At the end of the day, what really matters when it comes to the education of children? After the school doors are locked and the politicians have gone home, do parents really care what credentials their children’s teachers have obtained, or how many students are in each class, or how many hours their children sat at a desk, or the condition of the plumbing in their children’s school buildings? They care, but only as it relates to whether or not their children are doing well in school. No matter who we are, we want our children to succeed. We want their generation to do better than ours, and obtaining a quality education is an important cor- nerstone of their future success. In almost every circum- stance, becoming a productive, independent healthy adult requires literacy, and it is the opportunity for lit- eracy that has been promised to every child entering our

public education system.

This difficult time in American history clearly il- lustrates the need for a literate citizenry. Behind the touching displays of patriotism are serious questions. What does it mean to be an American? Why is our sys-

Forafreecountry, wherethevastmajority ofpeoplemustbe dependedupontoself- governwisely,earntheir ownliving,and participatefullyas informedcitizens,wide- spreadilliteracyisjust notanoption.

tem of governance and en- terprise so unique? What does freedom of thought, speech and belief mean in America compared to much of the rest of the world? What is required to maintain freedom? These are weighty matters that deserve genuine reflection and debate, the type that can only come from a lit- erate people.

If an additional re- minder is necessary as to why literacy matters, we need only to look back at the 2000 presidential elec- tion. In the two Florida

counties, Miami-Dade and Broward, where the contro- versial ballots were cast, between one-third and one-half of all adults are functionally illiterate. As Wall Street Journal

columnist Holman W. Jenkins Jr. said, “People who can’t read or write may be capable of making perfectly realis- tic political judgments, but they’re going to have a harder time translating this into a clean ballot.”

In 1992, the National Adult Literacy Survey devel- oped classification system to determine the impact of low literacy among adults. The five levels they created are now commonly used to classify adults’ literacy skills ranging from Level 1, where adults cannot read well enough to fill out a job application or read a food label, to Level 5, where adults can read, comprehend and as- similate complex material. One in four Americans is considered to be at Level 1. What does this mean? Ac- cording to the National Institute for Literacy, it means the following:

For a free country, where the vast majority of people must be depended upon to self-govern wisely, earn their own living, and participate fully as informed citizens, wide-spread illiteracy is just not an option.

How do we achieve higher levels of literacy for all citizens, beginning with our youth?

Two schools of thought have always existed regard- ing how best to educate children: the progressive and the classical. Broadly speaking, the progressivist contends that, since children are naturally enthusiastic about learn- ing, most will eventually choose to learn that which is necessary; if not, they can be guided to it. Progressivists believe that the body of necessary knowledge changes frequently making the process of learning of equal or greater value than learning facts and knowledge. Higher and lower- order thinking routinely mix regardless of age or academic background. Since knowledge and the methods by which


it is disseminated change frequently, it’s imperative to the progressivist to centralize content, methods, assess- ment and delivery systems to ensure uniform results for all children, especially the disadvantaged.

The second philosophy presumes that an identifi- able and unchanging base of knowledge and skills exists for all people in all times, and that higher order think- ing can only be built on a foundation of rudimentary, unchanging facts and knowledge. Classicists maintain that all young people regardless of age, socioeconomic

Inthenot-too-distant future,educationwill beprovidedwhere andwhenstudents andtheirparentscan bestaccessit.

background or interest level benefit from a specific and progressive course of study. They presume that a principal obligation of primary and secondary education is to transmit essential knowledge and skills through teachers and teaching tools. Though classicists generally agree on academic content and the end goals of education,

they differ broadly on the best instructional and deliv- ery systems. Some adamantly maintain that a rigidly structured system is essential; others are quite elastic and eclectic.

While remarkable discoveries have been made re- garding how students learn and the best instructional strategies to use to teach various types of students, ac- tual academic results are quite unsettling. Students of all socioeconomic backgrounds are underachieving, an outcome of education reform efforts that have too often been based on extrapolation and speculation instead of scientific discovery and documented experience. This may be because the reigning pedagogical and ideologi- cal selection falls to the interest groups with the greatest political capital. As a result, our public education sys- tem has become, at best, a patchwork of arrangements and traditions; at worst, a treacherous maze.

It is very difficult for school directors to success- fully govern. Sentiment from teachers and administra- tors indicate it’s no picnic for them either. We believe significant change in education is not too far around the corner, but that it will likely disturb many people in all ideological camps because of its decentralized nature. After all, the age of technology has just begun. What children learn, the amount they will absorb and how they will obtain knowledge and skills will change sig-

nificantly. We should guide this change, but not be afraid of it.

In the not-too-distant future, education will be pro- vided where and when students and their parents can best access it. The venues and calendar will change. Colleges of education are used to arranging education menus and timelines, forcing education consumers to adhere to what the academicians think is best. The time for this patronizing behavior is coming to a close. Re- member when the grocery store just sold groceries? Now we can also buy fishing worms, get a flu shot and take home a ready-made dinner. The market responded to consumer needs. The same thing will eventually hap- pen in education.

Schools will have to make more efficient use of re- sources, and this does not mean blindfolded march to- ward cost cutting. It means improving student performance by weighing costs and benefits.

When it’s all said and done, education reforms that work are not large, wholesale endeavors. Success is achieved in decentralized environments where innova- tion and experimentation are encouraged, academic es- sentials are paramount, consumers are king and success by students and educators is rewarded.

The chapters in this book contain just a smattering of issues that matter to school directors, teachers and parents. We hope it will spark discussion about alterna- tives. This document will be followed with a major study on student assessments as well as a journal chronicling the incredible opportunities for schools and parents pro- vided by distance learning.

Children’s time is valuable and so is the heritage of literacy we are duty-bound to leave them. In terms of education, at the end of the day, that’s what matters.




Former Governor Lowry once said that the most embarrassing policy question he was ever asked was where exactly does all the money go that we collect for K-12 public education. Part of the challenge in answering this question rests with the complicated budget process itself; another rests with the large organizational structure sur- rounding K-12 public education.

School directors certainly aren’t the only people who need to make sense of the budget, and they definitely aren’t the only decision-makers when it comes to how the money is spent. But school directors are responsible to provide proper financial management of their districts. Unfortunately, in most districts, the budget process is complex and unwieldy. In fact, when newly elected school directors see their first budget, they often wonder how to make heads or tails of it.

