Thursday, December 27, 2012

Advocating for School Safety

When tragedy like the Sandy Hook school shooting strikes, PTA members want to know how to help, then they start looking for solutions. It’s the core of what we do. Here is a collection of resources for members and local PTA leaders.

HOW TO HELP:

Monday, November 19, 2012

PTA takes national position on evaluation reform


  • Aligns with Washington State PTA work with the Teacher and Principal Evaluation Pilot and implementing legislation

  • FAQ follows statement, below

 
POSITION STATEMENT: DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF TEACHER AND PRINCIPAL  EVALUATION SYSTEMS

Effective instruction and family-school collaboration are essential components of student academic success. National PTA supports the state*and local development and implementation of effective, fair, and meaningful teacher and principal evaluation systems that improve the capacity of educators and families to enhance student learning and academic achievement.

National PTA supports legislation and policy decisions to enable state and local development and implementation of teacher and principal evaluation systems.
 
Teacher and Principal Evaluation Systems should:

Saturday, October 20, 2012

WSPTA: Keep pushing to improve basic education

New Top 5 voted in

Delegates to Washington State PTA's 2012 Legislative Assembly threw support behind reforms put in place in 2009 and 2010 that redefined basic education to better prepare all children for college and career, make school funding more transparent, and add accountability measures to how schools are run and students taught.

In all, 14 issues made the short-term platform. Also returning to the Top 5: Fund Education First. Closing the Opportunity Gaps moved up from "also supported" status in 2012. New Top 5 issues call for revenue and supports to nurture, attract and retain highly effective teachers.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

WSPTA: Oppose I-1185

Washington's children need efficient, effective approaches to budgeting  

TACOMA – As the gubernatorial candidates prepare to face off in a debate Thursday night, Washington State PTA is calling on citizens to reject Initiative 1185 and instead support efficient and effective approaches to budgeting for education and children’s services.

“Children are relying on the state legislature to pay for the education they need,” said Washington State PTA President Novella Fraser. “The state needs to resolve long-standing issues of underfunding and not get bogged down in extended debate over issues like tolling fees. Now is not the time to tie legislators’ hands.”

Friday, September 28, 2012

Steps to success for every student

Did your school meet its targets? Annual Measurable Objective Summary
 
In gauging learning challenges, the realities for many children go unnoticed. Overall, most kids in Washington are meeting expectations in math and reading. Most students are also white and not low-income. When you start looking at subgroups, you see a disturbing trend. Statewide, American Indian, Pacific Islander, black, Hispanic, limited English, low income and special education students are not only not meeting proficiency standards, they aren’t meeting the intermediate “target” steps to proficiency.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Early Issues Survey returns

Will the current No. 1 make the new Top 5?

Washington State PTA’s 2012 Issues Survey has been out a week, and the budgeting strategy of Fund Education First is in the clear lead – bumping out reforms to improve basic education and surging past calls to advocate for more money. In all, 18 proposals will go before delegates October 19-20 at the 2012 Legislative Assembly. Each of them came from members; and each cleared a committee review to ensure they aligned with our mission and vision and advanced PTA work underway. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Take five for kids:
What should be on WSPTA’s 2013 platform?

What will help kids reach their potential? What should we take on this year? Take the WSPTA 2012 Issues Survey and let us know.

Are we doing enough for special education students? What can we do about racial and income equity when it comes to the opportunity gaps? Should we prioritize bonuses for National Board certified teachers? What should we do about funding shortfalls? (Raise revenue? Fund education first in the budgeting process?)

Friday, September 7, 2012

18 proposals advance to Legislative Assembly

Issues touch on budgeting and funding; equity and access; instructional support; safety; positive learning environments; and system changes for Pre-K to grade 12

View all issues here
Direct links to each issue are posted below

DELEGATES TO WEIGH IN OCT. 19-20 AT LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY.
Register, get information here Plan to be there both days. Voting starts early Friday.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Gauging school success

State effort will look at growth gaps and ability to meet the needs of all subgroups

The State Board of Education and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction are developing a new accountability and achievement system that will incorporate student growth and establish a unified system for evaluating school and district performance. The agencies are doing so in collaboration with state and local policy makers, educators, parents and citizens.

