Governor Locke’s Major Accomplishments, Education

K-12: Making Education Investment the Top Priority

  • Delivered smaller class sizes to public schools. Proposed major new funding to reduce K-12 class sizes, which were the third largest in the nation. In 2000, the proposal led to an overwhelmingly successful citizen ballot initiative will provide public schools $1 billion over four years for reducing class sizes, and financing other programs to boost student achievement, and school construction.
  • Pushed through over $76 million in funding over four years to give school children more learning assistance and individualized attention.
  • More than half of new bond appropriations in the capital budget go to public schools, state colleges and universities. It invests $930 million in new education facilities, including $315 million for K-12 school construction.
  • The capital budget also finishes projects that already have begun, including $398 million to complete current higher education projects and $114 million to complete current public school projects.

Helping Every Child Learn to Read

  • Created the Washington Reading Corps -- since 1998, program has enabled 11,000 trained volunteers to give intensive tutoring to 22,000 elementary students statewide, and is having a positive impact on reading ability.
  • Supported funding to continue the Washington Reading Corps program. This program is a unique collaboration between schools, community groups, and business. Community volunteers provide tutoring in reading for low-performing students in grades K-6. $7.8 million GF-State (01-03)
  • Supported funding increase for the Math Helping Corps program. The program assigns mathematics school-improvement specialists to work with low performing schools that have requested assistance. $1.7 million GF-State. (01-03)
  • Provided Reading Improvement Funds to train teachers in effective reading instruction and methods for assessing young readers.
  • Provided $85.7 million to keep the commitment to smaller classes and extended learning opportunities in public schools. This funding keeps faith with citizen Initiative 728, which makes an additional $393.3 million appropriation to school districts to further reduce class sizes and expand extended learning opportunities, as well as provide $77 million more to build new schools. $556 million State. (01-03)

Improving Academic Achievement

  • Expanded Learning Assistance Program to include assistance to struggling high school students at a cost of $19 million.
  • Provided funding for 1,000 new teachers in our classrooms. Funding for an additional 1,000 new teachers is pending. (99-00).
  • Created a program to provide focused assistance to low-performing schools. The Superintendent of Public Instruction will conduct educational audits and enter performance agreements with school districts based on the findings of the audit and input from the community. $2.8 million GF-State. (01-03)
  • Launched the 2002 Summer Reading Challenge, to encourage Washington students to continue reading while on summer vacation.
  • Created the Reading School of the Month Program with Superintendent Bergeson, which honors one school each month that has made exceptional gains in its reading achievement. The secrets of success of honorees are shared on the website so that other schools can learn from them.

Making the Education System Accountable

  • Created the Governor’s Academic Achievement and Accountability (A+) Commission to ensure schools make continuous improvement in student academic performance and that school and student performances are reported clearly to parents.

Providing Excellent Teachers

  • Secured legislation requiring testing of new teachers to ensure mastery of subject matter they will teach.
  • Insured higher standards for teachers through a new professional educator standards board to administer the teacher tests and advise policymakers on the full range of issues affecting teaching and administrative professions.
  • Rewarded excellent educators through an annual $3,500 pay bump for all teachers that have achieved certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
  • Approved higher teacher salaries in 1999 – a 17 percent pay increase for first-year teachers and a 16 percent increase, on average, for early-career teachers. Mid-career teachers will see a 14 percent increase over the next two years, while senior teachers get a 10 percent increase.
  • Increased teacher salaries by 3.7 percent in 2001. The pay raise is authorized by citizen passage of Initiative 732. $324.8 million GF-State.
  • Helped make it easier for highly qualified citizens to teach in public school classrooms. School districts and universities will coordinate teacher preparation programs that allow would-be teachers to work toward a teaching certificate while learning from a skilled mentor teacher in the classroom. $2 million GF-State (01-03)
  • Supported new funding to a program to train and develop school principals. The school principal support program pairs new principals with mentors for up to three years and assists the new principals in developing an individualized professional growth plan. $1 million GF-State. (01-03)
  • Created partnership with OSPI to establish Washington Reads, a targeted federally funded program to assist 32 low performing schools in developing effective literacy experiences for children.

