Legislative Update
May 2017
Week 18 - Legislative Session Updates
By NBCT Marianne Hunter

You know it's getting bad when the press corps is sounding kinda lonesome. An article in the News Tribune on Tuesday asks where all the lawmakers have gone and says there are more Occupy Olympia educators present than actual legislators.
Other than the great Battle of the Posters going on outside the House and Senate chambers, there hasn't been any action in budget negotiations, leaving the governor's bill signing ceremonies as the chief form of entertainment. According to the Spokesman Review's Spin Control blog, Governor Inslee's signings are currently "the only game in town."
On Monday, Governor Inslee signed HB 1115, the paraeducator bill, into law. Specifically, this bill:
  • Creates a Paraeducator Board
  • Requires paraeducators to meet certain minimum employment standards by September 1, 2018
  • Creates a general paraeducator certificate, but provides that paraeducators are not required to meet these requirements unless funding is provided
  • Creates optional paraeducator subject matter certificates in special education and ELL, and an optional advanced paraeducator certificate
  • Requires teacher and administrator preparation and professional learning programs that include content on working with paraeducators
  • Expands scholarship eligibility for paraeducators to become teachers
  • Specifies that the coursework, grants and training components of this bill are subject to funding by the legislature
Also on Monday, Governor Inslee signed HB 1445, the dual-language learning bill, into law. Specifically, this bill:
  • Directs OSPI to develop and administer a K-12 dual language grant program
  • Specifies that OSPI must provide technical assistance and support to school districts establishing or expanding DL programs
  • Directs the PESB to administer and oversee the bilingual educator initiative to recruit, mentor, prepare, and financially support bilingual high school students to become future bilingual teachers and counselors
  • Requires OSPI and the PESB to submit a report to the Legislature that details the successes, best practices, lessons learned and outcomes of the grant programs
  • Requires the Department of Early Learning to work with community partners to support outreach and education for parents and families around the benefits of native language development and retention, as well as the benefits of DL learning
The bill will provide grants of up to $200,000 to districts for creating or expanding dual-language programs, but the Seattle Times Ed Lab reports that funding for the bill is up in the air until a budget deal is reached.
That leaves the Pasco School District, which is ready to launch a pilot program for developing bilingual educators, in limbo. According to an article in the Tri-City Herald, sponsors of the bill are confident that funding will be available, but it remains to be seen how much and whether Pasco will be among the recipients.
Odds and Ends
And finally, this time of year, we're thinking Robot Teachers sound like a great idea . . .  a post from the TeachThought blog
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.