Where do the expenditure and revenue numbers come from and on what assumptions are they based? What are the major budget drivers and the key vari- ables? Is trend data available? Are the central policies adopted based on sound research and best practices? How do we know?

Confusing or not, the budget is the most impor- tant document school board members will review dur- ing the course of any year. It is through the budget process that priorities are established, refined or scrapped. The budget provides an opportunity to discuss and es- tablish benchmarks and evaluation measures. Under- standing how to use the budget as a snapshot of the past and a tool for the future is essential to good manage- ment of scarce resources.

Part of the difficulty in understanding how K-12 education is financed is that it is multi-faceted: layers of funds, funding formulas, programs, reporting, ac- counting, and audit requirements. The pages that fol- low attempt to break the K-12 education budget into small bites that are easily digested and understood.

Organization: constitutional and statutory

Provision for the funding of Washington state’s pub- lic schools begins with the state constitution. This foun- dation is further shaped, tempered, and sized by state and federal laws, rules adopted by the state Superinten- dent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Edu- cation, court decisions, the will of Washington citizens as expressed through the initiative process, and to some extent the state of the economy. Each of these factors play a somewhat different role.

The state constitution supplies the pri- mary legal foundation for the state’s public schools saying that, “It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provisions for the education of all children residing within its borders….The legislature shall provide for a general and uniform system of public schools.”1 Tradition and the courts have in- terpreted this to mean that the legislature will define and fund basic education.

Duties under the Washington State Constitution

Article IX, Sec. 1: Preamble

It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.

Article IX, Sec. 2: Public School System The legislature shall provide for a general and uniform system of public schools. The public school system shall include common schools, and such high schools, normal schools, and technical schools as may hereafter be established. But the entire revenue derived from the common school fund and the state tax for common schools shall be exclusively applied to the support of the common schools.

Accordingly, the legislature drafted the Basic Education Act in 1977and has followed this with several revisions since.2

Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI)

The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruc- tion is established by the state constitution. The super- intendent is elected, on a non-partisan basis, every four years by the voters of the state. The SPI is an executive of the state charged with “supervision over all matters pertaining to the public schools and shall perform spe- cific duties as may be prescribed by law….”3

The superintendent’s chief responsibilities are to:4

State Board of Education

In addition to providing direction to ensure that students achieve the state’s four learning goals,5 the SPI is required to estimate the amount of state support nec- essary to carry out the law. Simply stated, this means the SPI must submit to the governor a proposed K-12 budget for each biennium. The governor adds the SPI’s

projections into his December semi-annual budget pro- posal to the legislature.

Policies, rules and regulations adopted by agencies of the state in interpreting and carrying out state law are contained in the Washington Administrative Code (WAC). Both the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) and the State Board of Education (SBE) adopt rules to administer, implement and ensure compliance with the program requirements of the Basic Education Act.6

The State Board of Education

This eleven-member body, created in 1877 by the Legislature of the Territory of Washington, consists of a member from each congressional district, a representa- tive of the private schools, and the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Two high school students serve as ex officio members of this board.

The duties of the board are to establish rules, regu- lations, and guidelines for educator certification; approve continuing education programs; allocate state assistance for school construction; approve school district basic education programs, accredit schools, set minimum high school graduation requirements, and approve pri-


vate schools.7

The board annually reviews each school district’s K-12 education program to determine compliance with the basic education requirements. Each school district is certified as being in com- pliance or noncompliance every March. Basic education support funds may be deducted for a school district found in noncompliance. Basic education requirements include minimum pro- gram course offerings and hours, basic skills and work skills activities, classroom teacher contact hours, appropriate student-teacher ratios, compli- ance with the 180-day minimum school year, cer- tificated staff with current and valid certificates, and assignment of classroom teachers and educa- tional associates.

Washington State School Directors Association

Table SF-1. Source: Serving on Your Local School Board, Washington State School Directors’ Association, p. 13

This is a self-governing, self-funded associa- tion of school board directors established by the legislature in 1947. All school directors are auto- matically members of the association. Its two- fold purpose is to assist school directors in governing community schools and to strive to im- prove student learning.8

Educational Service Districts (ESDs)

Educational Service Districts (ESDs) are regional units created by statute evolved from county superin- tendents. There are currently nine ESDs in the state of Washington. Each is governed by a board, consisting of either seven or nine members, in which each member represents a sub-division (director district) of the dis- trict.9

The ESDs are to

In 1978, the Washington State Supreme Court upheld Judge Doran’s decision by a 6- 3 margin.14

The result was the adoption by the legis- lature of the Basic Education Act of 1977 (since amended by later legislatures). The Act defined basic education, established a revised funding formula, significantly increased state funding, and limited the amount and pur- pose of special levies. It described the con- tent of educational programs school districts must provide to satisfy these goals and set a formula in place for funding basic education based on ratios of district employees per stu- dent rather than dollars per student.

Doran II

In 1983, in response to a petition from several school districts, Judge Doran rendered a decision that included in the state’s constitutional duty to fund basic educa- tion special-education programs for handicapped chil- dren, transition bilingual education, and remediation assistance.15 The judge ruled that the state was also re- quired to fund transportation for handicapped children who need help traveling to and from school or those living too far from school, whether handicapped or not. Judge Doran further held that once the legislature decided how many dollars were required to fully fund basic education, it could not later provide less than that


Doran III

Again in 1988 Superior Court Justice Doran ad- dressed the state’s formula for funding special-educa- tion.16 He affirmed the formula and the formula approach to funding and identified the need for a “safety net” to address any demonstrated under-funding of spe- cial education within a school district. The decision did not require action by the legislature, but stated gen- eral guidelines to be used as a matter of law.

In turn, the legislature, in 1995, set a new formula in place for funding special education and included a “safety net” allocation within it.17

Initiatives enacted

Initiative 601 – General fund expenditure limit

This initiative appeared on the November 1993 ballot and was approved by Washington state voters.

It placed a limit (or cap) on the growth of expendi- tures from the state general fund (usually 55-60 percent of overall state spending). The limit or cap is equal to a three-year moving average of the rates of population growth and inflation.

