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    Legislature could still save $40 million from fed cutoff

    Money for schools is at risk, but Gov. Jay Inslee has a plan to meet federal requirements on teacher evaluations.
    Gov. Jay Inslee

    Gov. Jay Inslee Photo: John Stang

    A state bill is in the works to regain $40 million in federal educational aid, jeopardized by the Washington Senate's failure to pass a similar bill last week.

    Gov. Jay Inslee and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn met with legislative leaders Tuesday to fix a major risk created when the Senate rejected a Senate Majority Coalition Caucus bill to require schools to conduct teacher evaluations based in part on student test scores. The schools already have that option, but mandatory use of test scores is needed to keep a waiver from federal No Child Left Behind regulations. That waiver is worth $40 million in federal aid to Washington's schools.

    Last week, political gamesmanship on both sides of the aisle was more convoluted than usual, with the bill's real purpose apparently taking a back seat to several backroom flip-flops. Inslee met with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Sunday to try to salvage the $40 million.

    The new bill would make the test-score-based teacher evaluations mandatory in the 2017-2018 school year. A committee must turn in recommendations on implementing those evaluations to Dorn's office in the 2016-2017 school year, according to a press release from Inslee's office. But the state government will move forward only if the feds extend the waiver — with the $40 million — from the No Child Left Behind regulations.

    “I assured Secretary Duncan that if he grants us this waiver, we will ultimately be able to deliver a stronger, more effective evaluation system that better serves our students and educators. He indicated that, given our demonstrable progress on a range of reforms, this is a positive step could provide a satisfactory path forward,” Inslee said in the press release.

    For exclusive coverage of the state government, check out Crosscut's Under the Dome page.

    John Stang covers state government for Crosscut. He can be reached by writing editor@crosscut.com.

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    Posted Wed, Feb 26, 5:15 a.m. Inappropriate

    Governor Inslee "I assured Secretary Duncan that if he grants us this waiver, we will ultimately be able to deliver a stronger, more effective evaluation system that better serves our students and educators."

    Jay had better hope Secretary Duncan has not studied his previous record of promise keeping.


    Posted Wed, Feb 26, 3:45 p.m. Inappropriate

    Yeah, this is another let's do it for the buck instead of using sound logic before going forward. Inslee strikes me as a leader in how to not do things correctly.

    Presently, we have no assessment measurement at the state level which could possibly meet the requirements that Duncan wants us to meet. 86% of teachers teach subjects that are not tested using the current assessment (HSPE). There is no assessment at the state level currently, which measures student growth on an annual basis, so how is a teacher in a non-effected subject going to be evaluated correctly using a state assessment that doesn't exist? This is kind of putting the cart before the horse isn't it? Oh, here's another possible problem I'm sure the governor isn't thinking about. If in fact there was a test that was developed which covered all areas taught in school, (remember your going to have to have a pre and post instructional assessment to gain a true perspective of the actual student growth) that's going to be expensive too. How much of the 40 million is going to be eaten up by the companies creating and scoring these examinations?

    Posted Thu, Feb 27, 8:11 a.m. Inappropriate

    There can be no question that the cost of the testing required to keep this $40 million will be much, much greater than $40 million.


    Posted Thu, Feb 27, 8:03 a.m. Inappropriate

    A bad idea with $40 million tied to it is still a bad idea.


    Posted Thu, Feb 27, 10:27 p.m. Inappropriate

    The perfect reason to abolish the Department of Education. We send our tax dollars to D.C., the feds charge us a handling fee and then dangle the remaining dollars as bait for the state legislatures to toe some mythical line. Only fools believe that this is part of the educational process for students, however, it is for legislators.


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