Superintendent Reykdal unveils long-term vision for K-12 educati - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Superintendent Reykdal unveils long-term vision for K-12 education in WA

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KENNEWICK, WA - The new Superintendent of Public Instruction has released a three-phase vision for the next several years of K-12 education, including the potential for longer school years.

Reporter Rex Carlin took to Facebook to ask local parents what they thought, and a heated debate regarding year-round versus nine-month school years ensued. 

There were plenty of responses from both sides of the debate. Some parents say they want their kids in school year round, with reasons ranging from their kids being bored in the summer to concerns over students forgetting much of what they learned the previous year during the three-month summer vacation.

But many of the same arguments against year-round schools were very much prevalent on our Facebook post. Many high school students have summer jobs they rely on for income, students in farming communities work during harvest, families like summers off school to take trips, and more.

Reykdal's plan - linked below - includes a three-phase vision for the future of K-12 education in the state, with phase three titled as a comprehensive K-12 redesign...including longer school years, longer school days, and dual language acquisition beginning in Kindergarten.

Phase three is projected for around 2021 to 2023.

Read about Reykdal's plan here: http://www.k12.wa.us/Communications/PressReleases2017/Long-TermVision.aspx 

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OLYMPIA, WA — Today, Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal outlined his long-term vision for K-12 education and framework for meeting the state Supreme Court’s decision in McCleary v. Washington at a press conference in Olympia.

“The goal of our education system is to prepare all of our students for post-secondary aspirations, careers, and life,” he said. “In the ongoing struggle to amply fund our schools, I fear we have lost this larger vision.”

Reykdal’s vision identifies the McCleary court case – in which the Supreme Court ruled that the state isn’t adequately funding basic education – as a starting point.

“We’ve talked about McCleary for several years now,” Reykdal said. “But too often, people see meeting the court’s mandate as the final destination. I believe our students and educators deserve so much more than just the bare minimum.”

Reykdal’s vision is set forth over three phases – each lasting two years – from small improvements to a full redesign of the K-12 education system. They are as follows:

Phase I (2017-19): Performance Improvements and McCleary Framework
To prevent a “McCleary II,” the Legislature must decide on a clear definition of basic education and the state’s portion of compensation for our educators, Reykdal said.

Beyond that, the state will need to provide targeted support beyond basic education for schools with large performance gaps between student demographics. Reykdal has consistently said that we will not shy away from data that expose where we are lacking because it’s what will help move the needle for our most vulnerable students.

Additionally, Washington is one of few states that still require students to pass a single exam to graduate. Reykdal’s framework moves the 11th grade assessment to the 10th grade so test results will inform students’ graduation pathway. But in an immediate step, we should stop using standardized exams as a filter on who graduates, Reykdal said.

Phase II (2019-21): Research and Policy Transition
“This is where the long-term vision begins to take form,” Reykdal said. That includes creating meaningful pathways to high school graduation, paying all dual credit fees for our students, and creating more opportunities for parents and guardians to engage in their child’s education, particularly with key investments in technology.

Phase III (2021-23): Comprehensive K-12 Redesign
The final phase of Reykdal’s vision includes large transformational changes. These include dual language acquisition beginning in kindergarten, longer K-8 school days and a longer school year, longer lunch breaks, adequate recess times, and universal early learning access, among others.

“I know these are bold goals that will require additional investments by the state,” Reykdal said. “But when looking at how much of our state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – the total dollar value of all the goods and services we produce – we reinvest in education, Washington ranks 46th nationally. We can do much, much better than that.”

Reykdal predicted additional funding for education would amount to about $4 billion a year. “The Legislature has the opportunity to make enormous progress this year when they come to an agreement,” he said. “But we must focus on the education system we need, and not settle for the one that our political climate will tolerate in the short term.”

McCleary has given us a chance to take a deep look at how we educate our children so they are successful in their lives and are active contributors to society,” he continued.

Superintendent Reykdal understands his long-term vision is bold, audacious, and to implement, will require the support of parents and guardians, educators, policymakers, and the public. “If we are serious about our children being able to compete on a national and global scale, it’s time we look at our education system in a new way,” he said.

“Our system redesign can only claim success if it truly provides equal opportunity and an unprecedented embrace of individual learning pathways for each student,” Reykdal said. “We hope you will join us on this transformation.”

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