Legislative Update
January 2017
Week 2 - Legislative Session Updates
By NBCT Marianne Hunter

A whole lot of learning going on this week as House and Senate committees met to bring new members up to speed on the big issues.
The Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education committee held a work session on Tuesday during which new OSPI chief, Chris Reykdal, briefly laid out his priorities for 2017 (beginning at 1:43). Quite interesting, particularly some of the questions that followed his presentation.

Bills Introduced this week:
  • HB 1215 would authorize "Innovation Schools" to "provide local school communities and principals with greater control over decisions related to staffing, personnel selection and evaluation, scheduling, and educational programming"
  • HB 1256 would reform the assessment system by eliminating non-federally required tests, removing the graduation requirement from statewide tests, and allowing opting out of standardized tests with no repercussion to students
  • HB 1282, and its companion SB 5183, would tie "CTE funding for materials, supplies, and operating costs to the general education funding for materials, supplies, and operating costs"
  • HB 1319 would impact the type and frequency of evaluations for teachers who have national board certification
  • HB 1415 would use the ACT test as the statewide high school assessment for reading, language arts, mathematics, and science to meet federal requirements, but would not tie it to graduation eligibility
  • SB 5297 would establish a statewide salary allocation for educational employees' compensation
Bills Making Progress:
  • HB 1012, which would eliminate the high school science assessment as a requirement for graduation, received a public hearing on Thursday. Beginning at 1:08:20, representatives from the State Board of Education and the School Directors' Association (WSSDA) testified in favor of this bill.
  • HB 1046, which would eliminate certificates of academic and individual achievement as requirements for graduation, also received a public hearing on Thursday. Beginning at 1:27:30, representatives from WEA and the WSSDA testified in favor of this bill.
  • SB 5070, which would implement a paraeducator certification program among other a list of other supports for paras, received a public hearing in the Senate EL&K12 committee. Beginning at 1:28:15, representatives from the Washington State PTA and the Washington Council of Presidents, an association of the state's public colleges and universities, were among those testifying in favor of this bill. Beginning at 1:34:40, a representative from WEA testified against the bill due to concerns about licensure requirements.
  • HB 1059, which would delay the "levy cliff" until calendar year 2019, passed out of the House Appropriations committee on a party line vote. This Olympian article explains why Democrat on the committee voted in favor of lifting the lid and why the Republican minority voted against it. SB 5023, its companion bill, awaits a hearing in the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education committee.
By the way, if you're interested in following a specific bill throughout the session, it's easy to sign up for email updates. Just click on the link to that bill, then click on "get email notifications." Then every time something happens to your bill, you get a nice little email about it.

The Seattle Times' Ed Lab series provides answers to reader-generated questions about education. This week's article answers this interesting question: "How did we get so far behind in school funding?"

Meanwhile, in the other Washington, a confirmation hearing for Education Secretary-elect, Betsy DeVos, produced a few interesting soundbites. This KUOW piece provides some highlights.

And finally, here's a short video about Washington's 2017 Teacher of the Year, Camille Jones. It'll lift you up!

Have a great weekend!

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Legislative Links:

Legislative Website: Get information on bills, legislators, hearings and more.

Bill Tracker: Track specific bills, read bill reports.

TVW: Watch live and archived legislative proceedings.
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.