Washington State PTA advocates for necessary funding, policies and practices to ensure all children are able to graduate ready for college or career. The association is participating in an accountability workgroup established by the state board and schools superintendent, and President Novella Fraser has nominated Sebrena Burr to represent the association. Ms. Burr is a local and council PTSA leader in Seattle and is active in efforts to increase access to quality early education and close the state’s pervasive achievement gaps.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Students show progress in state math, science assessments; reading up and down

EXCERPT FROM PRESS RESLEASE:

“Scores on statewide testing continue to show improvement, State Superintendent Randy Dorn said today.

“Specifically, Dorn cited a 10.4 percent jump in fifth-grade science scores, from 55.7 percent of students passing in 2011 to 66.1 percent in 2012, as well as a 4.7 percent jump in eighth-grade scores, from 61.6 percent in 2011 to 66.3 percent in 2012. “

Statewide results for 2011-2012:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Do you agree? Funding, gaps are big K-12 worries

Americans weigh in on public education in 44th Annual PDK/Gallup Poll
  • Americans not so sure high school grads are ready for work (more than 4 out of 10 say no)
  • They feel good about teachers (7 out of 10)
  • They are split about using students' state standardized test results in teacher evaluations

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

National PTA updates charter school position

 Affirms support of charter schools as one of many avenues to improve student achievement. Calls for accountability, transparency and meaningful parent engagement in authorizing, review and decision-making processes
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Saturday, August 11, 2012

WSPTA opposes charter school initiative

“We need local oversight”
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August 11, 2012

Bellingham, WA – Washington State PTA will oppose I-1240, the initiative that would authorize charter public schools in Washington. Nationally, PTA has conditional support for these independent schools, and the state association has twice backed the concept in the past year. But ultimately the board decided this initiative didn’t meet its criteria for local oversight.

“This wasn’t a decision about the value of charter schools. This was a decision about whether this initiative met our criteria,” said Washington State PTA president Novella Fraser.  The decision was made during a board meeting preceding the association’s annual Leadership Conference, being held this weekend at Western Washington University.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Gubernatorial candidates discuss education plans

Speeches posted on TVW
Both candidates for governor recently shared their visions for education at forums hosted by Excellent Schools Now, a statewide coalition of education advocacy groups, and Our Schools Now, a similar Seattle-based coalition. TVW taped the forums and has posted them on their website. The speeches are similar to those shared with members at the Washington State PTA convention.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Charter public schools initiative under review

NEW BOARD HAS NOT YET TAKEN A POSITION
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Proponents of charter public schools have filed an initiative bid with the Secretary of State, and Washington State PTA members may ask whether the association supports the effort. (See 11th hour filing)

Nationally, PTA has qualified support for charter public schools. And Washington State PTA is actively looking for ways to close our state's entrenched achievement gaps. We are supportive of choice and innovative schools – including charter public schools when they reflect the positions and principles of PTA.

At this point, staff is reviewing the initiative to see if it aligns with WSPTA criteria. The charter proponents who filed the initiative have told us it improves upon on a bill introduced to the legislature this past session. We had concerns with that bill and could not fully support it.  (Key points noted below. See also, Grassroots Connection: Feedback on SB 6202)

Monday, June 4, 2012

2012 PTA Votes Election Guide Now Available

 The 2012 PTA Votes Election Guide is available online at the PTA Votes webpage.  The printable guide gives tips to PTAs ranging from voter registration drives, questions for candidates, ballot initiatives, and the “cans” and “cannots” for PTAs around election time. 

The PTA Votes website also provides an interactive tool that allows members to register to vote and identify local elections by entering an address.   