I-601 relates to basic education funding in more than one way. The K-12 education programs receive monies from the state general fund. Any preset limit or cap on expenditures from the general fund will, as a result, probably also limit increases in the dollars which can go toward education. Secondly, funds in excess of the general fund limit go into the Emergency Reserve Fund (ERF), created by I-601, until the ERF exceeds five percent of the projected biennial revenues. Excess funds in the ERF then flow into the Education Con- struction Fund (ECF) to support school construction.

Initiative 695 – $30 license tags and repeal of motor vehicle excise tax

This initiative appeared on the November 1999 ballot and was approved by 56 percent of Washington state voters. The goals of I-695 were to repeal the un- popular Motor Vehicle Excise Tax (MVET), replacing

it with a $30 license tab fee, and to make any tax and fee increase by state and local government subject to voter approval. The MVET had represented the fourth larg- est component of the tax sources of revenue for the state (about seven percent of the general fund source rev- enues).

The Superior Court declared I-695 unconstitu- tional, but the legislature subsequently approved the $30 tab fee.18

This reduction in revenue for the state general fund, in turn, resulted in fewer dollars available for all alloca- tions, including education. Education expenditures usually represented about 45 percent of monies avail- able in the state general fund.

Initiative 732 – School employee cost of living adjustment

This initiative appeared on the November 2000 ballot and was approved by 63 percent of Washington state voters. I-732 requires that all school employees re- ceive an annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) in accordance with the Puget Sound (Seattle, Tacoma and Bremerton) consumer price index (CPI). The all-school employee category includes all K-12 school employees, community and technical college faculty, and technical college classified employees.

Initiative 728 – The student achievement act



This initiative appeared on the November 2000 ballot and was approved by nearly 72 percent of Wash- ington state voters. It directs surplus state revenues to dedi- cated funds to provide additional resources for K-12








Historical Expenditures

2000 Constant Dollars













Figure SF-1: Historical expenditures on public schools. Source:

Organization and Financing of Washington Schools, OSPI, p. 119

public schools in six areas, which are listed below. I-728 avoids the I-601 spending limitations by establishing a new dedicated fund, the Student Achievement Fund (SAF), which will receive most of I-728 revenues and will pay for the expanded programs described in the ini- tiative. In effect, I-728 is an “end run” around the ex- penditure limit.

The SAF money will be distributed to public school districts based on enrollment, and will provide funding to:

Although the initiative identifies six major goals, local communities will determine just how the money is spent. Essentially, I-728 amounts to a sizable discre- tionary grant. Time will tell whether the funds are spent as advertised to the voters and to educators.

State revenues: Where does the money come from?

The finances used to run school districts comes from three primary sources: state, federal and local allocations. Almost half the state’s general fund is spent on public schools. In the 1999-2000 biennium, 72.58 percent of school district general fund revenues came from the state government. See Table SF-3. Taxes are the major sources of state general fund revenues; chiefly sales tax, occupa- tion (B & O) tax, and property tax. With the original passage of I-601 the motor vehicle excise taxes are no longer a general fund tax source.

A school district’s funds are divided and described as follows:

Accounts for the activities of the associated student body. Revenue from fund raising activities is used for sports, clubs, or other student activities.

The amount of money each district receives












State Local














Figure SF-2: Major sources of general fund revenue. Source: 1999 Data Book, Office of Financial Management, p. 88.

is determined by the use of various formulas, but the major funding factors controlling school district alloca- tions for basic education are the number of students and district employees, and employee salaries (with av- erage experience and education of the teaching staff be- ing the driver).

State funding formulas are applied to the number of students in each grade level to determine how much money the state will provide to the district to support basic education programs. Most of this amount is used for teacher salaries and benefits. The number of stu- dents in a classroom, the student-teacher ratio, and the state salary schedule fixes the funding that the district will receive for teachers salaries. In actual practice, dis- trict-level collective bargaining may cause a difference in the rates of teacher and staff pay compared to the legislatively fixed schedule. As a result of the passage of I-732 in November 2000, districts will receive funding


S ources of general fund revenue, 1999-2000



L ocal






Table SF-3. Source: School Financial Summary, OSPI

to pay most of its employees an additional 3.7% effec- tive on September 1, 2001.

Additionally, school districts also receive state rev- enues for funding specific programs, such as handi- capped education, the highly capable (gifted) student program, pupil transportation, the learning assistance program, bilingual education, block grants, property tax levy equalization and school construction.

The formulas adjust for districts with small num- bers of enrolled students, districts with a small number of high schools, secondary vocational and skills centers, large enrollment increases in a given month, private school and summer enrollments, and home-based stu- dent services. Running Start students enrolled in a com- munity or technical college are reported and funded separately.

Supplies, equipment, utilities, and other non-people costs are referred to as “non-employee related costs” (NERCs). The state allocates an amount, set by the legislature, for each teacher, administrator, or state cer- tified district employee. The state money is given to the districts in monthly payments, which vary somewhat month-to-month.

Other state-funded programs include:


Washington state has spent an ever-increasing amount of dollars on its K-12 education system. Over the last 20 years, from 1980 to the year 2000, this amount of money has increased by a factor a little over

    1. fold. The increase is greater than expected simply due to inflation. In constant year 2000 dollars the amount spent in year 1980 nearly doubled by year 2000.

      In enrollment terms, the number of students served has also increased from approximately 750,000 in 1980 to just under 1,000,000 students in year 2000. This increase is approximately one-third more students served than 20 years ago and significantly less than the two- fold increase in constant dollars spent in support fund- ing.

      The dollars spent each year per FTE student has increased by a factor of about 3 during the 20 years from 1980. Summarizing expenditure curves, the num- ber of students served has increased by about one-third and the dollars expended has increased by about the same factor in year 2000 constant dollars.

      Because resources for K-12 education will always be finite, and because demand from the public and vari- ous special interest groups for broader services increases, school directors must look for ways to reduce expendi- tures or to get the biggest bang for every buck spent. This means looking for solutions wherever they can be found, and sometimes this is outside the traditional school building. The “make or buy” discussion is not new, yet it is foreign in most public education circles. It

      is not possible or even sensible for public education to “make” every service it decides to provide. Oftentimes the service can be “bought” on the free market for bet- ter value.

