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Hundreds of Educators Tell Legislature: More Teaching, Less Testing, Fund Schools!

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More than 400 educators and parents lobbied the Legislature Monday to oppose a bill mandating the use of state test scores in teacher evaluations – and to support full funding for Washington’s public schools.


ESSB 5748 is bad policy, doesn’t help kids, doesn’t help teachers and is a distraction from the Legislature’s constitutional obligation to fully fund K-12 public education, including smaller class sizes and professional compensation,” said Tacoma Education Association President Angel Morton, who testified against the bill.

Morton joined hundreds of other educators and parents in opposing ESSB 5748, which had a hearing in the House Education Committee Monday morning. In addition to those who testified, more than 320 educators signed up to oppose the bill. Dressed in red, hundreds of WEA members packed seven hearing rooms and wore stickers that said, “More teaching, less testing!”

“Tying student test scores to teacher evaluations will only make it more challenging to find quality teachers who are willing to risk their evaluation by teaching in high-poverty schools – the same schools that need the very best teachers. We need to create incentives for teachers to work in high-poverty schools, not barriers,” testified Sunshine Campbell, a parent and an education professor at The Evergreen State College.

Edmonds Supt. Nick Brossoit t_MG_8945estified against the bill, along with Edmonds Education Association President Andi Nofziger Meadows.

The bill “is not supported by any research,” Brossoit told the committee.

After the hearing, WEA members met with their own legislators and urged them to oppose ESSB 5748 and to fund smaller K-12 class sizes and professional compensation.

“I came down to Olympia because it is important for our legislators to hear from teachers in the classroom,” said Derona Burkholder, a teacher at Sunny Hills Elementary in Issaquah.

Burkholder and others echoed Morton’s testimony: It’s time for the Legislature to comply with the Supreme Court’s order and begin to full fund public schools.

At a separate legislative hearing later on Monday, WEA President Kim Mead testified on the House budget proposal that was released Friday. The House budget plan would increase funding for K-12 and higher education, but it falls short on fully funding the smaller K-12 class sizes required by Initiative 1351. It also doesn’t go far enough on professional compensation for K-12 employees and community and technical college employees.

“We appreciate that this budget proposal provides a substantial and significant increase in _MG_8994state funding for K-12 public schools and students,” Mead said. “However, the House budget proposal fails to provide the long-term plan for amply funding our K-12 schools as mandated by the state Supreme Court, and it falls short of the immediate need to invest in our children’s education

“While we appreciate that this budget reinstates the voter-approved cost-of-living adjustment for K-12 and higher education employees, it doesn’t go far enough to provide the competitive, professional compensation needed to attract and keep qualified and committed educators.”

The Senate is expected to release its budget proposal later this week, and then the House and the Senate will have to negotiate final state budget deal. Although the Senate passed ESSB 5748 earlier this year, its fate in the House is unclear. WEA members are hoping the bill dies without a vote in the House. Senators could try to keep it alive by tying it to the final budget, a move WEA members vociferously oppose.

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