2012 Legislative Session
Effective Teachers and Leaders: A bipartisan compromise bill moves forward faster on the implementation of a four-tier evaluation system for teachers and principals. Phase-in of the new evaluation system begins in 2013-14 and must be completed by the end of 2015-16. This bill:
- Requires districts to adopt one of three frameworks approved by OSPI.
- Creates four defined performance ratings: (1) Unsatisfactory; (2) Basic; (3) Proficient; and (4) Distinguished.
- Includes multiple measures of student achievement data as a substantial factor in teacher and principal evaluations.
- Gives evaluations meaning by including them as a factor in personnel decisions (including placements and layoffs), beginning in 2015.
- Prevents unsatisfactory new teachers from receiving continuing contracts; new teachers rated unsatisfactory in their third year would remain on provisional, year-to-year status.
- Requires teachers, principals and superintendents to be trained on new evaluation systems prior to implementation, and helps align professional development with performance evaluation criteria.
Public charter schools: A bipartisan proposal which did not pass would have allowed public charter schools to serve low-income students and students of color as part of a strategy to close the achievement gap. The bill also would have established "Transformation Zones" that would allow the state to intervene and provide schools with more flexibility in an effort to improve the lowest-performing schools. Read our FAQ on public charter schools.
Prioritize High-Impact K-12 Investments/ WA Kids: WaKIDS is an early learning diagnostic tool to help children transition into kindergarten. This bill supports the expansion of WaKIDS; so that one consistent tool can replace any other assessments required by school districts. It does allow waivers from WaKIDS until implementation of full-day kindergarten.
Opposed reducing graduation requirements: Opposed two bills, which did not pass, that would have either reduced graduation requirements, including passing exams, or eliminated certain state assessments. Together or separately, these bills would have been a step backward in maintaining high standards for students, schools and the state.
Supported priority investments in the budget: After what turned out to be a long “short” session, the Legislature passed a budget sparing education funding at all levels from cuts. This ends the trend over the last three years where billions were cut from early learning, K-12 and higher education. The final budget does not restore any funding from previous years, but does continue current funding levels for: Basic education, WaKIDS, full-day kindergarten, and a mentor program for beginning teachers (BEST).