Friday, February 28, 2014

E-Wire for 2.27!

Top Stories for 2.27.2014 include the passage of Omnibus Education Reform Bill 6552 from House Education Committee.  Meanwhile, over in the Senate, Kevin Ranker offers legislation that is designed to get us closer to McCleary.  Read about the proposal hereherehere, and here.
In other news, Governor Inslee signed the Dream Act.
Sometimes, well intended ideas have negative consequences.
What does the patriarch of “Duck Dynasty,” actor John Hamm, and Princess Diana all have in common?
A follow-up on the obesity rate decline among children.
Diversity across the nation to address the “summer learning loss” problem.
US Department of Education speaks out on Student Privacy Concerns.
State releases list of under-performing schools, but it’s not all bad everywhere… 
The governor and the legislature is working overtime to address the Teacher Evaluation Issue.
Great Op-Ed by veteran teacher Jim Strickland on special needs students and testing.
And, finally, the Spokesman Review evaluates the Senate Budget proposal.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

E-Wire Evening Edition

Greetings PTA Friends,

The E-Wire was hunkered down this morning in the Pritchard Building drafting a few messages to legislators to release the Breakfast After The Bell Bill which is currently stuck in committee in the Senate.  After which, we joined Director Krainick at the Ways and Means hearing on the Supplemental Budget.  The Senate Democrats have offered their answer to the McCleary question with the bill SB 6574.  It won’t get a hearing, but it jump-starts the debate for 2015.  

As we are in a budget mood, here is more on the Senate Budget here, here, here, and here.  And a little more here and here on those tax breaks baked into the budget. 

The House Education Committee will be holding executive session (voting) on a plethora of bills tomorrow, including SB 6552, the Omnibus Education Reform Bill.  Last we heard, there were a ton of amendments – so this has got us, and everyone else, very curious to see where the House members are going and if the Senate will accept the changes.  Time will be of the essence, as they are trying to exec (vote) out 13 bills. Check out the list below:

  1. 2SSB 5958 - Concerning accountability in providing opportunities for certain students to participate in transition services.
  2. SB 6013 - Making a technical correction to school law governing the use of epinephrine autoinjectors (EPI pens).
  3. SSB 6074 - Enacting provisions to improve educational outcomes for homeless students.
  4. SSB 6431 - Concerning assistance for schools in implementing youth suicide prevention activities.
  5. SSB 6105 - Concerning school library information and technology programs.
  6. SB 6128 - Concerning the delivery of medication and services by unlicensed school employees.
  7. SB 6424 - Establishing a state seal of biliteracy for high school students.
  8. ESSB 6242 - Concerning waivers from the one hundred eighty-day school year requirement.
  9. SB 6093 - Allowing valid portable background check clearance cards issued by the department of early learning to be used by certain educational employees and their contractors for purposes of their background check requirements.
  10. 2SSB 6062 - Requiring internet access to public school data and expenditure information.
  11. 2SSB 6163 - Concerning expanded learning opportunities.
  12. SSB 6129 - Concerning paraeducator development.
  13. E2SSB 6552 - Improving student success by modifying instructional hour and graduation requirements.

For a two hour time-frame, that's a lot.  Some may get left on the table...

More to come tomorrow.

Yeah, and you might want to read this – not likely to get your hopes up on McCleary after that read…

Peter Callaghan dives into teacher evaluations.

The Olympian explores the link between civil literacy and STEM while the Columbian looks to expand access.

Parents testifying in Olympia explore access to involuntary mental health care for their children.

Something that is lacking in many health plans – quality dental care.

Hazy budgeting… Dazed and Confused Numbers… “whoa, dude, where’s my tax revenue…”

So, tomorrow morning check your inbox as the E-wire tries to live blog the House Education Exec Session.

Should be fun.

The E-Wire is written by staff and edited by Legislative Director Sherry Krainick.

E-Wire Special Morning Budget and Omnibus SB 6552 Edition

Good morning folks!

