Dorn Announces Remaining Top Agenda Items for 2013 Legislative Session
OLYMPIA — December 19, 2012 — State Superintendent Randy Dorn will address several priorities during the 2013 Legislative session. Two of those priorities – fully funding basic education and streamlining the assessment system – have been described previously. Today, Dorn announced three others:
- Increase student support for dropout prevention.
- Help educators understand how to use data more effectively to increase student learning.
- Fund English Language Arts coordinators to help with new standards.
“We need to make sure all our kids have the skills required for them to be responsible, successful adults,” Dorn said. “We all do better when students complete their education. Investing money now in programs that we know work will save our state money in the long term.”
During the 2010-11 school year, 14,045 students dropped out of high school in Washington state. They dropped out for a variety of reasons, including lack of food or shelter; loss of a parent; unsafe and unprepared school and communities; and early pregnancy, among many other reasons. Federal and state funding for these services have been significantly cut over the last few years.
The consequences of not graduating from high school are serious for both individuals and society as a whole. According to a 2007 study by the Center for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education, Washington state could save $10,500 per year for every dropout that is prevented.
Students must have basic life skills to achieve success. These skills cannot be developed without the security granted by basic health and safety. Superintendent Dorn requests $18.5 million for 2013-15 to increase dropout prevention, intervention and reengagement efforts across the state. This funding will help school districts identify which students need additional help and design an action plan based on the specific needs of their students. It will also provide support at the state level by funding graduation coaches and programs like Building Bridges, Jobs for America’s Graduates, College Success Foundation and the Opportunity Internship Program.
Large amounts of data are collected every day about students – grades, attendance, classroom participation, assessment results and discipline referrals, to name a few. Data are also collected about teachers and staff and the conditions of school facilities. The data have many valuable uses and are often used to describe educational progress in Washington state.
The data can, and should, be used to improve instruction. But not enough school officials have the knowledge to interpret and analyze the data.
Dorn requests $4.5 million during the 2013-15 biennium to fund data coaches at the state and educational service district (ESD) levels. The coaches will help district staff understand how to make better decisions using data. In addition, the proposed money will support regional implementation grants that can be used, in part, to pay for substitute teachers while regular teachers are being trained in data practices.
English Language Arts regional coordinators
In 2007, OSPI revised state math standards. The state Legislature recognized the scope of that work by funding math coordinators at the ESD level. The coordinators helped create a stronger infrastructure of support and expertise for the state’s 295 districts.
Superintendent Dorn’s July adoption of the Common Core State Standards in 2011 makes it necessary to add coordinators for English Language Arts. To be successful in Washington’s implementation of the new standards, educators must work together, but currently there is wide disparity within each ESD to support that work. Superintendent Dorn requests $2.5 million for the 2013-15 biennium to fund ELA coordinators in each of the state’s nine ESDs. The funding would eliminate the disparity between districts and provide for a smoother transition to the Common Core State Standards.
More on the Superintendent Dorn’s 2013 Legislative Agenda
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.
OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.
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