March 11, 2013




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WA Senate Passes Education Bills; ESN Releases State Survey Results

Last week, the state Senate passed numerous education bills, including three that combine to create a state accountability system focused on improving student and school performance.

  • SB 5491, passed 47-0, creates an easy-to-understand statewide education dashboard to track and report progress from kindergarten to postsecondary education. It will enable parents, lawmakers and the public to easily gauge how effectively schools are serving students.
  • SB 5328, passed 26-23, establishes an easily understood and transparent school classification, or grading, system.
  • SB 5329, passed 30-19, supports students in our lowest-performing schools by allowing OSPI to establish a three-year school transformation plan focused on increased student achievement.

The House has until Wednesday (March 13) to act on education bills introduced by its members. To keep updated on the latest session news, see our legislative page, our 2013 bill tracker and follow us on Twitter @Part4Learning.


Teachers, voters agree K-12 results not good enough   

The Excellent Schools Now (ESN) coalition recently unveiled its annual public polling data that showed a majority of voters and teachers believe public education results aren't good enough to help grow the economy and to remain competitive in the global workplace.


ESN, which released the widely endorsed A+ Washington plan in 2012, surveyed 500 voters and 500 teachers in late 2012/early 2013 to gain feedback on the general health of Washington's public education system and the coalition's 2013 policy priorities.

Some key findings in the ESN polling data include:  


  • 69% of voters and 63% of teachers agree financial and student performance data should be linked and made available to the public.
  • 82% of voters agree that data should also be used to determine which schools are not serving students well. Nearly half (47%) of teachers agree.
  • 44% of voters agree Washington's K-12 public education system is headed in the right direction; 63% of teachers agree.

Also, there is still time to apply for the ESN Steering Committee grant. The deadline is Friday, March 15.

State's first charter school commission named  

The state's first public charter school commission was named last week as the governor, lieutenant governor and House speaker each named three appointees, as required by the charter school law passed by voters in November 2012. The new nine-member commission will manage and oversee the charter school system.


In addition, the State Board of Education on Feb. 27 approved the state's first charter school rules. The State Board will meet this week to further discuss the rules and will hear from the National Association of Charter School Authorizers. Partnership for Learning is working to ensure quality charter school implementation in our state.  


State education funding survey: Part 2   

Community Forums Network (CFN) is back with another statewide education survey. In the fall CFN asked about education funding levels. A strong majority of respondents -- 65 percent -- said that current K-12 spending is not enough.


The second survey covers how to make education dollars and investments the most effective, and which reforms and strategies will result in the biggest improvement in student learning. Take the survey and let your voice be heard.

Partnership for Learning, the education foundation of the Washington Roundtable, is a statewide nonprofit organization that builds awareness, understanding and support for improving public education in Washington. As a trusted source of information, Partnership for Learning makes complex education issues accessible.