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.
I first became involved with this issue when I learned that WA State only pays for a 5 credit day -- not enough to meet the state requirements for our State College and Universities which require 6 credits and leaving local levies to fill in the gap. But the gap is wider than that -- the national average number of periods is 7 and our kids are simply shortchanged, with the state only paying for 5 periods or 20 credits.
With the current allotment kids are not able to take the more rigorous classes that they want, nor are they able to take the electives in engineering, bio-tech, communications, science, math, arts, language, business and many vocational classes. Classes that ignites a students' imagination and more often than not, it's the electives that have teachers who really engage with kids, who celebrate their success and help keep them stay in school.
I've heard the concerns for the few who cannot achieve 24 credits. I say, let's not lower the bar for all but implement the necessary supports that these students need to graduate. Increase credit retrieval opportunities, add tutoring, reduce suspensions with positive behavior policies, etc. -- but please do not short-change all students.
I urge you to please pass this bill, it's too late for my kids who graduate in 2 years, but this bill helps delivery the 21st century education WA state students need to be successful
Thank you for this opportunity to speak.