Washington’s teachers are hard at work making sure all of our state’s students get the quality public education they deserve.
Supt. of Public Instruction Randy Dorn is pushing for another major change in our teacher evaluation law.
But in Washington, D.C. and Olympia, politicians aren’t satisfied. They want more – and if they don’t get their way, they’re going to label us and our students as failures.
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and state Supt. of Public Instruction Randy Dorn are pressuring Washington legislators to mandate that principals use state test scores in teacher evaluations. It’s an idea that doesn’t make sense for a variety of reasons (including the fact that it has nothing to do with improving student achievement). If they don’t make the change, the federal government is threatening to yank our state’s waiver from No Child Left Behind, which means designating nearly every single public school in Washington as failing – even though Duncan himself recently called Dorn to congratulate him on our state’s strong student test scores.
And despite claims to the contrary, we will not lose federal education funding if Duncan revokes Washington’s NCLB waiver.
Instead of playing politics with our kids’ education, the politicians should focus on what would really benefit students – fully funding K-12 education as the Constitution requires and the Supreme Court ordered in its McCleary decision. Our class sizes are 47th out of 50 states, a ranking the Legislature has done little to change. Teachers and other school employees have gone five years without a state-funded COLA, and our teacher salaries are dead last among Pacific states.
Yet instead of funding smaller class sizes for all of our students, or providing a modest COLA for educators, politicians want to change teacher evaluations for the fourth time in as many years. They don’t seem to realize that making yet another major change in the teacher evaluation law is going to wreak havoc with the collaborative work teachers and administrators are doing to implement the new law as it currently exists.
As Everett Education Association President Jared Kink told KIRO TV: “Any change to it would just derail it, would just wreck it. We’re just getting used to the current system now.”
Here’s a fact sheet WEA lobbyists prepared for political leaders in Olympia.
DATE: December 5, 2013
RE: ESEA Waiver – Background Information
Supt. of Public Instruction Randy Dorn and some state legislators are proposing legislation to mandate that teacher evaluations include state test scores.
The current teacher evaluation law allows school districts to use state test scores, but doesn’t require it. Use of test scores is decided locally, allowing for flexibility based on local needs.
Supt. Dorn claims Washington will lose its waiver from the federal ESEA (No Child Left Behind) requirements unless state test scores are a mandatory part of teacher evaluations. He falsely claims we’ll lose millions in federal funding.
Here are the facts:
The Legislature and Supt. Dorn already have made dramatic changes to our state’s teacher evaluation law. They’ve changed it three times in the last four years. The proposed change would be the fourth major change to the teacher evaluation bill in four years.
Contrary to Supt. Dorn’s claims, the loss of the waiver will not result in a funding cut. There will be no loss of federal funding if the waiver is revoked. If the ESEA waiver is revoked, a small amount of federal funding in some school districts will have to be spent on the purpose originally designated by ESEA, such as after-school programs for students. (http://www.K12.wa.us/Communications/pressreleases2012/WASecuresESEA-Waiver.aspx) (“School districts will see the results of the waiver immediately. Before the waiver was granted, districts had been required to set aside a statewide total of roughly $34 million in their budgets to pay for outside service providers with little accountability. Now that Washington has received the waiver, districts will be allowed to spend that money in ways they determine most appropriate, within ESEA Title I rules.”)
Teachers and administrators in all 295 school districts are working diligently to implement the new teacher evaluation system. Our state’s evaluation system is designed to improve teaching and benefit students.
The state test the Dept. of Education is attempting to mandate does not measure student growth as defined in state and federal law: “from one point in time to another.”
The state test was developed to measure the system not individual students;
Because it is administered only once and doesn’t reflect what the teacher is currently teaching, the test does not measure student growth;
Scores are received late in the summer, after the school year is over and students have departed.
Only 16-18 percent of Washington’s teachers teach subjects covered by state tests.
If U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan does revoke Washington’s ESEA waiver, nearly all of Washington’s nearly 3,000 K-12 public schools will be declared “failing” by the federal government. As a result, principals in those schools will be required to send letters to parents in 2014 informing them that their entire school is failing because some students did not meet federal standards.
There’s no way to predict what the federal government will do regarding ESEA. However, it is unlikely that any changes will be made this year.
Here’s what teachers are saying:
It’s time for the politicians to stop playing politics with our kids’ education.
Now is not the time for politicians in Olympia and Washington D.C. to make more changes to our teacher evaluation system. It’s a distraction from dealing with the real issue: neglect of our public schools as a direct result of inadequate school funding.
“Any change to (the current teacher evaluation system) would just derail it, would just wreck it. We’re just getting used to the current system now,” Jared Kink, Everett Education Association, KIRO TV, 12/4/13.
Here is a link to answers to key questions presented to the School Board Candidates for your consideration.
