May 3, 2017

Dueling Assessment Bills

Returning to Olympia for floor action May 2, the Senate passed SB 5891 (de-linking the biology end of course) and the House passed HB 1046 (de-linking all state assessments from graduation). Both bills passed unanimously.

The House came on the floor at 10 a.m. and passed about a dozen bills, including breakfast after the bell and the early learning facilities bills. The House made one change to HB 1046 – it adopted an amendment that would make the bill’s provisions apply to the graduating class of 2014 on, rather than starting with the graduating class of 2017.

The Senate came on the floor about 2 p.m. and also passed about a dozen bills – the main education bill being the assessment bill. The Senate adopted an amendment that clarified that the legislation applied to the class of 2017 and subsequent classes until the date when all high school students must meet the state standards in science in 2021.

In summary, two assessment bills are alive, but are widely different. The House would remove the requirement to pass the state assessments for graduation, and the Senate would remove the biology end of course (EOC) but replace it with the Next Gen Science Standard comprehensive assessment for the class of 2021. The House is holding firm to all or nothing this year. The Senate still keeps that one link, which could be removed in a subsequent session, but does nothing about English Learning Arts (ELA) or math. Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has been meeting with the Washington Roundtable to try to soften their opposition to de-linking, by promising some type of bridge course in the subject area where they didn’t pass, and requiring the tests in the 10th grade to give students two years to meet graduation requirements.

Word on the street is that House won’t return again until May 17th. No idea about the Senate, which wasn’t scheduled to meet today until the notice came out Monday afternoon. Education Funding negotiators are meeting.

Category: Advocacy , Education , Legislative

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