Stop Confusing “Education Reform” With “Funding Reform”
The Legislature defined basic education. The Court said, Fund it.
OLYMPIA (March 28, 2014) — Unfortunately, it is once again necessary to respond to Ms. Liv Finne of the Washington Policy Center about the meaning of the Supreme Court’s McCleary v. State of Washington decision. Ms. Finne continues to say the Supreme Court has ordered the State to adopt education reforms and that the Court has not ordered the State to fund its program of education identified in ESHB 2261 and SHB 2776.
Ms. Finne is wrong. Here is the order issued by the Court in January:
…it is hereby ordered: the State shall submit, no later than April 30, 2014 a complete plan for fully implementing its program of basic education for each school year between now and the 2017-18 school year. This plan must address each of the areas of K-12 education identified in ESHB 2261, as well as the implementation plan called for by SHB 2776, and must include a phase-in schedule for fully funding each of the components of basic education.
The order goes to the issue of funding reform, not education reform.
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction has no interest in continuing an argument with a private citizen. Ms. Finne and the Policy Center are certainly entitled to their opinions. But continuing to spread false information is not helpful as policy makers struggle to meet the Court’s order.
Superintendent Dorn supports education reform. In fact, he agrees with many reforms supported by Ms. Finne and the Policy Center, including:
- Teacher/principal evaluations that include student test scores.
- Greater ability for the State to intervene in struggling schools.
- Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills to help ensure a successful start in school.
- Increased academic rigor for all students by requiring
- High school graduation exams.
- Twenty-four high school credits.
- Common Core State Standards.
- Next Generation Science Standards.
- Smarter Balanced assessment system.
Most of these reforms have been implemented, but that is beside the point. The Court did not link education reform and funding.
The Court ordered the Legislature to fully fund each component of basic education, as defined by the Legislature itself. The debate over various education reforms should not be used as an excuse to not address the constitutional necessity to fully fund our schools.