Friday, January 31, 2014

E-Wire for Friday 1/31/2014

Greetings folks!

Today the House and the Senate are honoring our veterans by passing a series of bills that will improve access to services and make exemptions to ease qualifying veterans into college.

The House has a series of bills which are focusing on studying military children’s experiences in Washington Schools with the intent of following up with services if necessary.  They are also passing out legislation that would give our veterans credit for courses undertaken while in the military for licensing credential requirements and college course credit. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dream Act May Become A Reality

State Senate leaders reverse course, agree to version of ‘Dream Act’

OLYMPIA — State Senate Republican leaders have agreed to authorize college financial aid for students illegally brought to the United States as children, a surprising shift that is expected to pave the way for passage of the major Democratic priority.
The Senate GOP will announce the decision at a 3:30 p.m. news conference, according to a top Republican senator.
Senate Bill 6523, introduced Thursday by Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom and five others, would make the change and provide $5 million “or as much thereof as may be necessary” to account for increased participants in the State Need Grant program.
The bill would be called the “REAL (Real Educational Access, changing Lives) Hope Act.”
It is virtually identical to House Bill 1817, also called the state version of the “Dream Act,” which has been a big priority for Gov. Jay Inslee and other Democrats for more than a year.
The Democrat-controlled state House voted 71-23 to approve the bill on the first day of this year’s legislative session, but the Republican-run Senate had not been expected to take it up.
Speaking for the caucus, Oak Harbor Republican Barbara Bailey said earlier this month that, “we have a lot of things that take priority over this.”
Bailey, the chairwoman of the Senate Higher Education Committee, said the bill did not make sense because more than 30,000 students applied for state financial aid last year and didn’t get it.
Senate Republicans also declined to take up the bill after it passed the state House last year. Minority Democrats even attempted, unsuccessfully, to take over the Senate to bring up the bill.
Bailey was one of six initial sponsors of Senate Bill 6523, alongside Tom and Republicans Joe Fain, Andy Hill, Steve Litzow and Bruce Dammeier.
State Rep. Larry Seaquist, who chairs the House Higher Education Committee, called the Senate GOP’s move “a win for our students.”
“This is saying to all Latino students: ‘the door’s open. We want you in our universities,’” said Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor. “It’s important for our whole state. We can’t survive as a state if we don’t have all of these people going through our colleges and universities.”

Ensuring Discipline that is Fair and Effective

The Department’s Office for Civil Rights and the Department of Justice released the first-ever federal policy guidance to enhance school climate and improve school discipline policies and practices.
“Teachers and principals make difficult, yet appropriate, decisions involving the use of school discipline each and every school day,” wrote Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon. “And yet, in some of our schools and districts, the unfair and unnecessary use of suspensions and expulsions undermine this essential work. Students must be in school to be successful.” 
Read more about the guidance at

Five Memorable School Visits of 2013:
Duncan Visiting Schools
In 2013, Secretary Arne Duncan visited his 49th state as Secretary of Education. “Getting out of Washington and into classrooms provides me with the opportunity to talk with students, teachers, parents, and college leaders on what is working and what we still need to accomplish,” he writes. Read: Looking Back at 5 Memorable School Visits of 2013. 

Quick Links
 Source: U.S. Department of Education Weekly Digest Bulletin, January 12, 2014

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

National PTA Applauds Administration’s Commitment to Early Childhood Education in State of the Union

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Jan. 28, 2014) — In the 2014 State of the Union, an annual address delivered by the President of the United States before members of Congress, President Barack Obama expressed a renewed commitment to ensure that every child has access to high-quality early education.

“For decades, National PTA has called for the prioritization of early education, as research shows that providing effective, targeted supports and interventions to children and parents starting at birth will better prepare them for academic and career success,” said Otha Thornton, National PTA President. “National PTA applauds the Administration’s renewed commitment to early education and the increased dedication of resources to expand access to high-quality programs for all children from birth to kindergarten.”

E-Wire for Jan 29th 2014

Hi there folks,

The E-wire is doing some research at the office today while the House and Senate are in and out of caucus and taking floor action.  The Senate has chosen to lob over the wall the Structured Settlement legislation which prompted the House to respond by sending over the sick leave proposal.  The controversial SB 5246 which makes changes to the Teacher / Principal Evaluations remains on the Senate 2nd Reading Calendar meaning that there will now be amendments offered.  What they look like is anyone’s guess.  More on this issue soon.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

E-Wire for Tuesday, January 28th!


The E-wire had a busy past few days helping your board testify on key issues and following bills in committee.  Yesterday, the WA PTA signed in opposition to a proposal to require a 2/3rds majority to pass tax increases.  If we are to ever get the funding required by the court to finish the promise of McCleary, it will require additional revenue.  We cannot make it more difficult than it already is for the state to meet its legislative goals.  With that – onto the E-Wire!

