February 16, 2018 Policy Brief
A summary for those closely following the debate.
The Horizon: Key Dates
- Monday, February 19: House Education Committee Hearing on SB 6135
- Thursday February 22: House Education Committee Executive Session on SB 6135
- Friday, February 23: Policy Committee Cutoff – Opposite House
- Monday, February 26: Fiscal Committee Cutoff – Opposite House
- Friday, March 2: Opposite House Cutoff
- Thursday, March 8: Last Day of Session per the state constitution
Although Senator Mullet’s SB 6209, which would require Academic Acceleration and Early Warning Data Systems statewide, received a hearing in the Senate Education Committee on February 1st, it did not receive a vote in time of for the policy cutoff the next day. While supportive of the concepts, some valid questions about the logistics of implementation came up from Senators—especially in connection to funding as districts adjust to the new state funding structure.
The level of support the concepts received, however, garnered enough attention that Senators Wellman, Rolfes, Mullet, Rivers, Zeiger, and Palumbo all collaborated to ensure that these policies saw progress this session by amending Senator Wellman’s bill, SB 6135 to do the following:
- Expand the existing grant program to allow individual high schools (not just districts) to apply for an Academic Acceleration grant. This means that schools interested in pursuing this program will now be able to apply for more resources to do so directly, instead of hoping that their district will adopt it.
- Create more flexibility within Learning Assistance Program (LAP) funding so that schools may now use their LAP funding to implement an Early Warning and Dropout Intervention System. This means that schools interested in creating an Early Warning System that benefits every student will be able to use existing funding to do so.
The results we’re seeing so far this session are very promising and expand the opportunities for schools across Washington to pursue programs that are already working in numerous communities.
SB 6135 was passed unanimously off the Senate floor on Tuesday, February 13th. It is now scheduled for a hearing in the House Education Committee this Monday, February 19th, and has already been scheduled for Executive Session on Thursday, February 22nd in anticipation of legislative action.
- Senate lawmakers have introduced 625 new bills this legislative session as of February 11th, compared with 532 for the entirety of the 2016 short session.
- 20 days left in the regularly-scheduled 2018 legislative session
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What We're Reading
The numbers are good news for lawmakers who have been ordered by the state Supreme Court to expedite the time frame to pay for the teacher and staff salary portion of a plan passed last year to fully fund basic education.
“The way kids are taught to read in school is disconnected from the latest research, namely how language and speech actually develop in a child's brain.”
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