      Budgets almost always drive policy—a fact too of- ten overlooked. To be sure, managing large budgets within the constraints of the law, collectively bargained contracts and immoveable predetermined expectations is difficult. But to restate an earlier theme, public schools exist for students, not for adults. Nothing is gained for students, taxpayers or society at large if school directors are unable to challenge assumptions and outcomes, whether it is because accurate information is unavail- able, or because they are intimidated by staff. On the other hand, continual carping by school directors who are unwilling to help craft alternatives and solutions is demoralizing to the administration, teachers and staff.


      • School directors must take seriously their obliga- tion to understand the “innards” of the budget and the process used to adopt it. All budget assumptions should be reviewed against facts and historical trends to determine soundness.

      • Directors should determine the elements of revenue and expenditures that they can control at their statutorily delegated level of authority.

      • Make a clear-headed evaluation to determine whether the greatest value is being achieved for the amount of money spent.

      • Address the “make or buy” question. It is insen- sible to assume that being responsible to “provide for” an educational outcome means that every district must create the product and deliver it. For example, many services for students receiving learning assistance can be provided outside the traditional public school institution.

      • Build a reasonable reserve. Expect the unex- pected.

      • Review contracts for opportunities to make changes in service delivery whenever it can be determined that efficiency, effectiveness and cost- savings is the likely result.

      • Ask lawmakers to 1) further deregulate public schools, and 2) allow more of the dollars to follow the child to the public school of his/her parents’ choice.


        1. Wash. Constitution, Art. IX, §1, 2. 2. RCW 28A.150.210

        3. Wash. Constitution, Art. III, §22. 4. RCW 28A.300.040

        5. RCW 28A.150.210

        6. The rules adopted by the SBE are found in Title 180 of the WAC and the administrative rules adopted by the SPI are found in Title 392 of the WAC.

        7. RCW 28A.305.130

        8. RCW 28A.345

        9. RCW 28A.310.010

        10. RCW 28A.150.230

        11. RCW 28A.600.010

        12. RCW 28A.600.020

        1. Seattle School District v. State, No. 53950, (Thurston Co. Sup. Ct. March, 1977); aff ’d as modified, 90 Wn.2d 476 (1978).

        2. Seattle School District v. State, 90 Wn.2d 476 (1978).

        3. Seattle School District v. State, No. 81-2-1713-1 (Thurston Co. Sup. Ct., April, 1983).

        4. Washington State Special Education Coalition vs. State of Washington, et al, No. 85-2-00543-8 (Thurston Co. Sup. Ct., February, 1988), declaratory judgment.

        17. 1995 Wash. Laws, Ch. 77, §6.

        1. Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587 et al. v. State of Washington, 142 Wn.2d 183 (2000); License Tab Fees, 2000 Wash. Laws, 1st Special Session, Ch. 1.

        2. Wash. Constitution, Art. VII, §2. 20. RCW 28A.505.040

        21. RCW 28A.505.050

        22. Initiative 728, School Class Sizes, 2001 Wash. Laws, Ch. 3.

        23. RCW 28A.505.060

        24. WAC 392-123-110

        K-12 education statistics


        FT E




        T eachers






















































































































        Table SF-8. Source: Superintendent of Public Instruction

        FTE Enrollment includes preschool special education, vocational technical institutes through 1990-91 and state institutions. Dollar per student expenditures include in addition to K-12 education and support programs, state institutions, preschool special education, summer school, community services, adult education, youth training programs, day care programs and vocational technical institutions through 1990-91.




        When it comes to building a better mousetrap, inventors aren’t so much concerned about how it looks, but about how it works and how much it costs. The same principle should apply to the buildings where children receive their education.

        “As thousands of students return to school for the 2002-2003 academic year, administrators . . . are whipping out their calculators and studying where to put reams of students now and in the future,” writes the Tacoma News Tribune.1 In various pockets around Washington, there is a growing need to increase the number of classrooms and school buildings to accommodate an expanding student population.

        Fortunately for school administrators, placement for pupils now and in the future may not be as arduous a task as they expected. Fortunately for taxpayers, the exorbitant bill they would normally foot for the construction of a new school may be significantly reduced. In fact, a number of options are available for the acquisition of new, more

        efficient classroom space. In a report card on the state of school facilities, the American Society of Civil Engi- neers awarded a D-minus to the nation’s schools.2 Ac- cording to the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, 2,400 new schools will need to be built by 2003 in order to meet the demands of a growing stu- dent population,3 and of the 86,000 public schools in the United States, 59,400 need renovation or modern- ization.4 The price-tag may be as high as $268 billion, if

        In Washington, it is estimated that 89 percent of schools need to renovate their building or construct a new one.

        financed through traditional bonds.5

        In a traditional bond fi- nance plan, the school district must purchase land and pay the costs of lobbying voters for a bond referendum. If the refer- endum passes, the revenue from property taxes is earmarked for the construction of new schools or the renovation of existing buildings.

        Washington state’s chal- lenge with school construction has become more press- ing than most other states. In Washington, it is estimated that 89 percent of schools need to renovate their build- ing or construct a new one.6 The size of the median high school is nearly 1,600 students.7 Four high schools in Washington have enrollment exceeding 2,000 stu- dents:8 Battle Ground High School, 2,059; Auburn High School, 2,343; South Kitsap High School, 2,094; and Marysville-Pilchuck High School wins the largest school award with 2,764 students.

        For years, there has been statewide demand to re- form the way schools are built. This is due, in part, to our reliance on using timber harvest revenue off state school trust lands to pay for the state’s portion of school construction. The Washington state Constitution estab- lishes the Common School Construction Fund that con- tinued to be a sufficient source of funding through the 1980s.9 Revenue from this source has fallen from 61 percent in 1985 to around 30 percent today,10 due in great part to the Endangered Species Act and the ban on the export of raw logs.11 Although lumber prices have risen over the past decade, the ability of sales to keep pace with demand has diminished. As a result, the local property tax burden has been driven up to pay for ex- pensive school construction bonds.

