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

Senate budget a big step forward

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.


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
  • 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


The House Education Committee passed ESSB 5895 out of committee today. It passed the Senate last week, 46-3. Bill analysis.
Revenue Forecast: Up $96 million — good news for lawmakers
House budget expected next week; Senate budget shortly thereafter
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
FOCUS DAY IS MONDAY! Kids activities starting at 9 a.m.; 11:30 a.m. march to the capitol steps; noon rally
Evaluation compromise clears Senate, on to House
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

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.


Dear advocates,

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

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Finally – A hearing for Fund Education First bill

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

Read more here:
TAKE ACTION - Tell your legislators to phase in basic education plan
TVW tape - 1/31 hearing in House Education Appropriations
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.