Please be informed with who is running and the key issues, even if you are not a voter in the district. School Board members lead the direct of a school district and make policy that effects your job each and every day. You can pass this information along to other voters.
WEA is conducting a survey to gather info about professional development from every member working in PreK-12.
The link is: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HSJ58V6
This survey closes on Monday, Oct. 28, and only takes 10-15 minutes to complete.
As educators, we face many challenges in our careers, and these have become more complicated by new education reforms. With this survey, WEA wants to hear about your professional challenges and professional development needs. WEA will use the survey results to help shape, guide and publicize state and regional training programs for members. WEA will also share with us what they learn!
I encourage EVERYBODY to give their input. Thanks for your time!
Mark B. Morrow
WEA-Sammamish UniServ Council President
Bellevue Education Association Vice President
Wednesday night will be your first chance to see, hear and ask questions of the school board candidates. Below is the announcement and other information regarding out school board race. The SVEA Rep Council voted not to endorse a particular candidate but said they thought members would want to be active and informed. Please take the time to read and/or attend, especially if you are a voter in the district.
The Snoqualmie Valley Rotary Club #132 is proud to announce it will host a Candidate’s Forum:
When: Wednesday Evening, October 23, 2013.
Time: 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM.
Where: The Commons at the Mt. Si Freshman Learning Center.
9200 Railroad Avenue
Snoqualmie, WA 98065.
All candidates listed in the King County 2013 Elections Guide who are running for an elective office to the King County Council District 3, the North Bend City Council, the Snoqualmie City Council, the Snoqualmie Valley School District 410 Board of Commissioners, the Public Hospital District #4 Board of Commissioners, and the King County Fire Protection District #38 are invited and welcome to participate. Rotary has a long and dedicated history of service to our community. It is in all of our best interests to seek out a non-partisan venue where the electorate and those willing to serve in public office can speak and be listened to in an atmosphere of respect. As Rotarians, we will endeavor to dedicate ourselves towards that outcome.
The format for the evening will allow for maximum exposure towards all candidates and constituents alike. We realize this is very short notice and we want to make it easy for everyone to participate. So there will be no “moderated panels”, or “stump speeches” during this Forum. The venue will be arraigned in a “listening post” configuration whereby each candidate can stake out a table as their base of operations for the night. Tables are not pre-assigned. First come – First Served. Doors open at 6:00 PM for candidates to stake out their table and set it up to their satisfaction. The Forum opens at 7:00 PM.
The Snoqualmie Valley Record has done a series of questions for the school board candidates to answer. I have sent all three candidates a list of questions generated by teachers for them to respond to. As soon as I get them, I will send them out to you.
Good news for class sizes? Possibly. But only if our legislators hear from us.
September 19, 2013 — The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released its quarterly revenue projections for the state yesterday. They project an increase of $345 million for the 2013-15 biennium. And that’s good news for kids across Washington state.
When the Legislature adjourned in June, members added some funding into the education budget. But they didn’t go far enough. In August, I called their efforts “incomplete.”
Now they have the opportunity to try again to get a passing grade. They must add that $345 million into education at all levels – early learning, K-12 and higher education. This will help ensure student success. It is the best investment for our state.
Call 800-562-6000 and tell the Legislature: Fund our schools!
Call on the Legislature to comply with the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision and amply fund our public schools.
The Legislative Hotline is 800-562-6000.
Callers to the Hotline can leave a brief message for their district legislators and Gov. Inslee on issues of concern or on questions they may have about bills or laws. These messages are forwarded electronically to the appropriate individuals. When leaving a message with the Hotline, please be prepared to give your name and street address.
The Hotline staff will also fulfill requests for bills and other legislative documents and can answer questions about meeting times and places, pending legislation and the legislative process.
In the last week, nearly 1,000 educators have shared their class size numbers and stories on the Class Size Counts website.
“I’ve been teaching for 16 years and things have changed dramatically. I currently have 35 students in class,” says Jesus Guerrero, a teacher at Moses Lake High School.
Now it’s time for you to share your class size number!
Whether you’re a classroom teacher, a specialist, an education staff associate or an education support professional, students do better with more adult support and help. But when our class sizes rank 47th out of 50 states, it’s clear Washington’s public schools need smaller class sizes, reasonable caseloads and more classified school employees.
You can help make things better by share your class size number at www.ClassSizeCountsWA.org. By sharing our numbers and stories, we can raise public awareness about the need to reduce class sizes. After all, every child in every classroom in every part of our state deserves a quality public education.
Share your class size number, and make a difference!
Kim Mead, WEA President and Everett teacher
They will be bargaining at 4:00 p.m. on the 19th, at the District office. It would be great if even a few teachers showed up to support the bargaining team. Also notes, small gifts and words of encouragement will help them as they go through this tedious process. Lets all pull together.
SVEA Executive Board