WEA is a doing a good job tracking, communicating, and organizing in response to legislative efforts that might affect public education if enacted into law. Whereas the House is working on pro-public education bills (such as reducing class size and state assessments while increasing funding), the Senate is employing an opposite approach. Yesterday, I was happy to once again utilize my local association’s communication tools in response to WEA President Mary Lindquist’s call for member participation on two Senate bills which would weaken teacher retirement and due process.
Since two Democrat Senators have chosen to caucus with the Republicans, the Senate has a Republican majority. Republican priorities in public education are now being given greater consideration. In addition to those on substituting a 401(k)-style savings account for our state pension plans and making it easier to fire teachers, the Senate is debating bills that would
•require that 50% of teacher evaluations be based on test scores
•require 3rd graders to pass a high stakes test in order to be promoted to the 4th grade
•provide differentiated pay for math, science and special education teachers
•move towards requiring a Common Core Standards assessment as a graduation requirement
It’s in everyone’s self-interest and the interest of his or her school community to pay attention to what our legislators are introducing, debating, and voting on in Olympia. WEA maintains an excellent web portal by which anyone can get more information and to lobby in easy ways on behalf of those causes that are most important to each of us.