$70M for "community transformation" available

Goal: Healthy, safe communities
Non-government organizations -- including neighborhood groups -- welcome to apply.
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On May 29, 2012 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced available funding of $70 million aimed at improving the health of small communities across the nation. The Community Transformation Grant program is a comprehensive prevention and wellness initiative launched in 2011 by Health and Human Services and administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Grants will be awarded to governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations across a variety of sectors, including education. The targeted communities can be specific counties, cities, towns and villages with populations up to 500,000 or neighborhoods, sections, or subgroups of the population (e.g., children or seniors) within a metropolitan area.
 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Advocacy proposals due Friday

Help decide our legislative priorities. Proposals are due JUNE 1
State board of education needs your feedback on waivers (survey)
What Every Parent Needs Know – Find Your Voice training comes to Renton on June 9

Final countdown … Help decide WSPTA's Top 5

2012-13 Platform: Information & Proposal Form

Proposals for Washington State PTA’s short-term legislative platform are due June 1. Only PTA/PTSA members may turn in proposals. These will be voted on at our legislative assembly in October. Forms may be emailed, faxed, snail-mailed or hand-delivered, but MUST be in before midnight June 1.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

New Race, this one focused on learners

District-Level Race to the Top to Focus on the Classroom, Provide Tools to Enhance Learning and Serve the Needs of Every Student
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2012 Competition Proposal Available for Public Comment Until June 8
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Who can apply:
“The proposed 2012 program criteria invites applications from districts or groups of districts serving at least 2,500 students with 40 percent or more qualifying for free or reduced price lunch. Districts will choose to apply for funding to support learning strategies that personalize education in all or a set of schools, within specific grade levels, or select subjects.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Got a teen? Get them to vote

High-schoolers should register NOW to vote this summer and fall.
Register online

If you (or your child) will be 18 by Election Day, you should register.

  • Election Day/August 7 primary ... Register online by July 9, or in-person by July 30
  • Election Day/November 6 General election  ... Register online by October 8, or in person by October 29

PTA flier to share with members - Help get the word out. Share with your high school PTSAs!

Encouraging civic engagement supports Standard 5 of PTA’s National Standards for Family-School Partnerships.  Sharing power and other standards for success

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Washington treading water in science


Washington’s eighth-graders scored a little better than the national average on the science portion of the Nation’s Report Card, but the state’s gaps among subgroups remained entrenched.

Nationally, score gaps between black and white students and between Hispanic and non-Hispanic white students narrowed between 2009 and 2011. In Washington, the score gap widened for black students and narrowed for Hispanic students, but the changes were not significantly different. (Details below)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What will be our new Top 5?

Help decide Washington State PTA’s legislative priorities


Reminder: ALL short-term legislative issues expire this October when delegates vote in a new platform. (This includes the current TOP 6 and the “also supported” issues – including ones voted on last October)

Any PTA/PTSA member or group of members can submit an issue for consideration. I am available to assist as needed.
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Ramona Hattendorf, Government Relations Coordinator
Washington State PTA
Subscribe to Washington State PTA’s Action E-List


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Resolutions all pass, as written

Subsidizing staff salaries ... Equitable educational opportunities ... Aligning sleep requirements to school start times ... Arts education

Voting delegates to the 99th Annual Washington State Convention voted to adopt three new resolutions and amend a fourth. All passed as written, though delegates considered several amendments.

The resolutions and supporting documents can be found here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Highlights of the 2012 legislative session

Washington State PTA advocates for the well-being and education of all children. We went into the December 2011 special session with a simple message: Don’t cut Apple Health for Kids and don’t cut basic education. Our focus stayed on the basics through that session, the regular 2012 session and the follow-up special sessions.

Legislators faced tough budgeting decisions; they needed to figure out efficiencies and forge consensus around spending priorities. We asked them to prioritize kids, and in the end they did. Both parties, both chambers. The problem is that designated revenue doesn’t cover what the kids need. It’s short about $2 billion when it comes to funding basic education. Legislators did not address that, though some tried.

For a breakdown of the budget, see an earlier blog post, Cuts stopped; long road ahead for K-12.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Resources: Gangs and school safety

Keeping kids safe is a fundamental principle of PTA and the link between poverty and poor educational outcomes to violence and gang-related activity is well-documented. So what to do?

Well for one, we can recognize the relationship between behaviors and gang involvement and work to provide a safe and secure learning environment. That’s what they are doing in Pasco. Others are focusing on data to craft better policy and identify professional training needs.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cuts stopped; long road ahead for K-12

It took two special sessions, but at the end of the day – or in this case the all-nighter – state legislators crafted a budget that helps protect children. Cuts from past years were not restored, and K-12 education in particular faces a long road to adequate let alone ample funding. But the cuts stopped.