        In 1995, many of Washington’s leaders in business, education, and construction—including the American

        Institute of Architects, Associated General Contractors, Washington Association of Maintenance and Operations Administrators, Council of Education Facilities Plan- ners, Washington Association of School Business Offi- cials, and Washington State School Directors Association—signed a resolution to the legislature to “establish or facilitate innovative funding methods.”12 In 1998, King County Executive Ron Sims appointed a panel to give recommendations to the legislature for “speeding up and streamlining the way we now finance local school construction.” The Executive’s Task Force on School Construction Financing Alternatives recom- mended “long-term lease purchase agreements [that] would provide an option to the traditional construc- tion process by enabling districts to quickly respond to explosive enrollment growth and changing student de- mographics with fewer up-front costs.”13

        Innovative solutions used elsewhere around the

        country are public-private partnerships for school con- struction. In a report for the Virginia-based Thomas Jef- ferson Institute, David Guhse writes, “Based on the experiences of school districts around the country, it is increasingly clear that no school district with unmet school construction, expansion, and renovation needs can afford to ignore the option of public/private arrange- ments to address all or part of their comprehensive in- frastructure plan.”14 With hundreds of successful public-private partnerships in schools around the coun- try, there is plenty of proof with which to assess its po- tential for prospective school district projects in Washington state.

        School board members may not be aware that there is a provision in the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Act of 2001 allowing the creation of tax-exempt, pri- vate activity bonds to be used in the construction of public school facilities.15 Because of this new tax code policy, school districts can create agreements with pri- vate sector investors to finance the construction of school buildings. Once the construction of facilities is com- pleted, the school district may lease them from the in- vestors at rates far below typical costs of full public ownership.

        A Pennsylvania firm specializing in these partner- ships, Stainback Public-Private Real Estate, says, “One of the great qualities of the public/private partnership approach to real estate is the ability to customize deal structures to meet the constraints and opportunities of both the public and private partner.”16 There are several

        forms of alternative construction financing that can be tailored to fit the needs of school districts.

        Municipal/Capital Lease

        One alternative construction method is a “munici- pal/capital lease” plan, where a private party agrees to construct a new building and own it for a typical period of 25 years. When the lease term ends, school districts may pay a token amount for the purchase of the facili- ties. A similar plan may be used for the renovation and upgrading of deteriorating or inadequate facilities. The school district will sell its property to a developer who completes the renovation efforts. Then, the developer will lease it to a foundation established by the district. In the long run, a school district can look forward to savings of anywhere from 5 to 10 percent.17

        When the Niagara City School District in upstate New York became interested in public-private partner- ships, it was blocked by New York law. The district con- vinced legislators that such partnerships were a worthy investment, and an exception was made for the district. In only 18 months, a developer had completed construc- tion saving nearly $12 million. Today, the school dis- trict leases its building, including funding for facility maintenance, for $5 million per year. In 2030, the dis- trict will plan to purchase the building for one dollar. Nearby school districts, envious of the results in Niagara, have begun to make appeals to the legislature for addi- tional exceptions to the state law.18

        Another state that changed its laws in order to al- low public-private partnership is Texas. In 1996, the Independent School District of Houston was in need of two new high schools, but its bond referendum failed at the polls. Superintendent Rod Paige, now U.S. Secre- tary of Education, pushed for new private financing solutions. The school district made a municipal/capital lease agreement with Gilbane Building Company that resulted in the construction of Cesar Chavez High School and Westside High School one year sooner than originally planned, with savings of $20 million.19

        The Canadian province of Nova Scotia imple- mented several municipal/capital lease plans in response to its declining economy in 1997. Nova Scotia negoti- ated with its investors to pay only 85 percent of the lease, but to allow the developer to retain ownership of the building to rent it out to child-care services, higher education night classes, tutoring, community events, and

        religious groups. According to Nova Scotia’s Ministry of Finance:

        The key objective is to enable Nova Scotia taxpayers to get better value for their tax dollars by shifting the responsibility for the operation and/or financing of non- core activities to the private sector. In the process, the potential exists for service to improve within the same public expendi- ture framework, or for the same level of public service to be provided at a lesser cost to the taxpayers.20

        Within four years, 22 new schools had been opened in Nova Scotia, and 11 more are in the works.21

        Operating Lease

        A second model of public-private school construc- tion partnerships is an “operating lease” plan. In this case, as in the municipal/capital lease plan, the devel- oper constructs and owns the facility for a 25-year pe- riod; however, using this plan, the lease is classified as a security to the developer. The school district may be without the option to purchase the property for a token amount at a later time. Instead, the district’s ownership payment for the school building will accumulate as the lease is paid. Because lease payments contribute to even- tual ownership, the interest remains taxable. Even so, the school district stands to save 10 percent to 15 per- cent in the long run.22

        District of Columbia Public Schools did not expe- rience the opening of a new school from 1981 until 2001. In 1995, the district was planning to shut down James

        F. Oyster Bilingual Public Elementary School because the costs of renovation were too severe.23 Then, some innovative parents initiated a bold new public/private partnership that turned a negative into a long-lasting positive. The parents commissioned a developer to fi- nance, design, and construct a new school building on the same property as the old one. Since the district was unable to underwrite the costs of construction, the de- veloper agreed to exchange the construction of Oyster Elementary for district-owned property adjacent to the school. The developer built a 211-unit residential apart- ment building, the property taxes for which are fully designated for payment of the $11 million construction bond.24

        District of Columbia Superintendent Paul Vance reflected,

        The bottom line is that we in the D.C. Pub- lic Schools see [public-private partnerships] as an opportunity and valuable tool in the arsenal of school facility improvements and accommodation of educational program needs.25

        Service Contract

        A third way school districts have renovated school facilities is through a “service contract” structure. Should the school district wish to conduct the upgrade without selling its property, it may contract out to a private con- tractor who agrees to operate and maintain the school during renovation, for a set period of time. The con- tractor funds the renovations using private, tax-exempt debt, and is reimbursed for capital costs and interest and compensated for services.26

        The school board in Greenville County, South Caro- lina had once planned to spend $1.8 billion construct- ing or remodeling 72 schools over a 24-year period. When it decided to contract its entire operation to In- stitutional Resources in 2000, it was able to count on savings of $500 million and twenty years. In fact, the developer agreed to complete all 72 projects within only four years for only $780 million!27

        Using a lease model may be a solution for the Tacoma School District as it faces a nearly $90 million dollar renovation of the historic Stadium High School. Developers could quickly buy the property for a signifi- cant amount, making it an excellent investment for both the private sector developers and the Tacoma Schools.28


        A fourth model for school facilities is the “satellite” plan in which non-profit charitable foundations and malls, airports, or other existing buildings form a coop- erative effort to begin a school. The satellite concept was pioneered by the Miami-Dade County Public Schools in 1987 when American Bankers Insurance Group agreed to be the test case. ABIG employees were encouraged to enroll their children in the satellite school located at the company headquarters.

