State supt. calls WA budget a victory for education

As the Legislature fought over Washington state's budget the past few months, among the items most vigorously debated were drastic cuts to education that were put forward in some versions of the budget.

With the passage of the state budget earlier this week, and the preservation of education funding ensured, state Superintendent Randy Dorn was pleased with the outcome.

"I told the governor at the beginning of 2012, '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 the Legislature for protecting education funding."

Outside of preserving general education funding, Dorn pushed for funding for reforms to streamline the process to either eliminate outright ineffective teachers, or put them on notice.

"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," he said.

A recent topic of discussion at Federal Way Public Schools has been Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) programs and how the district is making those programs available to students.

Dorn has made STEM programs a priority, and was again happy with the Legislature's willingness to preserve funding for these critically needed programs for students in the future.

"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," he said, referencing programs for aerospace manufacturing and computer technology.

Finally, funding was preserved for pilot programs to help close the achievement gap, especially among urban students.

"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.


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