Education and programs that keep children healthy, fed and safe were maintained, and the legislature committed to figuring out how to add billions of dollars to basic education to meet its legal obligations. The “payment plan” is due by the end of the year. It needs to propose budget strategies and/or revenues to pay for 2009’s expanded definition of basic education, and 2010’s phase-in plan.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tele townhall for early learning

Tele townhall on early learning
Wednesday, April 11 from 12-1 p.m.
888-863-6102
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Increasing access to high quality early learning programs and improving transitions into kindergarten are priorities of Washington State PTA.

2012 legislative priority
Public education and funding, Long-term legislative principles

Excellent Schools Now and A+ Washington are hosting a telephone town hall on the importance of early education and efforts to expand it. Featured speakers include:

Still no budget - kids need payment plan

Special session ends at midnight tonight.

Still no budget deal as day ends, but lawmakers continue to negotiate (from TVW - Monday night wrap)
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Gregoire pitching new proposal as deadline nears (from AP - Monday afternoon wrap)
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Senate passes K-12 health insurance bill, balanced budget bill (from TVW - Saturday wrap)

The areas of negotiation continue to be a balanced budget bill, K-12 health insurance bill and pension/early retirement bill - not the budget. Yesterday the House Ways and Means postponed twice and then cancelled a meeting to take action on its version of a balanced budget bill and K-12 insurance benefits.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

House is expected to vote on its revised budget

Please contact your legislators and let them know if you support-
TAKE ACTION
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Highlights (viewed through the PTA filter):
  • Continues to make no reductions to K-12, early learning or higher education
  • Continues to fund programs that keep kids in school and on track
  • Funds WaKIDS implementation
  • Funds transition into new teacher and principal evaluation system

Fourth budget proposal out; sides still at odds

BOTTOM LINE: KIDS NEEDS ARE STILL IN LIMBO
And the state still hasn't figured out HOW it is going to pay for K-12 increases mandated by the McCleary decision.

About the latest proposal:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Budget vote near (at least in the House)

BUDGET ACTION
The House will be voting on its version of the supplemental operating budget. ESHB 2127 has been moved to the short list of bills to take up. No word yet about possible amendments to the budget proposal.
  • The House convenes Wednesday at 9 a.m. for  session/caucus. Sessions/caucuses are also set for Thursday and Friday.
  • The Senate convenes for a session/caucus Wednesday at noon.
  • You can watch the hearings live or at your convenience at www.tvw.org

Friday, March 30, 2012

Breakthrough close on budget?

TAKE ACTION
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Gregoire pushes compromise; says it is an all-in-one proposal
EXCERPT: “Gregoire said there are six major issues still at play, including proposals to raise taxes. She declined to say what her package would look like but said negotiators have to get away from working through each issue one at a time.
… “Republican Sen. Michael Baumgartner said his colleagues still want to see the pension changes and other overhauls, but he said -the party was flexible and open to accepting other ideas as part of a larger compromise, including the possibility of higher taxes.”

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Delegates to vote on advocacy, bylaw changes

RESOLUTIONS UP FOR CONSIDERATION:
  • Arts education - updates language, scope
  • Sleep requirements aligned to school start times - new
  • Subsidizing staff salaries - revised proposal; first considered last year
  • Equitable education opportunities (contains references to innovation and charter schools) - new
  • List of current resolutions
Several resolutions and bylaw amendments will be considered at the Washington State PTA Convention May 4-6. Resolutions are longterm advocacy positions. Bylaws are the rules that govern the association.

All PTAs/PTSAs need to review these proposals. Be sure to familiarize yourselves with them and discuss them with your voting delegates so they know how to represent your PTA.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Great news for early learning

Big news for the early learning folks: new guidlines are available. Please note the guidelines are birth through third grade and reflect the state-level commitment for smooth transitions into the K-12 system. (See forwarded note, below, for more information.)

Also great news: Yesterday the governor signed a new WaKids bill into law that expands the program to all schools statewide. Funding comes from a federal grant.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Waiting for compromise

BUDGET UPDATE
Various proposals

Leaders from the parties and respective chambers should be negotiating a supplemental budget. Last week the governor expressed frustration at lack of movement. Veto threat.
Senators released a new proposal last week that protected K-12 education funding -- "basic education" as well as enhancement programs that help struggling learners and that promote literacy, math and science, and educator development.
  • Early learning funding is maintained at present levels.
  • Cuts to the Office of the Education Ombudsman are trimmed to 5 percent, from 30 percent, and are no longer retroactive.