        Today, Miami-Dade operates four successful Satel- lite Learning Centers (SLC). The largest Miami-Dade SLC is Spring Valley Elementary, a school serving chil- dren Miami International Airport Employees. Forty-five satellite schools operate in the United States.29

        Amazing results have been achieved with inner city, at-risk youth in satellite learning centers operated by the Simon Youth Foundation at fifteen Simon Corporation shopping malls around the country. Simon’s Educational Resource Center program works with local school dis- tricts to focus on planting alternative education pro- grams in shopping centers for disadvantaged and at-risk students. One of Simon’s most successful resource cen- ters is Mall Academy which opened in fall of 2001 at Northgate Mall in Seattle.30 Located on the second floor of the mall near the management and security offices, Mall Academy allows Seattle School District students to fulfill all necessary graduation requirements while attending elective classes at the University of Washing- ton and Seattle Community College. Eddie Reed, di- rector of the Seattle Mall Academy, advises, “Education funding should be reshaped to allow a team effort of both public and private sectors, acting in unison, in or- der to provide a truly more equitable and equal educa- tion experience for all public school children.”31

        The National Council for Public-Private Partner-

        ships gave a project award to Hillsborough County School District in Tampa, Florida for its satellite part- nership with First Presbyterian Church of Tampa. In this case, the school district entered into a lease agree- ment and agreed to renovate parts of the church for

        $350,000. Computers and school uniforms were do- nated by private contributors in the community. Be- sides resolving overcrowding, the Downtown Partnership Elementary School raised parental involvement, elimi- nated the costs and hassle of constructing a new school building, and enhanced the overall environment in downtown Tampa.32

        A similar model was developed in Iowa by the Des Moines Business Education Alliance and the Des Moines School District. In 1993, the Alliance made its case for establishing a school in downtown Des Moines that was convenient for working parents. That year, a small facil- ity was donated by Principal Financial Group. Enroll- ment demands at Des Moines Downtown School led to the establishment of a second campus on land owned by the City of Des Moines in 1996.33


        It is clear that public-private partnerships for the construction of schools can have amazing results. The opportunities for innovation and efficiency should not be overlooked by school district administrators

        in Washington. Whether a small elementary school in Eastern Washington is in need of an upgrade, or the Marysville School District decides to find a solution to overcrowding in Marysville-Pilchuck High School, there can be benefits for everyone in the community.

        • Public-private partnerships save taxpayers precious money.

        • Public-private projects are typically built in far less time than other projects.

        • Public-private partnerships allow parents the opportunity to be more involved in their child’s education, especially if the school is a partnership with the parent’s place of employ- ment.

        • Public-private projects can serve as both a school and a community center.

        • Public-private partnerships are a good solution to failed methods of traditional construction financing.

        • Public-private partnerships are an efficient way to reduce class size.

        • Public-private partnerships enhance the local economy.

          The list could go on. The examples presented in this report only touch the surface of the potential that public-private partnerships can have for schools around Washington. Consider the possibilities:

        • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport could establish a school for children of Sea-Tac employees.

        • A church in downtown Seattle could lease out its unused weekday space for educational purposes.

        • Tacoma Schools could save millions of dollars on the renovation of Stadium High School.


        • Provide state tax incentives in addition to those provided by the federal government to encourage the use of public-private partner- ships. Tax incentives can be designed to accommodate a variety of potential investors. Many businesses in Washington view the state’s tax structure as unfavorable to small business and big business alike. The state can offer an exemption on business and occupa- tion taxes or property taxes to businesses that

        engage in public-private partnerships. The state should view such incentives as tradeoffs for the educational results and savings yielded by public-private partnerships.

        • Remove any unnecessary regulations that

          impede the ability of school districts to innovate and find solutions to construction finance. The state of Florida has been the nation’s leader in public-private partnerships because it took away such regulations. As the governor and the legislature consider mean- ingful regulatory reform, school construction finance should be another area for a WAC- reduction exercise.

        • Enact a law allowing workplace schools that

          limit enrollment to the children of employees. Allowing this option for school establishment not only provides new schools in a cost effective manner, it provides businesses another bargaining chip to attract workers. As Washington faces the highest unemployment in the nation, opening the door to workplace schools can provide a much-needed boost for businesses.

        • Enact a law authorizing public-private partnerships. The state should leave no doubts about the full legality of alternative school construction. A possible model for legislation would be the 2002 Virginia law called the Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002 that authorizes private entities to acquire, design, construct, improve, renovate, expand, equip, maintain or operate qualifying projects after obtaining approval of a public entity that has the power to take such actions with respect to such projects.34

        As school districts search in vain for a better tradi- tional funding route, they may overlook key alternatives that will likely become the future of public school con- struction financing in the United States. Joint efforts by the public sector and private parties are an extraordi- nary investment for everyone involved.


        1. Kris Sherman and Debby Abe, “Doing well with less: South Sound area school districts face challenges in a time of shrinking budgets and swelling enrollments,” The News Tribune, 1 September 2002.

        2. Greater Philadelphia Regional Review, “Bad Grades for America’s Infrastructure,” On Point, Summer 2001,

          <>, 1.

        3. American Society of Civil Engineers, “Schools,” 2001 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, <http://>.

        4. Ibid.

        5. Ibid.

        6. Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, “State of disrepair,” Northwest Education Magazine, Summer 2001, < disrepair.html>.

        7. Peter Li Education Group, “2002 Construction Report: Regional Details,” School Planning and Management,

          < 2002regions.htm>, 12.

