ESN Coalition Working Toward 2016 and 2017
The 2016 legislative session is a short session, intended to last 60 days (from January 11 to March 10). With this being a non-budget year (the state budget is finalized in odd years), the 2016 session is expected to be limited in the types of legislation introduced. Lawmakers will likely focus on digging deep into a few critical issues.
In addition to the continued discussions surrounding K-12 education funding (to address the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision), lawmakers will likely take on graduation requirements. In 2015, the House passed House Bill 2214, which would have delinked the state test from high school graduation, but the Senate did not hear this bill. The ESN Steering Committee expects some form of this bill to be introduced again.
Given this potential scenario, ESN’s policy priority setting process will be modified. For the 2016 session, ESN’s primary legislative priority is to maintain our state’s learning standards and aligned assessments, and ensure those assessments continue to be required for graduation. We will continue to develop a more robust policy agenda for the 2017 legislative session.
Please keep an eye out for coalition-developed advocacy materials in support of our state learning standards and aligned assessments, including our Assessment Matters handout.
The Excellent Schools Now (ESN) Coalition is encouraged by the results from the state's first Smarter Balanced assessments. The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) released statewide test results this morning.
The scores represent a new baseline that provides a more accurate indicator for educators, students, and parents. The scores should not be used as an apples-to-apples comparison to former state tests (e.g., MSP and HSPE). The results will improve as students have additional years of instruction aligned to the new Washington State Standards.
It is vital to our state's economy that we have more students better prepared for college, work, and life. We have an increasing job skills gap in Washington that needs to be addressed, and these scores are a key indicator that we are moving toward the goal.
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