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Letter: Dawn McCravey – A Voice We Need

I am voting for Dawn McCravey, State Senate; in hopes that her experience, tenacity and wisdom can make the difference we desperately need for our children and the place they call “home."

We are desperate for change here in the 1st legislative district. Having lived in Bothell for nearly 30 years, we have observed two decades of decline. Despite Rosemary McAuliffe tenured efforts to “you scratch my political back, I’ll scratch yours”, she has failed to deliver improved education and quality of life for most of us, the tax payers and their dependents. Dawn McCravey has shouldered the task to change the slumping direction we have been going within education. She understands the feet on the ground, which live life in its trenches. The hard work of people who live here should not be futile efforts- throwing their dollars after poor decisions made by their legislators.

Dawn sees the disappointment most of us have expressed through the years in the state government's decisions to: continuously spend money on endless redundant studies, force students to be held accountable to high stakes testing while adults in the system are protected from accountability, narrow the definition and scope of education to what can be "tested", and continuously decrease funding as a percentage of the state budget. 

I've gotten to know Dawn. She is pleasant, knowledgeable, and devoted to bringing out something better for our kids. She has the ability identify what is salient to a problem and rally people to its solution. I get that life is busy and is fuller than full, so we rely on sound bites that we can grab to make busy decisions. People, from all walks of life who meet Dawn, love her and are optimistic for our community again. She not only understands politics but also statesmanship.  

She has proven herself in desperately needed education improvements, protection of environmental gems, and community heart and togetherness. I am voting for Dawn McCravey, State Senate; in hopes that her experience, tenacity and wisdom can make the difference we desperately need for our children and the place they call “home”. 

Jeanne Zornes, Bothell

Send your letters to the editor to lisa.baumann@patch.com or post online at - http://woodinville.patch.com/blog/apply

