March 18, 2004
Message from the Governor
A quality education is a universal right. Our children deserve no less, and we can provide them nothing more important.
We've made great strides in raising academic achievement the past several years. We are proud of this improvement. But we must intensify our efforts.
Today I signed five bills into law that will take us to the next level in education reform.
The first bill I signed clarifies and refines our tough, new graduation requirements that take effect in 2008-the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL). It reduces the number of subjects to be tested and passed for high school graduation. These subjects will be reading, writing and mathematics starting in 2008. We'll add science in 2010. This will help us focus on the basics and reinforce our state's high academic standards. It will also better prepare students to meet or exceed those standards. And teachers and parents will now have a roadmap of exactly what is expected of students.
The new law also allows for multiple retakes and the development of alternative assessments.
The second bill I signed into law today reforms and strengthens our state's Learning Assistance Program, or LAP. This bill better targets learning assistance money to struggling students and schools that need it most. It provides greater program accountability and stabilizes allocations to school districts that need the most help.
The third bill I signed today provides stability for school budgets through changes to state restrictions on local levy authority. It authorizes the collection of the full amount of voter-approved school levies.
Until now, the maximum amount school districts can collect through local levies is limited to a percentage of their state and federal revenues. When the state K-12 budget is reduced, the amount that school districts can collect is reduced, even though local voters have approved collections beyond this limit. This legislation authorizes the collection of the full amount of voter-approved levies. This provides stability for school funding and avoids a double-hit to district budgets.
The fourth bill authorizes the development of charter schools within the public school system, and also focuses on helping underachieving students meet our state's high academic standards. The bill allows school districts to convert some existing schools to charters or to provide for the development of new schools. This legislation encourages innovative thinking to help struggling students.
The final bill I signed into law expands the state's Alternative Route Certification Program. It provides opportunities for individuals to get state teacher certification based on their experiences in the private sector or in educational roles not requiring a certificate. The focus is on recruiting individuals who are interested in teaching in shortage areas such as math, science and special education.
| Quote of the Week
“We want the best for our kids. We want them all to succeed. By signing these bills today, we are taking action to further improve education reform in our state.”
-Governor Locke, March 14, 2004
The new law allows individuals holding conditional teaching certificates or emergency substitute certificates to work toward becoming fully state-certificated teachers.
I commend the Legislature for working in a bi-partisan fashion to pass this legislation. The action we've taken today will help give our kids the tomorrow they deserve.
Preventing Domestic Violence
Flanked by numerous legislators and domestic violence support groups, Governor Locke signed several public safety bills
into law on March 15. The bills will help prevent domestic violence and protect violence victims. Included was a bill which requires every police department and sheriff's department in the state to adopt and enforce policies to deal with domestic violence involving their officers. Tacoma police Chief David Brame's fatal shooting of his wife and subsequent suicide in April 2003 prompted the legislation. “We are here to mark an important victory for domestic violence victims of our state,” the Governor said. “Let us do all we can to make sure that no member of a law enforcement family will ever again endure what happened to Crystal Brame.”
Celebrating the Spirit of Exploration
Governor Locke rededicated
the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center at Cape Disappointment State Park, near Ilwaco on March 12. The Governor also signed legislation creating a Washington State Parks Centennial Advisory Committee. “This center offers us understanding and inspiration,” the Governor said. “Visitors will leave knowing more about Lewis and Clark and their amazing expedition. And they will better understand the spirit of discovery that brought these trailblazers across the country to our coast.” The new committee will develop a proposal to implement the State Parks Centennial 2013 Plan.
Laboratories of Innovation
Governor Locke toured two Seattle biotechnology companies March 16. He visited with employees and discussed the important role that biotechnology and biomedical companies play in Washington's economic future. The Governor toured Amgen's new, state-of-the-art Helix biotechnology research campus. He also met with students from Ballard High School's Biotech Career Academy in Amgen's dedicated education lab and learned how to spool DNA. The Governor then toured ZymoGenetics. On the tour, he met with employees from the Seattle Community College Biotech Program and the company's summer internship program. He also met award winners in protein biochemistry and bioinformatics whose early efforts to combine computers and biology led to ZymoGenetics' strong patent position.
Success Story: Successful Drug Dependency Treatment
Most of the youth and adults receiving drug dependency treatment
in Washington are satisfied with their care and are treated with respect by their treatment providers, according to a survey conducted by the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). The 2003 Statewide Client Satisfaction Survey was conducted by DSHS's Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (DASA). The survey found that 96 percent of adults and 90 percent of youth were satisfied with their care. Alcohol and substance abuse treatment in Washington is provided by 265 community-based providers under contract to DASA.
3/19: Bill Action, Bellingham
3/22: WSU-Vancouver Dedication, Vancouver
3/22: Columbia River Economic Development Council Lunch, Vancouver
3/23: KUOW, Seattle
3/24: Weekly News Conference, Seattle
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