Joint Task Force on Education Funding. And legislators opined that they are “confident” of a budget deal to begin fully funding education – though there isn’t yet agreement on the number or where the money comes from or what it goes to pay for. I’m pretty sure they’ve settled on U.S. currency, which is an upgrade from all those Euro conversations that took place over the fall.
Speaking of money, there were lots of levies and bonds on the ballot this week. In addition to Seattle, my team tells me that voters overwhelmingly supported their levies. Out of 53 levies, 51 passed (96 percent). The total amount passed is $1.7 billion. Of those, 14 of 51 ($164,158,422) passed with a simple majority. Out of 17 bonds, 8 passed (47 percent). The total amount passed is about $700 thousand. ($706,175,000)
If bonds had a Simple Majority rule, 16 of 17 would have passed, adding about $400 thousand to the total. Is it time for another Simple Majority battle?
Common sense discipline continues to move forward in the legislature. This week the Senate Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on SB 5244, a bill to change the policies on indefinite expulsions. The good folks at Appleseed and Team Child, wrote about the results of their studies on the issue. One key finding is that putting kids out of school leads to dramatic, negative economic impacts. LEV and our partners will host an event to further discuss the issue on the 21st.
And because I can’t resist. some Valentine’s day poetry, Callaghan Style for the policy makers in Oly.
The Rest of the Story: in bite sized nuggets
- Ed Trust has issued a new report on “Doing Away with Debt” and ensure “College Affordability.” Because it’s the Ed Trust the title is about 35 words longer than this email. We still love them.
- You may have heard that Seattle had a little testing testiness. Here’s some food for thought on our favorite subject.
- We haven’t said much about Common Core lately. So, here’s a taste from the folks at Education First on the matter.
That’s it friends, As I said earlier in this missive, while it’s only 47 degrees, the sun is out. Yes, the sun. Not that other giant orb that hit Russia today, but the one that (hopefully) stays put up in the sky and shows itself only rarely to those of us in the Northwest. So, this one’s a wrap. Goes without saying, but saying it anyway; thank you for all that you do on behalf of our kids.
Chris and Team LEV