January 28, 2013 at 1:31 PM
This post has been updated to reflect a pending amendment to the bill and to include a comment from House education committee Chairwoman Sharon Tomiko Santos.
Republicans in the state Senate introduced a bill Monday morning that would assign a letter grade — A, B, C, D or F — to each public school based on the performance of its students on standardized test and other measures.
Schools that earn “A” grades would be eligible for teacher bonuses and get more control over the money the state allocates to them.
The original version of the bill would exempt charter schools and alternative schools from the grading unless they opt in. But the sponsors have since introduced an amended version that would include charters and alternative schools in all cases.
Senate Bill 5328 would peg most of the grade to an accountability index of test scores, achievement gaps and more, developed by the state board of education and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. High schools also would be graded by graduation rate, SAT scores and AP course participation.
The bill is sponsored by Senate education Chairman Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island.
State Rep. Cathy Dahlquist, a Enumclaw Republican who serves as ranking member on the House education committee, discussed the idea this weekend at an annual Republican Party conference.
“We need parents at home to understand what their school is doing,” Dahlquist told attendees at the Roanoke Conference. “I want parents to know, hey, my school is a C- but the school across the way is a B+. What are they doing different? I want it to be driven at the grassroots level, I want them to be questioning, and I want improvement to happen there.”
The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate on Wednesday.
The chairwoman of the House education committee, Sharon Tomiko Santos, said she hasn’t yet read the bill.
“At this point, I will be keeping an open mind,” said Santos, D-Seattle. “I look forward to the discussion we’ll be having when the bill is heard in the Education Committee.”
January 28, 2013 at 7:00 AM
With the session in full-swing, Washington state legislators will consider bills on issues from wolves to elections – and everything in between. Here’s a look at this week’s big topics:
Senators will look at several bills regarding worker compensation throughout the week. Today, the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor will hold a public hearing regarding Senate Bill 5159, which would repeal the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act. It was enacted in 2007 and is scheduled to go into effect in 2015. The act would provide benefits of up to $250 per week to workers who are unable to perform their customary work because they are on family leave. SB 5159 is sponsored by Sen. John Braun, R-Centrailia, and has the support of 10 other Majority Caucus Coalition members.
Also on Monday, the committee will hold hearings on Senate Bill 5128, sponsored by Sen. Janea Holmquist-Newbry, R-Moses Lake, that would make changes to the workers compensation system, and on Senate Bill 5275, also sponsored by Holmquist-Newbry, that would allow employers to pay their employees a training wage as low as 75 percent of minimum wage during a specified period.
Representatives will consider multiple K-12 bills this week in the House Education Committee, as legislators attempt to comply with the McCleary decision made last year by the Washington Supreme Court. The committee will hold hearings on three different bills on Thursday: House Bill 1252, House Bill 1304 and House Bill 1283.
HB 1252, sponsored by Rep. Monica Stonier, D-Vancouver, would establish an online professional development program for K-12 teachers to use free of charge. HB 1304, sponsored by Rep. Mark Hargrove, R-Covington, would allow certain private K-12 schools to offer online-only education. HB 1283 would lower the age of compulsory school attendance from 8 years old to 6 years old.
January 28, 2013 at 6:00 AM
New Obama in office: Many political observers are talking about President Obama’s inaugural address and how, in the second term, he may just let his views hang out there. He does seem to be developing new ways to maneuver around partisan gridlock. The latest example is gun control. Instead of calling up a bunch of moderate Democratic senators and twisting their jittery arms to support his policies, he is taking his case to the public. Their public. Interesting strategy.
Sarah Palin out; her fans’ worst nightmare: Palin has run her course on FOX. She is out as a Fox news contributor.
Washington Sen. Patty Murray is the new Senate budget chairwoman. Slate has a fascinating piece about Murray’s potential impact on budget negotiations.
Closer to home, Don Benton is the star of the local blogs. State Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, barely won re-election. You will recall his race went into recount. But none of that is worrying the state senator these days. He’s a busy guy, introducing a lot of legislation, including a parental notification bill now gaining a lot of attention.
Avoid the crowd in the Seattle mayor’s race. How would you like to be a Seattle Port commissioner? The ad (below) has been appearing in a couple of media locales of late. It’s an ad aimed at filling the port commission seat vacated by Gael Tarleton who has gone to the Legislature. To the uninitiated, it looks like an ad for the four port seats that will be up this fall.
But Port Commissioner Tom Albro says the ad is designed to find good people to fill Tarleton’s spot and serve an important community institution. It doesn’t hurt if it raises the profile and awareness of the work the port does.
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