Top news for today – Governor Inslee doubles down on Education Funding for the session.  Funding for the $200 million for teacher salaries and STEM investment comes from closing $200 million in tax loopholes – watch here on TVW

Monday, January 27, 2014

WSPTA Provided Testimony on HB 2181 to Authorizing & Support Career and College ready graduation requirements

Testimony on 1/23/14 - Bill 2181 Career and College Ready Diploma

Thank you madam Chair and members of the committee.
My name is Heidi Bennett, Seattle parent and representing the WA State PTA

We support  this bill most enthusiastically, since the concept was first presented in Washington Learns,  then again in bill 2261 and plus this has been a WA State PTA priority for the last decade.

Friday, January 24, 2014

E-Wire 1.24.14

Greetings folks!

It’s Higher Education Day in the House!  Well not officially, but the bulk of the bills under consideration pertain to Higher Ed.  So, hats off to the Double Larry Duo of Springer (Chair) and Haler (Ranking Member) who have delivered to the House Floor a raft of bills under consideration.  Here are the highlights:

Substitute House Bill 1669 – Clarifying fees and notification to students in self-supported university programs – the bill will allow students of fee supported college programs to better understand the costs of the program and it will improve notification to students to prepare for those costs when they change.  The bill was authored by Representative Pollet and passed the House 86-11.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

E-Wire 1.23.14

Good morning!

The E-wire is sandwiched between Marcie Maxwell, Heidi Bennett, and Sherry Krainick for House Hearings.  The room is packed and we can see Betsey Cohen from Issaquah and Micaela Razo from Eastern Yakima County.  The topics for today include:       

HB 2217 - Encouraging School Districts to Work With Community Partners to Improve the Utilization of K-12 Capital Facilities

The Washington State PTA represents the more than 1,000,000 school aged children in Washington state with a membership exceeding 100,000.   Our vision is to make every child’s potential a reality.  Family and Community Engagement is a key priority for PTA nationwide.  Washington State PTA is here to testify in support of the changing “Parent Engagement Coordinator” to “Family and Community Engagement Coordinators.”

National PTA has an entire program titled National Standards for Family-School Partnerships which identifies six standards.  Number 1 is to welcome and connect all families and Number 6 is to collaborate with community.  Washington State PTA also has numerous policy statements to support this change.  We also recognize that expanding the scope from parent to family and community will support non-traditional families and will be a foundational effort in engaging communities to Close the Achievement and Opportunity Gaps, which is our number 3 legislative priority.

We encourage your support of HB 2217.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

E-Wire - 1/22/2014

Good morning,

The E-Wire is mainlining coffee this morning and sitting in the House Education Committee Executive Session.  The following bills were voted out of committee (subject to signature, of course!).

HB 2017:  Changes the deadline for non-renewal contracts for certificated school employees.  This allows districts an extra month to send out the notices should the budget be passed in special instead of non-regular session.  Passed 19-0

HB 1709 – Requiring a study to develop a foreign language education interpreter training program. Passed 18-1

HB 1815 – Assuring that education related information is appropriately provided to parents with diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.  Passed 17-2.  No’s on committee were due to concerns with the underlying costs of the bill.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

E-Wire - 1/21/2014

Greetings from under the dome at the State Capitol.  

The E-Wire was working with Heather Gillette and Sherry Krainick discussing issues with legislators and keeping a close eye on rules committee hearings in the Senate.  Not surprisingly, the big topic coming out of the noon Rules Committee Hearing was the advancement of the Teacher and Principal Evaluation’s Legislation which passed out of the Senate Early Learning and K12 Education Committee yesterday on a contentious party line vote. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

E-Wire - 1/20/2014

Dear Friends,

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  Throughout Washington, there are great celebrations occurring to mark the holiday bearing his name.  The E-Wire is particularly partial to the events in Tacoma which usually has a great collection of contemporary talent and, when I am not in legislative session, I can be found there.  Today, however, the legislature is in session and Director Krainick and I are meeting with legislators and attending the public hearing on behalf of paraeducator development.  The discussion should be fascinating since it is a widely unknown fact that in Washington State, paraeducators account for over 50% of the face time for ELL and Special Ed Students.  On another front, the holiday means student lobbyists from High Schools and Colleges are populating the halls, talking to legislators on issues ranging from access to education to bills supported by Planned Parenthood.  Check back later today for a report on the hearing.

