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Another Senate education bill that misses the mark

teachers teach

Teachers teach!

Wednesday in Olympia, teachers and administrators testified against Senate 5588, which would ban school districts from using half days or waiver days for professional development and collaboration. It’s one of a slate of ill-considered education “reform” bills in the state Senate that fail to address the real problem: the Legislature’s failure to fully fund K-12 public schools as demanded by the Supreme Court.

”I am so alarmed by SB 5588 that today I will drive almost 300 miles to speak for only two minutes in opposition. If the state funded at least 10 days of collaborative planning and professional development time – instead of zero – I would not be here today,” said Holly Koon, a National Board Certified Teacher from Mt. Baker in Whatcom County.

The Legislature funds 180 teacher work days and no additional days for planning, collaboration or professional development. Three state-funded Learning Improvement Days were eliminated in recent years. Under previous education reform bills and recommendations, the state should be funding at least 10 teacher planning/training days, as Koon suggested.

Parent Right-to-Know testing transparency bill

Thursday at 8 a.m., the House Education Committee is hearing House Bill 1293, the Parent Right-to-Know testing transparency bill. It requires school districts to tell parents how many state and federal standardized tests their kids are taking and how much time and money is spent on testing. Parents from around the state are expected to testify in support. HB 1293 is a WEA priority.

Meanwhile, teachers and parents in Seattle continue their boycott against the use of the MAP test.

Bargaining rights

At 1:30 p.m. Thursday, the House Labor and Workforce Development Committee will hear House Bill 1348, which grants community and technical college faculty members the right to bargain salary increments. WEA members will testify in support of HB 1348, which also is a WEA priority.

Teacher/principal evaluations

A united team of teachers and school administrators testified against Senate Bill 5246 Monday. The bill would make additional changes to principal and teacher evaluations and disrupt the implementation of two previous evaluation bills. Because of such solid opposition, it is uncertain whether the bill will move forward. We believe Senate Early Learning & K-12 Chairman Steve Litzow will honor and respect the perspective of the professional educators who spoke against making more changes to the evaluation system.

School survey

Some so-called education reform groups are promoting an online survey sponsored by the Washington State Board of Education.The survey, however, is biased with forced-choice questions about school performance and related issues connected to the Washington Achievement Index. Take a look and decide for yourself. If you fill it out, be sure to leave an appropriate comment for the SBE.

Reducing overcrowded class sizes

Excitement is building around House Bill 1673, which would phase-in smaller class sizes over the next five years. It is a WEA priority.

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