Tuesday, May 1, 2007

AWSP Requests Section Veto of WASL Bill

Last week, AWSP Executive Director Gary Kipp sent a letter to Gov. Gregoire asking her to veto three sections of ESSB 6023, the WASL and high school graduation bill. The governor has 20 days from the time the bill was signed (excluding Sundays) to take action on the measure. That means we'll likely see something take place on or before May 15.

From AWSP's perspective, the bill now before the governor represents a substantial weakening of the diploma and the graduation requirements. The association is supportive of the proposed delay in the math and science WASL as a grad requirement, but has serious concerns about the other major elements of this bill, including:
  • SECTION 2 - Would allow students to use assessments that are not aligned with state standards (e.g., ACT, SAT, AP) to demonstrate proof of skills.
  • SECTION 6 - Restricts access to the alternatives to only those students with a 3.2 GPA or higher and directs the State Board of Education to examine the use of norm references tests as a means of alternative assessment.
  • SECTION 10 - Allows ESDs to review student appeals based on pre-ed reform measures of success (e.g., attendance/seat time).
In the letter, AWSP also requested a veto of section 9 of HB 1051, granting certificates of academic completion to those students who complete all graduation requirements but for the WASL. It is not a diploma. As Kipp wrote in his letter:

"While we appreciate the Legislature's efforts to ensure all students are recognized, the certificate of academic completion is a poor substitute for the skills represented by earning a high school diploma."
The governor has indicated her concerns about the measure, so she might make some changes with her veto pen (section only; there is no line-item veto). We will be anxious to see how things play out as May 15 approaches.

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