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Class size campaign hits Olympia

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Backers of legislation to dramatically reduce class sizes in Washington’s K-12 public schools are urging the Legislature to act this session on class size legislation.

“We know what the right number of students in each classroom should be, and we know we have to make a significant investment in education,” said Rep. Roger Goodman, prime sponsor of the House bill. “Reducing class size is the right thing to do, and it is time to do it.”

Washington currently ranks 47th out of 50 states in class size. Goodman and other legislators introduced class-size-reduction bills at a news conference in the Olympia Thursday.

“I know from my own experience that smaller classes and one-on-one attention from teachers can make a difference,” said Sen. Marko Liias, sponsor of the Senate bill. “Reducing class size is critically important if we are going to meet our obligation to provide every child a quality education.”

Parents and organizers also spoke at the new conference, which was organized by Class Size Counts, the non-profit community organization working to reduce class sizes and caseloads across the state.

The bills are House Bill 2589 and Senate Bill 6438.

“Every child needs individual attention from a teacher if they are going to succeed,” said Katherine Jones, a Renton parent. “If we keep cramming so many kids into each class, the teachers simply can’t get to every student, and those kids are going to suffer.”

Last fall, Class Size Counts collected more than 5,000 class-size stories and class counts from Washington educators and parents.

Learn more about the importance of smaller class sizes.

For a downloadable, printable PDF about the class size, COLA and other education bills, click here. Here’s a list:

WEA Priority Bills

Bill #:                 HB 2422                                               

Subject:             Educational employee compensation

Sponsor:            Dunshee

Companion:        SB 6235 (Hobbs)

Description:       Restores the COLA for educational employees.

 

Bill #:                 HB 2589

Subject:             Basic education allocation formula

Sponsor:            Goodman

Companion:        SB 6438 (Liias)

Description:       Lowers class sizes and increases school staffing in compliance with the McCleary decision and the recommendations of the QEC.

Other Bills of Interest

Bill #:                 HB 1348                                                 

Subject:             Community & tech colleges

Sponsor:            Reykdal

Companion:        SB 5350 (Kohl-Welles)

Description:       Requires community and technical college boards to award full-time and part-time academic employees step increases based on collective bargaining agreements, and permits the step increases to exceed compensation provided by the legislature.

 

Bill #:                 SB 5246                                                 

Subject:             Teacher and principal evaluations

Sponsor:            Litzow

 

Description:       Requires school districts to use student growth data to create:

(1) A rank order of teachers based on the amount of

average student growth achieved in each teacher’s classroom;

and

(2) A rank order of principals based on the amount of average student growth achieved by the teachers in each principal’s school.

Requires one of the multiple measures of student growth, for certain teachers and for certain principals, to be student results on relevant assessments.

Requires seniority to only be used as a tiebreaker when determining how multiple factors will be used in making certain human resource or personnel decisions.

 

Bill #:                 SB 6082                                                 

Subject:             K-12 instructional hours

Sponsor:            McCoy

Description:       Delays implementation of the 1080 hour rule until the 2017-18 school year as long as schools are making incremental progress toward hitting the 1080 hour goal each biennium.

Adds “teacher collaboration” as part of instructional hours.

 

Bill #:                 SB 6189                                                 

Subject:             K-12 instructional hours

Sponsor:            Hargrove

Description:       Delays implementation of the 1080 hour rule until the 2016-17 school year.

 

Bill #:                 SB 6320                                                 

Subject:            Basic ed instructional hours

Sponsor:           Conway

Companion:       HB 2548 (Bergquist)

Description:       Delays implementation of the 1080 hour rule until the 2015-16 school year.

Requires any hours scheduled by a school district for non-instructional purposes during the last five school days for students who are graduating from high school to count toward the instructional hours requirement.

 

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