Budget, “further undermines our efforts to support kids, families and educators.”
OLYMPIA - March 3, 2012 - I can’t believe what I’ve seen here. We just got confirmation from the Washington State Supreme Court that the Legislature drastically underfunds basic education and now they are further undermining our efforts to support kids, families and educators. The Senate Republican budget guts several extremely valuable programs designed to reduce the dropout rate and close the achievement gap. It removes or reduces the only performance-based method the state has to reward high-quality teachers. And I am especially appalled that it eliminates funding for programs designed to help our kids compete for jobs in the new global economy.
Following is just a partial list of the programs the Senate Republicans eliminate or reduce:
- Washington's new IT Academy is a partnership between the state and Microsoft. It provides software and training in every high school in the state. It is essential to our students' ability to compete for jobs locally and globally. This program, and programs like First Robotics, LASER and Lighthouse Schools, are focused on working with local businesses to engage students in hands-on science and career and technical education -- specifically to enhance our science, technology, engineering and math opportunities for students.
- Navigation 101 is a guidance and life-planning program for students in grades 6 through 12. It is designed to help students be what they dream, in part, by helping them plan their futures and understand what they need to do to achieve those plans.
- The PASS program, which funds evidence-based programs to support struggling students, ensures cross-agency collaboration to keep students from dropping through the cracks. These programs are implemented statewide, based on the needs of students within each district, with the promise that if they are able to improve the graduation rate and decrease the dropout rate, more funding will be available to support successful programs.
- Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) is a state-based national non-profit organization dedicated to preventing dropouts among young people who are most at-risk. In more than three decades of operation, JAG has delivered consistent, compelling results -- helping nearly three-quarters of a million young people stay in school through graduation, pursue postsecondary education and secure quality entry-level jobs leading to career advancement opportunities.
- Building Bridges is a national initiative working to identify and promote practice and policy that will create strong and closely coordinated partnerships and collaborations between families, youth, community- and residentially based treatment and service providers, advocates and policy makers to ensure that comprehensive mental health services and supports are available to improve the lives of young people and their families.
- College Bound Scholars are low-income 7th and 8th grade students who sign a pledge by June 30 of their 8th grade year. Students promise to graduate from high school, demonstrate good citizenship and seek admission to a college or university. The scholarships they receive provide hope and incentive for students and families who otherwise might not consider college as an option because of its cost.
- The College Success Foundation Achievers Scholars Program provides early college awareness at middle school, college advising and preparation activities at selected high schools, and helps students apply for College Success Foundation (CSF) scholarships to attend college.
Their college preparatory advisors (CPAs) provide proactive academic advising, college planning information, grade monitoring and referrals for additional interventions for students in its programs. They are school-based and work in close collaboration with teachers and guidance counselors and other college access providers. CPAs also help assess college readiness by working with community colleges to administer college placement testing as early as 10th grade, and they assist with test preparation, transcript reviews and monitoring.
- National Board Certification bonuses, which are performance-based, reward teachers who meet rigorous national standards for excellent teaching practices. It is inconceivable that, at a time when we should all be focusing on identifying and supporting our best teachers, we would be cutting the pay of those whom we believe are the best.
Our schools must be more than "basic." We all lose when our students drop out of school. The future productivity of our state suffers. The future cost for social services rises. Our kids -- especially kids most at risk -- need the programs the Senate Republicans eliminate.
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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The OSPI Communications Office serves as the central point of contact for local, regional and national media covering K-12 education issues.