The first in a series of notes on this year’s session. I can no longer write a summary of what happens during the actual session, particularly in short sessions where the budget negotiations take until the last !@#$%^&* minute. (I will be less testy about this in a week or so.) I have been working on the 24-credit graduation requirement bill for many years. It’s the foundation of our restructuring of school finance in HB 2261 from 2009. I’m super-excited that we got it done. Over the next few years we will add more rigor to our curriculum, including additional lab science classes and enough mathematics that most kids will be set up for success in whatever they do next, be it a four-year college route or a more specialized program in one of our community colleges or trade schools.
I share the concerns of the Partnership for Learning here that schools in Washington will lose control over 20% of their “Title I” money from the federal government. Title I is a program that sends money to schools with a high concentration of kids from low-income families. This is around $40 million a year that won’t be available to districts if we do not get a waiver to the No Child Left Behind act, the modern incarnation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, (ESEA) the federal legislation created in the 60s as part of the war on poverty and the civil rights era. Neither the Senate nor the House had the votes to advance the bill that fixed it. I would have voted yes in the House as I have said many times. Very frustrating.