        8. Marty S. Daybell, “Minority Enrollment Summary for 2001-02 School Year,” OSPI, April 2002, <http://>.

        1. Rethinking School Impact Fees (Seattle: Washington Research Council, February 1995), 2.

        2. Ibid., 3.

        3. Sclater, Balbo, Laford, Bolden, Rivers, Gillmore, Moraites, Swift, “Resolution in support of stable Common School Construction funding sources,” 18 December 1995.

        4. Executive’s Task Force on School Construction Financing Alternatives, “Recommendations to King County Executive,” King County, 30 November 1998,

          < schoolreport.htm>.

        5. David Guhse, Innovative and Workable Ideas for

          Building Schools, (Springfield, Virginia: The Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy, October 2001), 10.

        6. Ronald D. Utt, New Tax Law Boosts School Construction with Public-Private Partnerships, (Washington, DC: Heritage Foundation, August 2001).

        7. “SPPRE: Creative, Realistic, Practical Results,” Stainback Public/Private Real Estate LLC, <http://>.

        8. Phil Bomersheim, Alternative School Financing Approaches (Richmond, Virginia: Commonwealth Competition Council, October 2001), 1.

        9. Guhse, 8.

        10. Ibid., 9.

        11. Ronald D. Utt, How Public-Private Partnerships Can Facilitate Public School Construction (Washington, DC: Heritage Foundation, February 1999).

        12. Guhse, 6.

        13. Bomersheim, 2.

        14. “Case Studies: James F. Oyster Bilingual Elementary School,” The National Council for Public-Private Partnerships, <>.

        15. Guhse, Workable Ideas for Building Schools, 9.

        16. For the Good of the People: Using Public-Private Partnerships to Meet America’s Essential Needs (Washing- ton, DC: The National Council for Public-Private Partnerships, 2002), < ncpppwhitepaper.pdf>, 10.

        17. Bomersheim, 3.

        18. Guhse, 8.

        19. Debbie Abe, “Seeing What Hides Inside Castle Walls: Experts pore over Stadium High to prepare for major remodel,” The News Tribune, 18 March 2002.

        20. Matthew D. Taylor and Lisa Snell, Innovative School Facility Partnerships: Downtown, Airport, and Retail Space, (Seattle: Washington Policy Center, December 2001).

        21. “ERC Programs: Northgate Mall,” Simon Youth Foundation, < SYFViewer?pn=erc_program&mid=0&rs=0&id=236>.

        22. Eddie Reed, “Making a Case for Innovative School Facility Partnerships: Seattle’s Mall Academy,” (Seattle: Washington Policy Center, December 2001).

        23. “Case Studies: Downtown Partnership Elementary School,” The National Council for Public-Private Partnerships, <>.

        24. Ibid.

        25. “Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002,” 2002 Va. Acts ch. 571 (Senate Bill 681). Summary and bill available from the Commonwealth Competition Council, <http://>.




        The origins of bilingual education date to the 1960’s, when Florida was flooded with Cuban refugees, most of them middle to upper class. These new immigrants fully intended to return to Cuba to restore freedom to their nation. Consequently, they considered themselves temporary residents of the United States and did not want their children to lose the ability to speak Spanish.

        The parents of the Spanish-speaking children lobbied Florida public schools successfully, with the result that the schools would not only be responsible to teach their children English, but also to preserve Spanish, their native language. The experiment was a success. The students learned English, kept Spanish, and performed well academi- cally in other subjects.

        Washington state law

        • The Washington Administrative Code, Chapter 392-160 and the Revised Code of Washington, Chapter 28A.180 outline the state’s transitional bilingual education program.

        • The Transitional Bilingual Instruction Act of 1979, amended in 1984, funds school district bilingual …programs for eligible students.

        • House Bill 1673, Jan 21, 1998, allows parents to decline placement of their child in the transitional bilingual education program.

        • E2SHB 2025, effective August 23, 2001, requires the Superin- tendent of Public Instruction to review when the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) is administered to limited-English-proficient students to determine if it is develop- mentally appropriate for them and to implement an evaluation system to measure increases and progress of LEP students in academic and English language skills.

        Senator Ralph Yarborough (D-Texas) saw the suc- cess of the Cuban refugees and championed the cause for other non-English speaking children who were do- ing poorly academically. In 1968, he helped pass the Bilingual Education Act, an amendment to Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.1 Yarborough said the goal was “not to keep any specific language alive. It is not the purpose of the bill to create pockets of different languages…but just to try to make those children fully literate in English.”2 This created a relatively small $7.5 million dollar program of educa- tion for Hispanic students in the Southwest, where school districts were awarded grants by the U.S. De- partment of Education to try new bilingual education methods. In later acts the Office of

        Civil Rights (OCR) and the Office of Bilin- gual Education and Minority Language Af- fairs (OBEMLA) were created.

        Six years later, in 1974, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Lau vs. Nichols3 that, for lim- ited-English-proficient (LEP) students, iden- tical education is not equal education. In other words, being given the same text, same teacher, and same classroom as other students does not necessarily constitute a meaningful edu- cation. The high court determined that any student entering school speaking a language other than English has the right to a mean- ingful education.

        The Supreme Court, however, did not de- fine meaningful, nor did the justices provide

        any certain remedies. They did indicate stu- dents could be taught in their native languages while they learn English or could be given intensive instruction in and extra help with English. But determining specific steps to take was left to the lower court.

        Principal instructional models for LEP students

        Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE): Students are taught to read and write and do subject matter in their native tongue. English is taught for a small portion of the day and, over a period of years, instructional time in English is increased.

        English as a Second Language (ESL): Students participate in regular classrooms with a pull-out period for English language instruction.

        Structured immersion: Self-contained classrooms of LEP children learn English and subject matter simultaneously, but subject matter is introduced only as English comprehension allows.

        Submersion: Sometimes called sink-or-swim, students are placed in English-only classrooms and receive no special language or subject matter instruction.