The PTA was out in force today testifying on behalf of Senate Bills being heard in the House Education Committee.  Priority bills for us include the Omnibus School Hour and Credit Reform Bill and Pathways for Special Education Students.  Several PTA members were in attendance to testify including President Gillette, Director Krainick, and Bellevue Special Needs PTA VP Sarah Butcher.  There was an uncommon amount of give and take in the hearing between the very engaged legislators and the members of the public testifying.  As a result, this was one of the better hearings in House Education and worth your time to listen in to when you get the chance.  Links will be posted here (6552).

The second big ticket item of the day was the release of the Senate Budget.  Some of the Capital Budget directive language to OSPI for school construction looks pretty well thought out – this is likely due to the fact that buried in the budget bill is $78 million that was left unspent in the School Construction Assistance Program.  The reason for this is that there were fewer projects that qualified for grant funding than anticipated.

WSDDA’s Marie Sullivan has a great analysis which we are including here.  House Budget is expected to be delivered later this week with a hearing by the end of the week.

Read more about the Senate Budget here, here, and here.

Jump below to read testimony by our PTA leaders on the Omnibus Bill...

Monday, February 24, 2014

Some of the Key Bills PTA was following that have been or may be scheduled for hearings this week...

Here is the list of bills we have been following that are still alive as of this writing.  There are other  bills that we have worked with over the session, but these are the ones that are looking most likely to survive the latest cut-off.  Some of these bills have already had a hearing and others are either calendered or hopefully to be scheduled soon.  All policy bills must pass by Friday to survive the cut-off.

Special Pre-Budget, Pre 6552 Hearing E-Wire!

Good Morning!

The town of Olympia is all a twitter about the Senate joint budget due to be released later today.  While the E-Wire holds his breath awaiting the release, feel free to catch up on the rest of the news this morning.  You may want to pay particular attention to the first and last article in the series.

In addition, the E-Wire will be joining several PTA Members in the House Education Committee today to review Senate Bill 6552 which is the Omnibus Education Reform Bill for this session.  There will likely be some amendments on this bill, so we will be watching closely.  More information after the hearing.

And there you go!

Friday, February 21, 2014

E-Wire for 2.21.2014 - The Calm Before The Storm


If you are reading this, we have successfully survived 2/3rds of the legislative session.  At this moment, members are wrapping up last minute details and heading out of Olympia and going home for the weekend.  There, many of them will host town hall discussions with their constituents.  The WA PTA is urging members to take the time to show up to these affairs and chime in on issues involving education – specifically – our mission to fully fund basic education per the McCleary Lawsuit.  Don’t know where to find your town hall?  We got that covered.  Want to send them the message about McCleary?  We got that covered, too!

Today is a light day by legislative standards.  The past two days have been pretty busy with Senate Bills being heard in the House and vice versa.  Director Krainick was joined by several PTA members yesterday making sure our voices were heard.  Check the E-wire below for photos and further information.  While the E-Wire is holed up in an undisclosed location, the rest of the staff at the PTA are wrapping up the final touches for the move to our new offices in the Historic Ford Building on the corner of 13th and Fawcett in downtown Tacoma.  The move will make it more convenient for members needing to come to the offices as it is more centrally located to I-5 and easier to find.  Just get off the freeway and head west a few blocks and boom – you’re there.  Pretty cool.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

E-Wire 2/20/14

Greetings from Rainy Olympia!!​

The E-Wire is down in Olympia coordinating with members on the Bullying Bill expansion which has a hearing in House Education at 11AM today.  Our Morning Crew handled the 8AM discussion about bond elections quite well, so we are looking forward to what this round of legislative testimony has to share.  Today’s team will be from the Lake Washington School District – Region 2 Director Jane Dulski and her son, Matt, will be testifying on behalf of the PTA.  Links for the hearing will be available when TVW puts them up.  While you wait, and while I await for Jane and Matt to step up to the plate, NBC Affliliate WFMJ has something for you.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dear Members,  

Here is the list of town halls across the state which will be starting tonight.  The PTA is coordinating to get as many of our members as possible to attend these meetings in person or on the phone.  Our goal is to continue to push for Education Funding and the promise of McCleary.  Legislators will soon be talking about budgets before leaving for the year, this is the best opportunity to share our message with them directly from members residing in their home districts. 

Here is the expanded list - - Note that we have sorted them by Regions.  Some of the times are still TBA as we have not heard back from legislators. 

