OLYMPIA – A bill sponsored by state Sen. Jim Hargrove that would target successful educational programs with direct funding has cleared the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
The state Supreme Court has ordered the Legislature to invest $4 billion in education by 2018.
Senate Bill 5330, sponsored by Hargrove, D-Hoquiam, requires that money be invested in existing programs that have proven results to show their effectiveness.
“The Supreme Court says we need to spend this money to improve our education system. I think we need to be sure to spend it where we know it is going to work and where we know it is going to benefit students,” said Hargrove. “We’ve had great success with evidence-based practices in the area of criminal justice. It makes sense to focus on outcomes and programs that work in our schools.”
Under the bill, some of the things state money will be invested in include:
• Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS), a program in which schools may use up to three school days at the beginning of the school year to meet with parents and families as part of the WaKIDS process and still receive basic education funding for those days.
• Mentor Program; a support program for novice and probationary teachers is created, to provide mentor support for first- through third-year teachers and teachers who are on probation.
• Learning Assistance Program (LAP); using a selection of effective practices, activities and programs developed by the Washington Institute of Public Policy or the Superintendent of Public Instruction, LAP is expanded to assist students whose behavior negatively impacts themselves or their classmates.
• Longitudinal Data Pilot Program; a pilot program for one school district is created to provide support for the district to use research data in staff and program development.
“To simply spend money on education, just to say we spent it, could very well be throwing good money after bad,” said Hargrove. “But to put that money where it has the best chance of making a positive difference and helping out students succeed, that is the smart way to grow and improve our schools.”