Friday, January 17, 2014

WSPTA Provided Testimony on HB 2109 to Increase Quality Healthcare in Rural and Underserved Areas

Washington State PTA attended the House Higher Education Committee meeting at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, January 17, 2014 in support of Rep. Haler’s(8th District, Richland) HB 2109 Concerning the development of residency training programs to recruit and retain primary care physicians in rural and underserved areas of the state.  Due to committee time constraints, testimony was limited to the Kadlec group.  Washington State PTA signed in as a supporter of the bill, we did not get the opportunity to provide oral testimony.  The following written testimony was submitted to the committee:

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Modifications to the Graduation Requirements Framework at SBE Meeting

The State Board of Education takes action to increase flexibility on 24 credit graduation requirements which supports Washington State PTA's number one priority to Advance Basic Education Reforms. These reforms are designed to support the educational needs of student in the 21st century.  The 24 credit graduation requirement supports the career and college readiness goals of the education reforms.  

Dear stakeholders: I wanted to let you know that, at its January 9 meeting, the State Board of Education adopted flexibility provisions to its 24-credit graduation requirement framework.  By law, the Legislature must authorize and fund the requirements before they can take effect.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

E-Wire: 1/15/14

Hi folks!

The E-Wire is down with Sherry Krainick and Heather Gillette in Olympia today and while we were there a raft of education and child related bills made it on the introduction sheet.  More on those bills later – for now, time to look at what is hot on everyone’s minds down here…

Senate Democratic Leader Nelson applauds Inslee for offering a bold State of the State Address

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

E Wire - 1/14/2014

It’s Day #2 in the legislative session!  House and Senate committees are scheduling their final work sessions before the bills that hit the hopper over the holidays are heard in committee.  Both the House and Senate Education Committees will be hearing bills tomorrow. 

The 8AM House Education hearing will feature legislation that will attempt to get a handle on the student privacy questions that were brought forth by this NPR article last month.  House Bill 2133 by Representative Scott is scheduled for hearing – no word on possible amendments or an executive session yet.  The bill's scope goes beyond privacy issues, however, and is likely to change substantially before passing committee.

Monday, January 13, 2014

High court orders Legislature to speed up K-12 funding increases

The Washington State Supreme Court has turned up the heat on legislators to provide local school districts the billions of dollars of additional K-12 funding that the State’s own studies have confirmed are needed to cure decades of unconstitutional underfunding – including fully funding salary increases, materials and operations, transportation and both the staffing and construction costs for full-day kindergarten and K-3 class size reductions.

“It is incumbent upon the State to demonstrate, through immediate, concrete action, that it is making real and measurable progress, not just promises,” the Order stated. The Court ordered the State to submit a detailed plan no later than April 30 that includes a year by year phase-in schedule for fully funding every element of basic education as defined in the McCleary ruling.

The Network for Excellence in Washington Schools – the 428-member coalition of school districts and education organizations that filed the McCleary suit – lauded the Order for continuing to hold lawmakers accountable for their constitutional “paramount duty” to fully and amply fund the K-12 education of all Washington school children.

E-Wire - 1/13/14 Afternoon Edition

Greetings folks,

The Legislature kicked off with a bang this afternoon starting with the House Speaker Frank Chopp issuing a political challenge to the Senate on Education Funding and urging support of the DREAM Act which passed the house this morning 71-23.  At 1:30, House Early Learning and House Education ran simultaneous meetings discussing issues that came up over the interim.  In House Early Learning – the focus was on a pilot program in Spokane known as “FAR” for Family Assessment Response.  This program is part of the Title IV waiver which allows the Children’s Administration to look at an alternative pathway to the traditional CPS investigative model.  Children’s Administration Director Jennifer Strus presented the update on the “FAR” approach which seems to be achieving some level of success.  I have attached her presentation above.

Over in the House Education Committee, members discussed the QEC Report presented by Representatives Kathy Dahlquist and Kristine Lytton; Two Presentations by the State Board of Education on the “health” of Education in Washington and Education and Efficiency Waivers; and finally, a report on deaf and hard of hearing interpreter standards.  All presentations are included above – for more information, I do have the official reports and can put them on the blog at a later date upon request.

The E-Wire has to run to House Appropriations…

See you soon!

Legislative Session - Day 1

Good morning from the E-Wire!  We are down in Olympia now as the House and Senate prepare for caucuses and opening session.

Breaking news for our Eastern Washington Members – Representative Haler’s Groundbreaking Legislation to attempt to fill the access to health care gap in Southeast Washington has received a hearing in House Higher Education.  The bill, HB 2109, will be heard on Friday the 17th at 8AM in House Hearing Room A.  Here is the link to the bill: 

This afternoon, the House will be engaging in the first round of legislative hearings in Education, Early Learning, and Appropriations.  The E-Wire will be there, taking notes and sending you an update later today.  This morning, the following Education and Whole child related bills were introduced.  The bill list included all pre-filed bills, but E-Wire readers have already seen that list so, here are the rest…

Friday, January 10, 2014

Part 3: E-Wire for 1.10.2013

Part 2: E-Wire for 1.10.2013

E-Wire for January 10th 2014!!