Ensuring Our Schools are Safe

  • Provided $12 million in 1999 in new funding for safer schools, including $4 million to create alternative schools for kids who are expelled from regular classrooms; $3 million for school security staff; $2 million for prevention and intervention grants; $2 million to train teachers on dealing with disruptive students; and $1 million for school safety planning.
  • Funded $5.2 million in additional funds in 2000 for school security and other safety-related programs.
  • Signed new laws requiring immediate evaluation of students arrested for bringing guns to school and requiring more information-sharing between schools and law enforcement.
  • Supported measures to ensure food safety in our public schools.
  • Convened Youth Safety Summit in 1998 to take a broad look at the overall issue of youth violence, not just at schools, but in the communities schools exist. Over 4,000 citizens participated in local forums statewide at which they developed recommendations for improving youth safety and preventing violence. These recommendations were discussed and refined at the summit, attended by more than 400 educators, community leaders and policymakers, and printed in the summit report.
  • Supported funding to all school districts to make schools safer. Districts are encouraged to use these funds to develop comprehensive school-based safety plans that include prevention, intervention, all-hazard/crisis response and recovery elements. $6.1 million GF-State. (01-03)
  • Created a program to train school districts to prevent bullying and harassment. The Superintendent of Public Instruction will develop a model bullying and harassment prevention policy and disseminate this information to school districts. (01-03)

Educating Our Children for the Innovation Economy

  • Created a system in which the K-20 Educational Telecommunications Network connects all levels of education, kindergarten through graduate school, offering Internet, intranet, satellite-delivered "distance learning" programs and videoconferencing capabilities. The project has been on time and under budget, having returned $6.6 million of its $61.4 million authorized budget to the state’s general fund.
  • Provided more computers to Washington Schools through the "Computers 4 Kids" program, an innovative partnership between business and state government to distribute business-donated computers, refurbished by Washington inmates, to schools throughout the state.
  • Supported funding to assist districts participating in the LASER program. The Pacific Science Center’s Leader Assistance for Science Education Reform program assists school districts in implementing an inquiry-based, K-8 science program. $1.8 million GF-State. (01-03)
  • Supported funding for the MESA (Math, Engineering & Science Achievement) Program to increase the numbers of African American, Hispanic, American Indian, and women students in mathematics, engineering, and science through the use of exemplary materials and instructional approaches in grades 6-12. $1.9 million GF State (99-01). $1.9 million GF-State. (01-03)
  • Collaborated with a private foundation on the launch of “High Tech Highs” in Washington State, where young people prepare for higher education and careers in the innovation economy.
  • Convened a Virtual Education Task Force to foster online learning resources that will be accessible to students and teachers across the state.

Commission on Early Learning

  • With the help of Mrs. Locke and Melinda Gates, leaders in health, education, child care, business and government were brought together to critically examine the state’s role in improving the earliest stages of learning for children from birth to age three.

Improving K-12 Counseling and Teaching to Ensure Every Washingtonian is Academically Qualified to Go to College

  • With the Governor’s leadership, Washington was the only state to receive a GEAR UP grant. GEAR UP serves at-risk students by improving their K-12 education experience and increasing their academic expectations.

Higher Education: Providing Merit Scholarships for Middle- and Low-Income Families

  • Won legislation creating Washington’s Promise Scholarships to provide two-year college scholarships to high-achieving high school students in low- and middle-income families.
  • Increased enrollment slots for high-demand fields such as engineering and computer science.
  • Continued funding to pay for Promise Scholarships to the top 15 percent of graduating high school students (or those who scored at least 1200 on SAT), who also meet certain income criteria. $11.2 million GF-State. (01-03)

Making Higher Education an Economic Development Tool for Washington

  • Spearheaded the push to harness higher education to help drive economic growth by emphasizing programs that prepare students for high demand fields such as information technology, nursing, and teaching.
  • Supported the establishment of the Advanced Technology Initiative at the University of Washington and Washington State University to invest in specific fields where a combination of cutting-edge research and education initiatives can create new industries or revitalize existing ones. . $4 million GF State (99-01). $600,000 GF-State. (01-03)
  • Supported legislation allowing the University of Washington and Washington State University to own and finance research facilities and related equipment supported by revenue generated by research. Allows the universities to finance these facilities using revenue bonds.

Expanding Technology for Better Teaching and Learning in Washington Colleges & Universities

  • Is making sure that the K-20 telecommunications network continues to build new capacity to offer college courses for credit on the Internet.
  • Enhanced distance education to improve access and teaching throughout the state.

Building A Workforce for the 21st Century

  • Made major investments in expanding the amount of education and training for high technology workers, including $6.8 million to start up new high-tech programs in community colleges and four-year institutions.
  • Established the Technology Institute at the University of Washington-Tacoma. The Institute will rapidly increase the number of graduates from the University’s computing and software systems program, and also prepare community and technical students to transfer to the institute. $6 million GF-State. (01-03)
  • Expanded job training by moving the Job Skills program to the community college system and moving federal dollars from other training programs to that program.
  • Created partnerships with industry associations and labor organizations to identify employment and training needs in the future and the curriculum needed to train workers for those needs.
  • Established a series of family support, counseling employment and training programs designed to create wage progressions for WorkFirst participants and other low-wage workers.
  • Funded 1,300 new community college FTEs for worker retraining (2001-2003 supplemental budget).

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