Feedback on charter school bill, SB 6202

WSPTA neither supports or opposes; is evaluating and cites concerns
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NOTE: This bill was heard in January by the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee. A companion bill was heard by the House Education Committee. It did not move out of committee and was not discussed or voted on by either chamber, but it was funded in at least one budget proposal from the Senate.

Washington State PTA has qualified support for charter schools and is actively looking for ways to close our state's entrenched achievement gaps. The association is supportive of allowing charter public schools in Washington as a way to improve accountability and innovation – but only if the charter public schools support our principles and follow state law.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Budget: On to compromise talks

The Senate passed a budget around 1 a.m. last night, using a procedural move to consider a proposal that did not move out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and that did not get a public hearing.

If there had been a hearing, Washington State PTA would have expressed strong concerns about cuts to education programs that benefit disadvantaged youth, and cuts to programs that keep children safe.

In the new Senate budget, $18 million has been cut from Children and Family Services; $202 million from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families  and Working Connections Child Care; and $44 million from K-12 public education. In the version written by the Ways and Means chair, no cuts were made to education and children’s services were protected.  A key difference is the budget passed does not delay by one day a $330 million apportionment payment.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Budget slashes programs for kids

UPDATE: New Senate budget passed 25-24 at 12:47 a.m. 3/3/2012
From here, Senate and House will negotiate differences in respective operating budgets




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This afternoon I had good news on the supplemental budget. Senators put kids first. No cuts to education – and better yet, they did this without further cuts into programs that keep kids healthy and safe. Ways and Means was set to vote on the budget Saturday.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

HB 2799 - Collaborative schools, testimony in support

To: House Education Committee
re: In support of HB 2799, collaborative schools

Dear Chairwoman Santos and committee members

On behalf of the Washington State PTA, I am writing in strong support of HB 2799, collaborative schools for innovation and success. Identifying ways to better support students affected by the achievement gaps has been at the forefront of many PTA and PTSA conversations this past year. At our legislative assembly last fall, delegates unanimously voted to prioritize closing achievement gaps this legislative session by advocating for specific strategies. This particular issue also garnered the highest support in a statewide online survey that gathered feedback for voting delegates.

HB 2799 would advance three of strategies endorsed in that proposal:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

SB 5967, Senate operations budget; support with 1 strong concern;

To: Senate Ways and Means Committee
Re: Proposed Senate 2012 Supplemental Operating Budget, striking amendment to SB 5967

Please fully commit to K12 education; please ensure kids get an education ombudsman

Dear Chairman Murray and committee members,

Washington State PTA’s priorities this session are to protect education and Apple Health for Kids, and we thank you for introducing a budget proposal that holds the line on cuts and identifies revenue to begin paying for the program of basic education that was promised back in 2009.

This leadership means a great deal to us.

Champions came through: No cuts to education

WSPTA PRESS RELEASE:
Senate budget a big step forward
LEADERS ANNOUNCE "NO CUTS TO EDUCATION"

Today state Senate leaders made a welcomed first step in meeting their paramount duty to fund education.  They announced a no cuts approach to K-12, and they promised immediate progress toward fully funding Basic Education, as promised in 2009’s House Bill 2261.

“This reaffirms our key message: Kids come first,” said Novella Fraser, Washington State PTA president. “Kids need a great basic education, and they need it fully funded.”

“We see inadequate funding for schools play out on a very personal level. We know the kids who are not reading well and we work with the staff struggling to support them. The schools are stressed, staffs are stressed, and volunteers are stressed. Finally, we’re seeing a commitment to invest in kids’ future.”

Monday, February 27, 2012

Public Charter School Forum Wednesday, 2/29

Hear pro, con and ask your questions.
Hosted by Washington State PTA Region 6
Wednesday, 2/29/12, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Washington Middle School in Seattle (directions below)

This event includes a review of national and state PTA positions on charter schools. ALL regions are welcome. Please, come hear what pro and con advocates have to say and what pro and con speakers from the academic world have to say.


