State Capitol Building in Olympia, Washington

The legislative session in the state of Washington lasts for about two months of the year. There is a flurry of activity during that brief time and then the legislators go home. I’m getting used to it, sort of. That’s why recent posts have been about bills that are under review by our state House and Senate. The bills are assembled, either heard or not by the appropriate committees and then the decision is made to either send it on to the Ways and Means Committee for a cost estimate or drop the proposed bill. If it is sent to the Ways and Means Committee, a cost is established for the implementation of the bill and then it is off to the appropriate sitting body for a vote. This all happens within a blink of an eye so you have to watch what is happening not just on a daily basis but hourly.

The Broad backed, Gates funded League of Education Voters is at it again with another one of their spam e-mails. So far they have backed both bills that propose to determine teacher layoff’s by student performance, basically test scores, and permanently fire teachers if there is a school closing, Senate Bill 5399 and House Bill 1609. They desperately want folks, under the guise that it’s all about the children and not their salaries, to call their representatives in support of Bill 5399.

If the bill doesn’t go into hearings by the end of this week, it won’t be going anywhere. Because of that, I am asking that parents, teachers and concerned members of our community contact the appropriate representatives below today and let them know that there is a better way to educate our children and that Bill 5399 is not the way.

Our representatives who want to hear from us are:

Senator Rosemary McAuliffe, Chair of the Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee

(360) 786-7600

Senator Lisa Brown          (360) 786-7604

Senator Maralyn Chase   (360) 786-7662

Senator Nick Harper         (360)786-7674

Senator Bob Hasegawa   (360) 786-7862

Senator Adam Kline         (360) 787-7688

Senator Sharon Nelson    (360) 787-7667

Regarding Bill 1609, there were hearings yesterday about the bill. I very much wanted to be there to testify as a parent who was not being paid to speak but my other responsibilities were a priority.

One individual who spoke was an anomaly among the other speakers who were teachers. He is a teacher at one of our schools in Seattle and a former Teach for America (TFA) recruit. One thing that I must say about them is that they do come out of the woodwork when the issue is ed reform and someone needs to speak on the behalf of Wendy Kopp and the other millionaire/billionaire reformers. For an interesting piece about the recent TFA convention that brought together hundreds of them, see Live Blogging at the TFA Summit.

What is of particular interest to me is that his wife, Bree Dusseault, was recently hired by our superintendent as an Instructional Director. This is a new set of positions that was recently created by our superintendent. Ms. Dusseault’s background includes work at the Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) which is funded by Gates, the Waltons and the Seattle Foundation. The CRPE is dong a research study for Gates now on charter schools. Hmmm, I wonder how that study will turn out.

This same teacher also got up at the Seattle Forum and said he thought that the Strategic Plan was okey doke by him.

Coincidence? Perhaps, they are birds of a feather but something to pay attention to.

And the House Bill 1546 regarding “Innovation Schools” got a pass by the House Committee on Education. It looks and smells like a charter school bill without saying that it is. This bill could easily turn into a charter schools’ bill with just the change of the name. A bill that requires scrutiny by all.

That’s it for now.

Please contact your representatives and tell them what you think. It does make a difference.