Greetings from E-Wire.

By this time on Monday, we will be knee deep in legislative session.  Because of the increased activity by E-Wire – we are going to post this in two segments.  The first will be a review of upcoming legislative hearings for the week of 1/13-17.  The second will be our regularly scheduled E-Wire!

E-Wire will now be reporting to you all things Education from the halls of the O’Brien and Cherberg Building.  Judging from published reports, the legislature will be very busy this coming week, so the E-Wire is prepared and putting together a review of pending Education and Whole Child Bills and a brief summary of the hearings scheduled this week.  In reviewing the hearings, we are seeing some themes for the week:

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Late Breaking E-Wire

Well folks,

We have another drop from our friends at the Code Reviser’s Office in Olympia.  The latest group includes:

SB 5994 – Senator Doug Ericksen (Bellingham) - A Common School Fund Charter Schools Fix.  The Superior Court ruling on Charter Schools placed some restrictions on capital financing of charter schools.  This bill would remove the obstacles that were highlighted in the decision.

SB 5997 – Senator Jan Angel (Gig Harbor) – Currently, Superior Court may ignore paternity DNA tests in paternity cases where the child has some established relationship with the male in question.  This option for the court would be removed and paternity would be denied in cases where a DNA test proves the male is not the father of the child.

SB 6002 – Senator Andy Hill (Redmond) – Senate version of the companion bill that Ross Hunter introduced in the House on appropriations.  This is the Governor’s Budget proposal.  Unlike the House, the Senate has not listed a hearing date at this time.

HJR 4213 – Representative Elizabeth Scott (Monroe) – Constitutional Amendment establishing term limits for the legislature of eight years for either house or both.  Members can be elected to the other house or return after a two year interim.

Expect a raft of these tomorrow….

Use of electronic sign-in for most Senate committees & new features

For the 2014 Legislative Session, most Senate committees will continue to use the Electronic Committee Sign-In Program.  Those wishing to sign-in for a bill may do so on the day of the hearing by: 
  • Using a web-enabled device (laptop, tablet, or smart phone), navigate to while on campus and connected to the Legislature’s WSLPublic wireless internet network; or 
  • Accessing one of the public sign-in kiosks located in the Cherberg building main hallway, each Senate hearing room, or the 1st floor of Pritchard and Legislative buildings.
    Note: If the committee's name does not appear in the sign-in program, go to the hearing room to sign-in on the paper sheets
A new feature beginning in 2014 will allow you to create an optional account that stores your sign-in information & history.  Accounts are only accessible by using a web-enabled device, and are not available at the kiosks. 

A demonstration of the sign-in program, including new features, will be given on January 13 and 15, at 1:00 p.m. in Senate Hearing Room 3.

January 9, 2014 - Bills and E-Wire!

Greetings from E-Wire,

Starting off, Representative Ross Hunter formally introduces Governor Inslee’s budget proposal as HB 2185 and sets the initial hearing at 3:30PM on January 13th.  Other Education and Whole Child related bills are dropping fast and furious – here is a sample of today and yesterday’s proposals:

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

E-Wire for January 8th 2014

So a funny thing happened to the E-wire while we were down in Olympia meeting with legislators before the beginning of session.  That funny thing would be  slew of Education and PTA related bills (Educane?  Edupaloza? Eduquake?) were pre filed and released at the close of business yesterday.  This is likely to be happening over the next few days as legislators trickle down to Olympia in preparation for the 2014 Legislative Session which starts in a few days.

With that in mind, onto the Eduquake!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

E Wire for 1.7.2014

Welcome to E-Wire!

Charlotte, North Carolina’s schools raise the bar in improving student achievement

No Child Left Behind Waiver States biggest challenges are with English Learners adjusting to a new language / culture

Monday, January 6, 2014

E-Wire for 1.6.2014

Good afternoon!

The E-wire is down with Legislative Director Sherry Krainick making appointments in Olympia and meeting with our legislators.  The mood is quiet down here and for the first time in a long while, the Code Reviser’s Office isn't slammed the week before session.  This could be a trend, or it could be the calm before the storm on Friday at noon which is the deadline for bills to be introduced on the first day of the legislative session.  Time will tell, and we will check back with our friends at the Pritchard Library later in the week for an update.  No education bills have been released today, so onto the E-Wire!