Moderated by C.R. Douglas, Political Analyst, Q13 Fox News
PTA positions reviewed by Ramona Hattendorf, Government Relations Coordinator, Washington State PTA.

Panelists

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hundreds rally to focus on kids

Several hundred advocates braved the rain this President's Day and marched to the Capitol Steps to convey a simple message: Kids come first.

·          Kids need a great basic education, and most important, kids need it fully funded. Kids need to be kept healthy and safe. And most important, kids need champions. TAKE ACTION

The rally was part of Washington State PTA’s annual Focus Day. This is the day members focus on Olympia and tell our state leaders that kids come first. It is also the day key legislators meet with members to let us know what’s ahead and how we can better focus our work.

HB 2127, House operations budget; feedback

Update: In this response I overlooked a cut to small high schools that would have indeed been significant to the students and staff involved. Fortunately that funding was restored in a later version of the bill. This budget proposal otherwise kept allocations the same for Basic Education, but made cuts to some education enhancement programs. - RH

To: House Ways and Means Committee
Re: HB 2127, House operations budget

Dear Chairman Hunter and committee members,

Improving and funding basic education is Washington State PTA’s top priority and we are heartened that there are no additional significant cuts to K-12 proposed in your 2012 supplemental operating budget.

HB 2538, WaKids; testimony in support

To: Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee
Re: WaKids, HB 2538

Dear Chairwoman McAuliffe and committee members,

I wanted to follow up on my testimony in support of HB 2538, which moves up implementation of WaKids’ inventory of skills. Washington State PTA continues to support WaKids and looks forward to statewide implementation.

With WaKids the focus is on understanding each student’s particular needs and using that information to build strong relationships with the family so that, together, family and educator can better support the child.

House releases budget

House Ways and Means budget writers released the "first draft" of the 2012 supplemental operating budget, PSHB 2127.

Action Alert: Tell legislators - no cuts to schools; keep kids healthy and safe
Highlights:
  • No additional cuts to basic education
  • $400 million "delay" in school payments and levy equalization payments

Sunday, February 19, 2012

House budget to be heard Feb. 21

Grassroots Connection: Update from Olympia

The House Ways and Means Committee will hold a public hearing on its proposed supplemental budget Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 3:30 p.m., in Room A of the John L. O'Brien Building on the Capitol Campus.

The hearing will be on the substitute bill by Rep. Hunter. The current version of HB 2127 is the governor's proposal, prefiled by Rep. Hunter at the request of the governor. I will post a link to the substitute when it becomes available.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Evaluation, budget updates from Olympia

EVALUATION BILL ADVANCES

The House Education Committee passed ESSB 5895 out of committee today. It passed the Senate last week, 46-3. Bill analysis.
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BUDGET NEWS
Revenue Forecast: Up $96 million — good news for lawmakers
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House budget expected next week; Senate budget shortly thereafter
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Alternative House budget released

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Time to check in with legislators

CORRECTION: No town hall for District 37 (southeast Seattle) this weekend.

Townhalls are this weekend -- see list, below
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FOCUS DAY IS MONDAY! Kids activities starting at 9 a.m.; 11:30 a.m. march to the capitol steps; noon rally
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Evaluation compromise clears Senate, on to House
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Early learning pieces advance, but key components still being worked on

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tell legislators: THINK KIDS

Dear advocates,

Children are the heart of PTA work. Help them out by sending a valentine on their behalf. It will help keep children’s issues front and center as the House and Senate move bills off the floor February 13 and 14.

Sample message is included in Action Alert. TAKE ACTION.

If you like, ask your legislators to support a particular bill. See list, below.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Evaluation bills are about helping kids learn

STATE’S WORK USES A GROWTH MODEL, NOT A BLAME MODEL
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Dear advocates,

The evaluation work being piloted in this state is about taking responsibility for the needs of students and the support that requires. The teacher, principal, school district, family and greater community all play a role in helping kids learn. The evaluation work is one piece of the puzzle. It's the part that lets teachers and principals know how they are doing, and helps them identify what they can do better.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tell them you care

Universal early learning cleared committee (2SHB 2448); evaluations are back on the agenda (SSB 5895 and SSB 5896); and taking care of kids’ well-being and education will be front and center of budget discussions.

