Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I am in favor of laws and in favor of recall and discharge for Rep. Sharon Tamiko Santos. (same for SPI Dorn)

Does any individual or institution care to read laws, observe them, or enforce them?

Clearly the Seattle School Board rarely has much interest, but does the media have any interest. The bigger question is now where elected officials and the courts stand on enforcement of existing laws or favor any accountability?

I know in regard to enforcement of RCW 28A 645.020 more than one superior court judge in King County ignores violations.

The huge question before our State now involves the adoption of the Common Core State Standards.

#1. Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn violated RCW 28A 655.071

#2. House Education Committee Chairperson Rep. Santos refused to schedule a hearing on HB 1891, a bill to delay the adoption of the CCSS for at least two years. In her opinion the Bill was not submitted in time to get a scheduled hearing.

Rep. Santos’ actions of ignoring Mr. Dorn’s above legal violation and her refusal to schedule an HB 1891 hearing may violate her oath of office to support the Constitution and Laws of the United States as well as the same for Washington State. Her suppression of substantive discussion on such an important matter is completely unjustified.

The adoption by Washington State of the Common Core State Standards could well be in violation of Federal Law. Major problems lie ahead for the CCSS based on Sec 103b of Public Law 96-88, which states the following:

(b) No provision of a program administered by the Secretary or by any other officer of the Department shall be construed to authorize the Secretary or any such officer to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, over any accrediting agency or association, or over the selection or content of library resources, textbooks, or other instructional materials by any educational institution or school system, except to the extent authorized by law.

The Smart and Balanced Assessment Consortium is not just designing assessments, they are designing curriculum which is specifically prohibited by law. While under present circumstances some people and many of Washington State’s elected officials may be ignoring this violation, this will likely not be sustainable over time as we see ever changing political climates. There could be a major change in attitude with regard to this issue in 2012. There is no justification to make this change “to the CCSS” because it will offer no permanent benefit to Washington students and is likely to end up in more chaos with substantial costs and unintended consequences. A two year delay in this decision would not preclude us from joining this effort in the future and a two year delay could save us from many huge problems that loom on the horizon. Rep. Santos is not acting to support either the laws or the Constitutions of the State and US with her refusal to allow discussion of HB 1891 through a public hearing.

While the assessment consortia PARCC and SMARTER involved with CCSS might be considered independent contractors to a federal governmental agency, their current work with state departments of education to develop curriculum frameworks on which to build out assessments, with state and federal funding, should follow legal and standard protocols vis a vis open meeting laws, good faith inclusive procedures, and abide state and federal divisions of power and decision making.

Curriculum frameworks are what Boards of Education are charged with developing, within a robust, open process, giving opportunity for public comment and engagement, and with eventual approval by majority vote.

It is not a process to be conducted behind the scenes as PARCC and Smarter and some participating states appear now to attempt.

A publicly funded body must abide law and regulations Activities and feedback must be available for inspection, (and FOIA); drafts and changes must be justified by the body itself.

The two testing consortia PARCC and Smarter should be themselves holding public meetings and should have a website for broad public comment and with their responses. This is not the case.

State boards of education should be engaged in good faith efforts to public engagement in the development of the all important "model curriculum frameworks." Engagement should include broad based expert input in the writing, expedition of distribution of drafts and opportunity for comment from the education community and general public across their state, and including the state legislature. There is little if any sufficient evidence this will occur.

The actions of Rep. Santos should encourage engagement, unfortunately her actions repress public engagement.

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