Dorn’s Legislative Agenda Moving Forward
OLYMPIA — March 8, 2011 — State Superintendent Randy Dorn’s 2011 legislative agenda is moving forward as the majority of his request bills were passed by the originating chamber by Monday’s cutoff date. Dorn’s request legislation covered a range of topics from math to school safety to kindergarten readiness.
All bills that passed by Monday’s deadline by their originating chamber remain under consideration for this session. Any bills that remain alive would have to be passed by the opposite chamber and then signed by the governor to become law. Bills that have not been passed by either state house can remain under consideration if they are designated as “necessary to implement the budget.”
“I’m pleased with the progress of my proposed legislation,” Dorn said. “However, there is still a lot of work to do in protecting education from further budget cuts. That remains my No.1 priority for this session. We can’t be distracted from that goal.”
Dorn’s proposed math legislation (House Bill 1412) was passed by the state House of Representatives 96-1 and will likely be heard by the Senate next week. A hearing schedule is expected to be released later today or Wednesday.
Dorn’s legislation requests that the current math assessment graduation requirement be amended by allowing students in the classes of 2013 and 2014 to pass one end-of-course (EOC) math exam instead of two. That will allow the assessment system to be better aligned in the transition from the High School Proficiency Exam (a single, comprehensive math exam) to two end-of-course exams (algebra 1 and geometry).
Most 10th grade students this year are taking geometry and will take that respective state end-of-course exam. However, under current law, they would also be required to take an algebra 1 exam a year after taking the course.
“In the end, legislators and education stakeholders have come to see that the transition to end-of-course math exams was not fair to students,” Dorn said. “Under current law, we are asking students to take and pass exams for a course they took one to two years earlier. That’s not fair, and people see that now. I am confident this will become law.”
Other key Dorn legislation that passed out of at least one chamber included:
House Bill 1549: This bill, passed 96-0, requires that public and private schools are given at least 30 days’ written notice when a juvenile who has committed a violent offense, a sex offense, or the offense of stalking is released into the community where the crime was committed.
“This is important legislation,” Dorn said. “The safety of our students has to be our primary consideration and concern.”
Second Substitute House Bill 1510: This bill requires school districts that are receiving state funding for all-day kindergarten to use a kindergarten assessment, the Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS). The companion bill, Second Substitute Senate Bill 5427, passed the Senate.
“This pilot program has received great feedback from our schools and I think this is a valuable tool for teachers,” Dorn said. “Anytime you can have families, teachers and early learning providers working together for one student, that’s certainly a successful model.”
The only Dorn request legislation that did not make it out of either chamber asked the Legislature to delay the science graduation requirement until other science end-of-course exams become available (House Bill 1410/Senate Bill 5226). Dorn said he expects the Legislature to designate the legislation as “necessary to implement the budget” and to take action on science as they have on math.
“We will experience the same alignment issues in science that we are in math as we transition next year to an end-of-course exam,” Dorn said. “We need the Legislature to act upon this legislation now so students are fully aware of their graduation requirements.”
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 does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual preference/orientation, age, veteran’s status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.
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