Thanks for all you do,
Tim Farrell for Sherry Krainick

E-Wire for 2.19.14

Legislator town halls are coming this weekend– please consider attending to share your support for fully funding basic education – check the Grassroots Blog for details!!

Greetings Sportsfans!

The E-Wire is again down in Olympia for the first round of hearings of bills from the opposite house.  The Graveyard of bills has grown to epic proportions – of the 275 bills we were following, only 98 remain alive at this moment plus one bill, The Dream Act, which is on the Governor’s Desk.  This morning, the House Education Committee heard 7 bills including the Senate Version of the Paraeducator Bill.  Director Krainick testified on two of these:  Paraeducators and Expanded Learning Opportunities.  This afternoon, the fun extends to the House Bills in the Senate with 10 bills in the Senate and we are expected to testify on Paraeducator (House Bill) and Improving Educational Outcomes for Homeless Students.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

E-Wire 2.18.14

Breaking News – Dream Act Passes House moments ago and is off to the Governor’s Desk!

The E-Wire has been down in Olympia with Director Krainick pushing the PTA Agenda for the past few days and the results have paid off.  With the help of members raining down messages and e-mails, our three priority bills which had not yet been moved off the Calendar were voted out of the House today (other significant bills concerning graduation and credit hours passed the Senate last week). 

All in all, having an active membership helps and several legislators noted the messages coming out of the PTA were respectful and well received.  So, hats off to everyone involved and time to take a 16 hour break before our hearings start all over again tomorrow morning.  You’ve earned it. For me, I think I will wrap up House of Cards Season 2 and be ready for the series finale of the Legislative Session which opens tomorrow at 8AM.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

E-Wire - Special School Bond Edition!

Afternoon folks!

Representative Kathy Haigh (Shelton – LD 35)
shares a light moment with the Morning Crew
The E-Wire was watching House Action late into the evenings most of the week and tonight will be no exception.  This morning, our intrepid crew of Lake Washington, Vancouver, and Tacoma PTA Leaders came out in force with their children and families to support a real friend of Education, Representative Kathy Haigh in her efforts to allow school construction bonds to pass with 50% of the vote.  Many thanks to her and House Education Chair Sharon Tomiko Santos for holding the hearing! 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

E-Wire - Evening Edition 2/11/14

Howdy folks,

As the E-Wire was sitting in Ways & Means taking notes, we got an e-mail from the Chief Clerk's office sharing that several education bills will be taken up in the House.  The following bills were considered in this order:
  • HB 1011 Military/resident tuition - House version of the Senate Bill which gives military families in state resident exemption waiver
  • HB 2017 Certified school employees - Should the state budget not be passed during the regular legislative session, school districts would be allowed to extend the deadline to send nonrenewal notices to certificated by one month.

E-Wire for Today!

Greetings folks,

The Day has come.  The end is near for your bills that are stuck in House Appropriations and Senate Ways and Means.  Yes, at 5PM today, the Grim Reaper of legislation cuts a wide swath through Olympia and reduces the chance of many bills from moving forward.  Please note, just like “The Walking Dead” *season started Sunday!* some of these bills may come back to life, especially if they are determined to be necessary to implement the budget… if there is one.

Monday, February 10, 2014

E-Wire for Feb. 10th

It’s a happy Monday here in Olympia folks!

Bills continue to be heard in committee in advance of fiscal policy legislative cut-off.  For the PTA, about 1/3rd of the bills we have been following have died, but that leaves a lot of legislation moving forward.  Some of these bills we never expected to move forward, and many, at least in the Senate, have been merged with other bills to make larger Omnibus Bills dealing with broad topics (read:  SB 6552 –Improving student success by increasing instructional hour and graduation requirements).  This one will be held today at 1:30 in Senate Ways & Means and Senator Dammeier has promised to reveal the plans for reallocating the money budgeted in 2013 for the 1080 instruction hours.  Should be interesting.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

E-Wire for February 6th!

Good Afternoon!

