Legislative Update
May 2017
Week 17 - Legislative Session Updates
By NBCT Marianne Hunter

Still no visible movement on the budget, but also no shortage of opinions on what should be happening in the legislature. On Saturday, the Yakima Herald published an editorial about the "ritual regathering" that is the not-so-special session. Besides a bit of a scolding, it provides a good look at the complexity of solving McCleary.

Also on Saturday, in a Spokesman Review op-ed, Bill Keim, executive director of WASA, explains how the state's "untapped wealth" could solve the education funding problem.

Bills Making Progress (sorta)
Meanwhile the legislature continues to play its "extended game of chicken," according to an article in the News Tribune. This means they are re-passing some bills they passed during the regular session, including these related to high school graduation:
  • HB 1046, which would de-couple all state assessments from graduation, was reintroduced in the special session and placed on 3rd reading. After adoption of a floor amendment, which makes it apply retroactively beginning with the Class of 2014, the bill passed in the House on a vote of 89-4.
  • SB 5891, which would delay the use of the high school science assessment as a graduation prerequisite until the Class of 2021, was reintroduced in the special session and placed on 3rd reading. After adoption of a floor amendment, the bill passed in the Senate on a vote of 45-0. It includes the class of 2017 and contains an emergency clause that would put it into effect immediately.
Neither of these bills is likely to get any traction in its opposite chamber, but both the House and Senate budget proposals include cost savings related to delinking or delaying assessments. However, according to the latest WSSDA newsletter ("Special Session Week 1"), "regardless of the significant cost saving . . . the continuing debate revolves around other issues including concerns about how delinking the assessments would be perceived as backing off of accountability and high standards for students; what research shows about high stakes tests as graduation requirements . . . and opportunities for larger assessment system reform that could make graduation requirements more relevant for students exiting high school in the 21st Century."

And so it goes . . .

Odds and Ends
Curious about other states' ESSA plans? The Education Trust blog has some thoughts on how that's going: Hold the Applause: Trends Out of Initial State ESSA plans

And finally, here's a shout out to "weird or wonderful" teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week!

Have a great weekend!

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Note about 
l egislative updates: 

CSTP relays these legislative updates to provide information on bills, budgets and legislative processes. CSTP doesn't have a legislative agenda, but does track legislative issues most relevant to teaching.