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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: Washington state legislature

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June 19, 2014 at 5:32 PM

Guest: Fightin’ words from the state Supreme Court on education

“It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders…” — Article IX, Section I, Washington State Constitution

Chris Korsmo is CEO of the League of Education Voters, a statewide nonprofit.

Chris Korsmo is CEO of the League of Education Voters, a statewide nonprofit.

Last week the state Supreme Court ordered the Legislature to appear before the court in early September and explain its reasons for failing to make adequate progress in the McCleary v. State of Washington funding case.

Two years ago, the justices found that the state was violating its constitutional obligation to amply fund basic education in the McCleary case. Lawmakers were given a 2018 deadline to fix how we fund K-12 schools.

With last week’s ruling, it appears that the court and the Legislature are headed for a legal and political showdown.

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Comments | More in Guest opinion, Opinion | Topics: education funding, McCleary decision, Washington state legislature

April 2, 2014 at 2:24 PM

Senior projects: Worthwhile or a waste of time?

Michael Osbun / Op Art

Michael Osbun / Op Art

Gov. Jay Inslee is set to sign a bill next week that would change a state law requiring high-school students to complete senior projects prior to graduation.

The measure originated after lobbying from Yakima-area state Rep. David Taylor and his 17-year-old stepdaughter Tiffany Stewart, who decided to do her senior project on the topic of ending senior projects.

The change was passed as an amendment inside another bill. It would make senior projects an optional graduation requirement for school districts.

Stewart argued senior projects take up a lot of class time and that some students do the bare minimum, baking cupcakes or making quilts to meet the requirement.

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Comments | More in Poll, Your voices | Topics: graduation, high school, senior project

February 4, 2014 at 5:00 AM

What does our diploma mean? Not much, employers say

Michael Osbun / Op Art

Michael Osbun / Op Art

There is little argument about the facts: Fewer than half of all graduating high school seniors in Washington meet basic requirements for admission to public universities, and hundreds of employers say our high school graduates do not have adequate skills in reading, writing or math — even for low-level jobs.

In Olympia, there have been various responses — everything from requiring more hours in class, to mandating tougher graduation requirements.

“Even carpenters need to pass Algebra 2 if they want to be certified,” says Rep. Kristine Lytton, D-Anacortes, who has sponsored a bill requiring more science, language and career education for high school students.

She joins the state Board of Education in pushing for a 24-credit diploma to boost rigor over our current 20-credit benchmark.

“What is a meaningful high school diploma?” Lytton asked in an interview. “We know that what we’re doing right now is not working.”

Indeed, 58 percent of Washington’s community college students need to take remedial classes before they can even start working toward a degree.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: graduation requirements, Washington state legislature