The E-Wire got the chance to caucus with President Gillette and Director Krainick this morning to chat about next steps in the legislative forum and to review the parameters for our Legislative Alert which should arrive in people’s inboxes tomorrow afternoon.  After that meeting, we got the chance to have face time with Washington’s favorite cynic, Peter Callaghan of the News Tribune.  Catch Peter’s byline on Education funding here -

E-Wire for Feb 5th 2014

Greetings folks,

Today is the day that the PTA staff breathes a sigh of relief after a successful Focus Day – and the legislature speeds up its action to get bills out of committee before the policy cut-off on Friday.

Two key occurrences today – the first was the CTE Bill, HB 2540, passed out of House Education on a party line vote.  One of the sticking points for Republicans was the inability to identify funding for some of the smaller school districts to provide the courses required in the bill.  Representative Dahlquist indicated that she would continue to work with the Chair and Vice Chair to come up with solutions.  We wish them well as this is a priority bill for the PTA.  The second major occurrence was the substantial agreement between Senators Dammeier and Rolfes that culminated in an omnibus bill presented for hearing today in the Senate K-12 Education Committee.  The bill addresses a series of fixes to bills before the Senators in committee and lumped them together under a broad title “Improving Student Success by Increasing Instructional Hour and Graduation Requirements.”  The bill had the following components:

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

National PTA Applauds Guidance Package Issued by U.S. Departments of Education and Justice to Improve School Discipline Policies and Practices

On Jan. 8, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice released guidelines and resources to assist states, districts and schools in establishing discipline practices. The goal of the guidance package is to reduce the number of unnecessary school suspensions and keep students in class where they can learn. In addition, the guidance package will help create safe, positive school climates, which are essential to improve student academic success and close achievement gaps. The guidance package also is designed to empower parents to advocate for change on behalf of students and partner with schools to improve safety and ensure that responses to misbehavior are effective.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

E-Wire for February 4th!

Greetings sportsfans!

Today’s top event was the annual Focus Day – about 175 parents and students joined members of the PTA Executive Board to visit with our legislators and chat about key issues facing education today.  Our rally took place under the Dome and featured legislative speakers including:  Governor and Trudy Inslee, Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, House Majority Leader Patrick Sullivan, House Education Chair Sharon Tomiko Santos (kudos to the chair for a rocking speech!), our own long time PTA member Chad Magendanz who serves on the House Education Committee, House Early Learning & Human Services Chair Ruth Kagi, Senate Education Ranking Member Rosemary McAuliffe, Senate Ways and Means Chair Andy Hill, House Appropriations Chair Ross Hunter, and Governor Inslee’s Education Policy Director, Marcie Maxwell.  All in all, Director Krainick and President Gillette ran a fun gathering PTA leaders charged with helping our legislators understand where the rubber meets the road on education policy.  Kudos to all.

Monday, February 3, 2014

E-Wire for February 3rd, 2014

Greetings folks!

The E-Wire is in the Pritchard Library pounding out a few choice words to describe today’s events.  We’re eyeing the frazzled lobbyist who is Nick Federici sitting at the table next to us.  Nick is the passionate lead behind the “Breakfast Before The Bell” legislation which had its hearing today in the State House – Senate Hearing on Wednesday.  According to Nick, the hearing today went very well and we had great testimony from United Way of King and Snohomish Counties and “Within Reach” which is a health advocacy organization run by Alison White, widow of the late Senator Scott White of Seattle.  The bill has been amended to address some concerns by stakeholders.  The amendments push out implementation by a year, creates a pilot program in elementary schools to start, and insures that meals are provided are in line with federal nutritional requirements.

Murray, Polis Introduce Bill to Provide In-State Tuition for DREAMer Students

The Investing IN States To Achieve Tuition Equity (IN-STATE) for Dreamers Act provides incentives for states to offer in-state tuition, need-based financial aid for DREAMers

On average, in-state tuition at four year colleges is $8,893, compared with $22,203 for out-of-state tuition

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Thursday, January 16th, 2014 U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced the Investing IN States To Achieve Tuition Equity (IN-STATE) for Dreamers Act of 2014. The IN-STATE for Dreamers Act establishes the American Dream Grant program, which encourages states to increase access to higher education for low-income students, regardless of immigration status. This program would provide $750 million in need-based student financial aid to states that set equitable in-state tuition rates or offer state financial aid to the thousands of undocumented students who graduate from American high schools each year. U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) have also signed on as original co-sponsors of this legislation.