Letter: We Need New Leadership in Olympia

I am an education advocate and lifelong Democrat who can no longer support Rosemary McAuliffe.

I am an education advocate and lifelong Democrat who can no longer support Rosemary McAuliffe.  She has publically stated that the education system was good enough for her kids, and it is good enough now. During her tenure in the State Senate as Chair of the K-12 Education Committee, education funding has gone down (vs. the national average) and the achievement gap has gone up.  Today, only 3 out of 4 high school freshman will graduate, and only 1 out of 5 will graduate college.  We can and must do better.

This past session, Senator McAuliffe refused to allow votes on several bills that had bipartisan support and enough votes to pass her committee. Ultimately, no bills were voted on in her committee.  NONE.

Both the Seattle Times and Everett Herald endorsed the challenger in this election.  From the Herald endorsement:

“Rosemary McAuliffe… was called out this past session for throttling reform legislation...Her thinking and leadership style no longer align with a chairmanship that demands innovation (all the more imperative with the state Supreme Court's McCleary decision mandating full funding of K-12.)

Her opponent, Republican Dawn McCravey, is a former special-ed teacher and a Northshore School Board member. McCravey looks at basic education through a fresh, school-board-tested lens, tying board and district goals with student achievement and advancing a more rigorous curriculum. Her willingness to explore education options that put students ahead of administration, as well as her grounding in small-business issues, make McCravey the more appealing choice."

I have observed Dawn McCravey in action as a school board member for several years.  She is always willing to listen to her constituents, and does not merely follow the group, but leads; she is a free-thinker and always puts the best interest of kids first in her decision making.  She believes every kid deserves a great teacher, and we need to give teachers the supports they need to succeed, including the freedom to use various methods to reach every child, because no one curriculum or method fits all children.  

I urge you to join me in supporting Dawn McCravey for State Senate.

Nancy Chamberlain


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Ken Mortland October 23, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Nancy: Let me see if I have this right. 1) Rosemary McAuliffe served three terms on the Northshore School Board and 20 years in the state senate because she believes the education system is good enough? That doesn’t make sense! If she felt it was good enough, she’d have stayed home. 2) While she served in the senate, education funding has gone done. Are you claiming that McAuliffe is responsible for that erosion of funding? That also makes no sense. I’ve followed education legislation for 40 years. If McAuliffe had her way, there’d be a great deal more money in education now. 3) While only 3 out of 4 high school freshman will graduate, there are two factors you ignore. First, that’s the “on time” graduation rate. In Washington state many students go on to graduate after additional work. Second, that 75% graduation rate is an all time high. Acknowledging that this is the all time high puts that discussion in a very different light. Can we do better? Yes, and we will.
Ken Mortland October 23, 2012 at 04:59 PM
4) Today, more kids head off to college than ever before and we’ve worked hard to encourage them to do so. However, that means many go off to college, although they have done little to prepare themselves for that task. As a result, many fall by the wayside along the way. No one person is to blame for that fact, nor can one person change that tact. 5) Both McAuliffe and McCravey have experience on the Northshore School Board, but somehow only McCravey gets credit for that fact?
Ken Mortland October 23, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Now, let’s address that whopper about no bills. “Ultimately, no bills were voted on in her committee. NONE.” According to the Senate records, twelve bills were passed out of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee in the 2012 session. Ten bills were eventually signed by the governor, one was incorporated into another bill, and one reached the senate floor and apparently died there. These bill included ESSB5715, SSB6038, SB6040, SSB6041, HB2247, E2SHB2337, HB2485SHB2492ESHB2586, SHB2617, ESHB2799, & HCR4410. I had no trouble finding this information on the Washington State Senate website, so nothing prevented you from finding the same information. I must infer, therefore, that you made this claim either with no information to support it or with no concern that it was false. http://www.leg.wa.gov/Senate/Committees/Documents/Reports/BillsPassed/2012.pdf#Page=7
Nancy Chamberlain October 24, 2012 at 08:24 PM
I stand corrected on the fact that some bills passed out of Sen. McAuliffe's committee BEFORE she cancelled all votes for the rest of the session when it was apparent that the strong teacher evaluation bill and charter school bill would pass. From the Feb 3, 2012 Seattle Times: STATE lawmakers are again punting on sensible education reforms. Senate education committee chair Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell, and her counterpart in the House, Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos, D-Seattle, used their gavels to doom promising legislation adding accountability to teacher evaluations and allowing a small number of charter schools into our state. "It is discouraging that two individuals could completely block the dialogue from happening," said Ramona Hattendorf, of the Washington state PTA. "The idea of having a good evaluation and discussing how it should be used is not radical." McAuliffe and Santos were aided by a stunning lack of political courage by all but a handful of Democrats. Many thought the moment for true progress had come in the Senate, where the charter and evaluation bills have broad support. But McAuliffe and the majority of her committee were at an impasse Friday. She refused to let her committee vote on a single education-reform bill, even canceling Thursday's committee meeting where votes were expected." The kids of our state deserve better than Roadblocks to Reform!
Ken Mortland October 26, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Nancy: Finally, somebody's willing to identify what bills were "blocked". Let' start with teacher evaluation. This legislation was merely Stand for Children's effort to put their stamp on evaluation legislation. With the passage of SB6696 in 2010, the issue of reforming the teacher evaluation process had been dealt with and the efforts to implement that legislation was already underway. Stand for Children had little to do with SB6696, but that doesn't mean nothing had happened. Stand for Children's efforts in 2012 to pass new evaluation legislation were unnecessary and wasteful of legislative resources. The "dialogue", as you put it, was not blocked, it had already happened. Not holding hearings, therefore, was a sensible and prudent act. As a player in this discussion, you should have already known that. Stand for Children's claims of blocked legislation is pure rhetoric and false, as well.
Ken Mortland October 26, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Nancy: Now, let's look at Charter Schools. Within the limitations of a short legislative session, dredging up legislation on an issue that has already failed to win voter support three times is not a very productive use of legislative resources. Particularly when we were faced with a January 2012 Washington State Supreme Court order to fulfill the state's paramount duty and adequately fund basic education. Spending time discussing the thrice failed concept of charter schools was unnecessary and wasteful. The choice to bypass it was sensible and prudent. Demands for consideration of charter schools was another of Stand for Children's efforts to put their stamp on legislation. And blaming Sen. McAuliffe and Rep. Tomiko Santos for their very prudent actions represents little more than a temper tantrum by those who didn't get what they wanted. We don't let 3 years olds do that, why should we let adults do that?


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