Assessment Delinking Efforts
Rep. Laurie Dolan published an opinion article in the Seattle Times regarding assessments.  She calls for the delinking of the assessments and graduation requirements.  The House passed ESHB 1046 for a third time since the start of the regular session.  In order to remain “alive” the bill needs to be passed each time a new session is called.  The bill delinks English, mathematics, and science tests from high school graduation. The Senate’s preferred bill regarding assessment is SB 5891 which only delays the high school science assessment as a graduation prerequisite starting with the Class of 2017 through the Class of 2021.  Both chambers are not willing to accept the other’s position at this time.

School Siting
Governor Inslee vetoed a large section of HB 1017 which provided a path for districts to build outside of the urban growth boundary.  The bill was carefully negotiated by Democrats and Republicans and was delivered to his desk in the regular session.  A new bill, HB 2216, has been introduced by Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon and addresses the Governor’s concerns.  However, it is not receiving the wide spread support of the legislature and it faces an uphill battle this second special session.

Superintendent Reykdal Plan
Supt Reykdal unveiled a six-year plan that looks beyond the 2017-2019 state budget lawmakers are currently struggling to write. A link to the supporting budget documents can be found here: http://www.k12.wa.us/SAFS/Misc/BudPrep17/Multi-YearBudgetComparisonTool.xlsx.  He didn’t offer suggestions on how best to fund any plan, saying that legislators would ultimately need to decide that for themselves. But he said that new revenue would be needed to pay an additional $4 billion toward education each year. Among his policy suggestions, by the 2021-2023 biennium:

  • In kindergarten through eighth grade, expanding the school day by up to 60 minutes and the school year by about 20 days.
  • Starting second language instruction in kindergarten, with second language requirements at every grade level from K-8.
  • Creating digital plans for 8th graders who are about to enter high school that will be accessible to parents, counselors and students.
  • Moving the 11th grade exit exam to a 10th grade basic proficiency assessment.
  • Provide preschool for all 3 and 4 year olds
  • Pay for all high-school students to earn college credit before graduation — and no longer require them to pass state tests to get a diploma.
  • Create post-high schools plans for every eighth-grader before they enter the ninth grade.