Ken Mortland October 24, 2012 at 03:33 PM
In the two decades you mention, test scores in Northshore have improved 50% in reading & writing and 20% in math & science.  So, I'm not sure what you mean by decline.   As the Supreme Court pointed out, again, funding for basic education has declined; due to our insatiable demand for more services and a major recession.   But, I don't see how all that could be blamed on a single legislator.   As for accountability, there have been two bill passed in recent years; SSB6696 in 2010 & SB5895 in 2012.  Sen. McAuliffe played a crucial role in each and was at the signing ceremonies for both.  The first bill was a joint effort by educators, except Stand for Children, that radically changed the evaluation protocols and was being piloted state wide.   The second bill, which was unnecessary & counter productive, was the work of SfC.   Whenever a new politician seeks to replace an incumbent, the common strategy is to belittle the work of the incumbent and claim some sort of crisis.  I will not stand idly by, while misrepresentation & incorrect data are used in that endeavor. It's up to you to decide for whom to vote.
Tolli Lowell-Forker October 24, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Dawn has shown real leadership on the Northshore School Board and I expect she will show real leadership in Olympia. For so many years we have accepted mediocrity and good enough to go along. Years of ongoing "studies" and trying to define student success by narrow tests while teachers do not have the same accountability has given us a failing system. We have grown other areas of government while cutting % spent on education - that was a choice our Senator has voted for - there is no hiding from that fact. Our drop out rates are shameful - especially for minorities. I'm tired of of the roadblocks, tired of not putting students first, tired of excuses and trumpeting "signing ceremonies" (we don't need ceremonies - we need real reform) over results. It's time for a true statesman to be sent to Olympia. I will not sit by and let political party hacks blow smoke screens to hide the truth.
Nancy Chamberlain October 24, 2012 at 08:04 PM
This election is about more than Northshore, and more than Leg District 1. It is about the whole state. It is about a million students. We have seen HUGE declines in K-12 funding as a percent of our state's budget in the last 20 years. Where Washington used to be 111% of the national average in funding, we are now at about 89%. And kids are paying the price. Washington is one of only a few states in which the achievement gap is growing. Kids are falling out of the pipeline - only 3 out 4 HS freshmen graduate high school, and only 18% will graduate college. In a state in which 3/4 of all new jobs are projected to need some post-HS education, this should be unacceptale to all voters.
Gail October 24, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Show me a study that correlates funding with academic achievement. I get real tired of this nonsense - we've been there before Nancy. Here are the facts "A basic comparison of long-term spending trends with long-term measures of student academic achievement challenges the belief that spending is correlated with achievement." http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2008/09/does-spending-more-on-education-improve-academic-achievement Or THIS "No correlation between education funding and student performance" http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/The-Adam-Smith-Institute-Blog/2010/0428/No-correlation-between-education-funding-and-student-performance How about the possibility that as a society (iow parents) there's a general decline in responsible parenting. For example, there's a neighbor who refuses to help her kids and blames it all on 'teachers'. For shame for once again promoting things that are NOT supported by science.
Lillie Mitchell October 24, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Parent bashing. How droll.
Gayle Hickey October 24, 2012 at 11:53 PM
It isn't just the funding. There are creative alternatives that other states have utilized. The problem is McAuliffe has roadblocked some of these alternatives because of special interest groups not wanting these changes.
Ken Mortland October 25, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Tolli Lowell-Forker: You make accusations and spout generalities, but you ignore the facts. What's mediocre?  Fifty percent improvement is not mediocre!   Teachers' accountability?  That was successfully addressed in 2010 and will go online in the 2013-14 school year, as mandated in the law passed that year. Our dropout rates?  They  have never been lower.   What roadblocks?  You make this accusation & offer no proof! What "statesman"?  Someone who intimidates teachers in their school or harasses them unprofessionally at a school board meeting?  Someone who controls school board agendas to keep issues she doesn't like from coming up?  Someone many people refuse to meet with one on one because she so often lies about later?  That's a "statesman"?  I don't think so.
Gayle Hickey October 25, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Ken, with the notion of improvements with Northshore testing: if I understand it correctly, Northshore currently has no specific science curriculum so perhaps our scores may be higher inhouse from 2 decades ago, yet our science WASL scores haven't been good. And our math scores may be higher but that's because the curriculum is dumbed down. Almost 100% of 8th graders in the Bellevue and Lake Washington are in Algebra 1 and Northshore has approximately only 26%. So if you make it easier on the students, I would hope their scores would be higher. The sad part is UW now looks for RiGOROUS math from the students 4 years of high school, which Northshore hasn't been doing. In the last year they finally are offering this, thanks to the parents pushing big time on this and with Dawn's support behind it.
Ken Mortland October 25, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Nancy: I feel like you failed to read my initial response.   I acknowledged the erosion of funding in the Supreme Court comment.  I also pointed out that you can't blame that on just one legislator.  Particularly one who has fought long and hard to maintain & increase school funding. You quote a graduation rate that's never been better and then complain it's too low.  At least acknowledge the facts and then build from there.  Do you want to make it better?  So do I!   But, sending someone with a reputation for being a disruptive influence to accomplish that task is not the answer.
Ken Mortland October 25, 2012 at 03:15 AM
Gayle:   First, the reference to test scores is from the last of the WASL reports from the SPI's office.  That would be 2009 or 2010.    The scores improved from the initial testing about ten years earlier.     I think you mean to say that the scores aren't good enough.  but they have improved.  Not as much as the reading & writing, but still significant improvement. Second, I can't imagine a school district without a science curriculum.  I don't know what to make of your comment, but I will get back to you. Third, I'm troubled by people who report 100% of students are doing this or that.  Rarely are such statements true.  But don't confuse grades with test scores.  If you make something easier for students; their grades may go up, but their test scores are unlikely to rise.  Again, I'll have to get back to you. However, the concerns you express are school district curriculum issues that are unaffected by which politician or party holds office.
Nancy Chamberlain October 25, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Another endorsement for DawnMcCravey. Washington State Wire chose to only make 5 State Senate endorsements. Here is what they said about Dawn: "Outcomes matter. After decades of opportunity to change K-12 education, Rosemary McAuliffe as chair of the Senate Education Committee has failed to get results. She has stood lockstep with the entrenched WEA and has blocked serious education reform. In contrast Dawn McCravey offers a more thoughtful approach, has broad experience from the community level in education, and a true desire to see more than 65% of Washington’s students graduate from high school, as is the case today. Go Dawn!"
Nancy Chamberlain October 25, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Gail, Don't take my word for it. The Washinton State Supreme Court ruled in January that the state has been underfunding basic K-12 education in our state for years, and passing large parts of the costs to local levies (that not all school districts pass). This has led to underfunding by BILLIONS of dollars. This has led to loss of teachers, larger class sizes, stagnating teacher salaries, out of date curriculum, ending of art, music and PE programs, loss of reading specialists... Money is not a panacea, but the state needs to meet its Constitutional Paramount Duty to amply fund K-12 education, and not keep cutting it.
Ken Mortland October 26, 2012 at 02:55 AM
So, decades of work, creating legislation that lead to our State's Essential Learnings (ELRS) and focusing & aligning our efforts means nothing? The growth in learning demonstrated by students' test scores in programs resulting from those ELRS means nothing? Unspecified accusations of "blocked" education reform trumps verified improvements in student learning and wipes out three decades of work? And all this so one political party can gain control of the state senate? How low we have sunk!

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