Dorn’s Priorities Evident in 2012 Legislative Budget
OLYMPIA - April 11, 2012 - In January, State Superintendent Randy Dorn laid out his priorities for the 2012 Legislative Session. These priorities were evident in the budget that passed the Legislature on April 11.
Retaining basic education funding was priority #1. “I told the governor at the beginning of the 2012 Legislative Session, ‘No more cuts to education,’” Dorn said, “and when the final budget was passed, the issues I fought for on behalf of the kids of Washington state were spared: There were no cuts to the 180-day school year and no cuts to levy equalization.” This was a particularly difficult year for budget consensus. The citizens owe a debt of gratitude to the governor and Legislature for protecting education funding.
Another of Dorn’s top priorities was to improve or remove ineffective teachers. Financial support continued for the implementation of the Teacher/Principal Evaluation system. According to Dorn, “This funding is needed to ensure all teachers and administrators receive the necessary training to implement this new and innovative way to help teachers improve their teaching practice.”
Dorn believes strongly in the need to expand career and technical education as well as Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) opportunities. The budget includes funding for aerospace and manufacturing programs that will provide students the employment certification necessary for entry-level jobs upon graduating from high school. It also continues funding the IT Academy, which provides students the training necessary to earn certification in a variety of state-of-the-art software programs. The IT Academy will help students prepare for the high-tech jobs available in our state. Dorn said, “These investments in education are examples of funding that serves students today, but also will help our students be competitive in the Washington state job market for years to come.”
Superintendent Dorn advocated persistently for funding for at-risk students to improve academic achievement and reduce dropout rates. The final budget includes money for the Jobs for Washington Graduates, Navigation 101, and the Building Bridges programs, as well support for foster care students. The Legislature also made significant investments in pilot projects designed to “move the needle” in improving student performance. These programs will be focused primarily in our urban schools that have significant achievement gaps. “We are hopeful that these pilots will identify the practices that can be expanded statewide--and ultimately be built into our basic education program to ensure that appropriate, ample funding is provided to help all students succeed,” Dorn said.
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 provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.
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OSPI Communications Manager
The OSPI Communications Office serves as the central point of contact for local, regional and national media covering K-12 education issues.