So send a valentine to your legislators. They need some cheer. We (heart) kids Action Alert

What does "student growth data" mean, anyway?

Education, 2/10/12 8:00 am

House Full Committee, House Hearing Rm A, John L. O'Brien Building, Olympia, WA
Work Session: Use of Student Growth Data in Educator Evaluations.

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Dear advocates,

So just what DOES “multiple measures of student growth” mean?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Finally – A hearing for Fund Education First bill

UPDATES:
Legislators propose 'Education First'  - Spokesman Review
Alternate budget spends $580M more on education - The Olympian


Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/2012/02/02/1974856/house-gops-budget-spends-580m.html#storylink=cpy
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TAKE ACTION - Tell your legislators to phase in basic education plan
TVW tape - 1/31 hearing in House Education Appropriations
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Many thanks to PTA members Chad Magendanz and Moneika Rupert who testified Tuesday in support of
HB 2533 - Prioritizing expenditures for K-12 education within the state appropriations process. President Novella Fraser also submitted a letter of support, and I provided the “official” WSPTA testimony. This bill aligns with our No. 5 priority – Fund Education First.

The bill requires all appropriations for K-12 basic education, together with appropriations for other K-12 education programs, to be enacted into law before the legislature takes executive action on other omnibus appropriations legislation.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Another blow to basic education, funding

BILL WOULD KILL 24-CREDIT COLLEGE AND CAREER-READY DIPLOMA
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Set requirements below what most schools currently require
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Dear advocates,

Yesterday afternoon a bill was heard that would redefine basic education to include only 18 credits and not the 24 in the college and career ready diploma outlined in 2009’s HB 2261.
The rolled-back definition in this new bill, HB 2411, was supported by the Washington Education Association (teachers union) and Washington State School Director Association (school board association).

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Lab schools, charter schools get House hearing

Dear advocates,
The charter discussion continued in the House Education Committee today. I strongly encourage you to watch the TVW video:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Early learning bill gets hearing Jan. 20


HB 2448 - Creating the high-quality early learning act
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House Early Learning & Human Services
1/20/2012, 1:30 p.m.
House Hearing Rm D, John L. O'Brien Building, Olympia, WA
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Related WSPTA 2012 priority: Early learning
Also supported as a National PTA priority (see page 7 of the policy brief)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hearing recap and testimony on charter schools

A work session on Washington’s Innovative Schools and a public hearing on SB 6041, lighthouse school programs; and SB 6202, establishing alternative forms of governance for certain public schools
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Dear advocates,
Innovation was the theme at this morning’s gathering of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Committee. First senators heard an overview of the state’s designated Innovative Schools and a presentation by the TAF Academy, a public-private partnership that operates STEM-focused schools in Federal Way and Renton. (STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Evaluations, early learning, juvenile justice, charters

Dear advocates,

LOTS of issues from our 2012 platform to weigh in on or track this week, from implementing the revised evaluation system, to charter schools, educational opportunities, early learning and juvenile justice. Plus issues included in our legislative principles and resolutions.

This week’s legislative agenda has been updated several times and several hearings or work sessions have been canceled or delayed due to snow.

DAILY AGENDAS – Always check before heading to Olympia. They can change
TVW SCHEDULE – Watch hearings live on TV or web; they also archive them

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Reform bills introduced in House and Senate

ADDRESS EVALUATIONS, CHARTERS AND ‘TRANSFORMATION ZONES’
Press conference
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WSPTA statement on implementing new teacher and principal evaluations
Re: : HB 2427/SB 6203

Washington State PTA is proud to serve on the Teacher and Principal Evaluation Pilot Oversight Committee and is strongly supportive of the work underway to promote professional growth. We look forward to student-focused evaluations that give educators the feedback they need to progress from a beginner with basic skills to an experienced professional with distinguished skills.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Court to state: No more delays on K-12 funding

UPDATE 2/3/12: TAKE ACTION - Tell your legislators to phase in basic education


Dear advocates,

In a clear win for children, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled unanimously today that the state was violating its constitutional paramount duty to amply fund K-12 education. The ruling

This is a historic victory, and starting today we have a new conversation. No longer are we going to petition over loss of school days or access to all-day kindergarten.

Starting today, the cuts stop and funding starts.