Monday, April 16, 2007

Does the Hill Have [Enough] Ayes to Undo WASL?

Lawmakers have already set in motion legislation that would delay the math and science portion of the WASL. The big question to be resolved before for the last days of session run out is whether that delay should be extended to the tests in reading and writing.

That's the latest scuttle in Olympia, where lawmakers are just days away from concluding this year's legislative session. Senate Education Chair Rosemary McAuliffe (D-Bothell) told The Seattle Times she supports a delay because the students struggling with reading and writing WASLs are from low income families, have disabilities or are students of color. McAuliffe was apparently swayed by a petition signed by more than 40 of the state's 296 school district superintendents advocating for the delay.

Gov. Gregoire has continued her support of the graduation requirement in reading and writing, and reiterated it in comments to reporters last Friday, after a closed-door meeting with Sen. McAuliffe and House Education Chair Dave Quall (D-Mount Vernon). To wit:

"One week from Sine Die let's make a dramatic shift in education policy in the state of Washington? That is troubling to me."

The 105-day session is scheduled to end on Sunday, April 22, though Democrats are pushing to end things this Friday. With a budget left to resolve and a host of other major policy concerns, it will be interesting to see if The Hill has the "ayes" to undo the WASL as a graduation requirement - for 2008.

For the record, AWSP supports a delay in mathematics and science, but not for reading and writing.

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