        In response to the 1974 Supreme Court ruling in Lau vs. Nichols, OCR created the “Lau remedies” which insisted transitional bi- lingual education (TBE) was the best—if not the only approach—to teaching limited-En- glish-proficient students. In succeeding years, the selection of the TBE model and its effec- tiveness has become controversial. As re- searcher Sheldon Richman states in his review of TBE, “This approach was chosen without public discussion and without research to back it up. In the years since the 1974 ruling, in

        spite of a lack of conclusive research supporting such actions, the federal government has consistently favored TBE programs by channeling funding in their direc- tion ”4

        In 1988, a three-year limit was placed on student participation in TBE and alternative programs, except under special circumstances.

        A look at Washington state

        In the school year 1999-2000, according to the Su- perintendent of Public Instruction’s 2000 Report: Edu- cating Limited-English-Proficient Students in Washington State,5 66,281 students were served by the transitional









        86- 87- 88- 89- 90- 91- 92- 93- 94- 95- 96- 97- 98- 99-

        87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00


        Figure BL-1: Percentage of LEP students statewide. Source: Educating Limited-English-Proficient Students in Washington State, OSPI Report,

        December 2000

        bilingual education (TBE) program. To be eligible for this program a student must 1) use a language other than English to communicate in the home and 2) lack the necessary English skills to survive in a mainstream classroom without special services. Such students are known as limited-English-proficient (LEP).

        for this increase may be attributed to higher birth- rates among minority groups, higher levels of im- migration, an increase in districts with approved TBE programs, and a higher rate of LEP students entering than exiting the TBE program. For ex- ample, in 1999-2000, 20,545 students entered the TBE program while 16,474 exited the pro- gram: a net difference of 4,171 students.

        Transitional bilingual education programs exist in 185 of Washington’s 296 school districts. These 185 districts represent 63 percent of total districts and enroll over 95 percent of the total student population.

        • 19 districts have a TBE program whose LEP students represent at least 25 percent of the student body.

        • 19 districts have a TBE program serving more than 20 languages.

        • 56 districts have a TBE program whose LEP students are at least 95 percent Spanish- speaking.

        • 20 districts have a TBE program that serves at least 1000 LEP students.

        Students in the TBE program make up 6.7 percent of Washington’s total student population. Of these LEP students (half of which are in grades K-3) 52.8% are males and 47.2% are females—a proportion that has remained fairly constant for the past 15 years.6 As can be seen in Figure BL-1, the percentage of LEP students has continuously increased since 1986. The Superinten- dent of Public Instruction (SPI) speculates that reasons




        Total LEP Students New LEP Students




        K 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

        Grade levels

        Fifty percent of all LEP students are in grades K-3. In school year 1999-2000, kindergarteners represented

          1. percent of the new LEP population. The percent- age of LEP students gradually declines after first grade. However, in 9th grade, there is an increase in the num- ber of new and total LEP students.7 Figure BL-2


            One program administrator in Grandview attributes the re-entry of LEP students who have previously been served by the TBE program to insufficient language preparation in elementary school and a more challeng- ing curriculum in high school.8


            A total of 159 primary, non-English languages were represented among the students served by the program in school year 1999-2000. Some districts could not identify the names of the languages spoken by their LEP students, so more than 159 languages may exist.9 Fig- ure BL-3 shows the most common languages.

            A majority (61%) of LEP students in Washington speak Spanish. Nationwide, seventy-five percent of the United States’ LEP students speak Spanish. Figure BL-

  1. shows a steady increase in Spanish-speaking LEP stu-

Figure BL-2: LEP students by grade, 1999-2000. Source: Educating dents in Washington.

Limited-English-Proficient Students in Washington State, OSPI

Report, December 2000

Tagalog Cambodian

Korean Ukrainian

Vietnamese Russian Spanish

0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45

Student Enrollment (Thousands)



Students (Thousands)

Figure BL-3 Languages of LEP students. Source: Educating Limited- English-Proficient Students in Washington State, OSPI Report, December 2000












Other Languages








Figure BL-4 Spanish-speaking students. Source: Educating Limited-English-Proficient Students in Washington State, OSPI Report, December 2000

Entrance and exit criteria

Entrance. To be eligible to participate in the TBE program, a school district determines that a student’s primary language is not English and that the student is unable to communicate in English “to any practical ex- tent” (WAC 392-160-015). The student’s inability to communicate is determined in an interview with ap- propriate school district staff. If the interviewer deter- mines that the student is eligible for TBE, no other test is needed. However, if a student’s eligibility isn’t appar- ent in an interview, then s/he must score below a mini- mum level on an oral proficiency test administered by the district. According to the OSPI, most districts use the Language Assessment Scales (LAS), or Pre-LAS oral proficiency tests. The bilingual advisory committee, at the time of publication of its 2000 report, was studying assess- ments to recommend that only one be used statewide.10

Exit. A student must be reassessed annually to con- tinue in the TBE program. To exit, a student must score above the 35th percentile in the reading and language arts portions of an approved normed written test. The tests taken in Washington are the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) and the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL). Once a student scores above the 35th percentile, s/he must exit the TBE program.11

New Legislation. New state legislation (HB 2025),

effective August 23, 2001, requires the OSPI to review the criteria determining when LEP students are required to take the WASL. Currently, all students take the WASL in grades 4, 7, and 10, and the test scores of LEP stu- dents are included with all district scores when they are reported to the state.

According to HB 2025, the review by the OSPI shall determine if the testing criteria are “developmentally appropriate for students.” The OSPI is also to develop an evaluation tool to measure increases and progress in the academic and English proficiency of LEP students. The legislation further states that districts are to as-

sess potential LEP students within 10 days of school reg-

istration using state-approved tests, reporting results to the OSPI.12 Previously, districts were required to estab- lish eligibility within 20 days after a student began at- tendance in a school district.

HB 2025 also states that districts shall annually as- sess LEP students at the end of the school year, reporting results to the SPI. Districts used to evaluate LEP stu- dents annually “before the conclusion of each school year” to measure improvement in learning the English language and overall academic progress, an evaluation that must include a standardized test in reading and lan- guage arts (RCW 28A.180.040, WAC 392-160-015).

The new addition to this portion of the law seems to be that districts must test students at the end of the school year and must report test results to the OSPI.

In summary, the effects of HB 2025:

More than 3 years


Less than 1 year


2-3 years


1-2 years


Figure BL-8 TBE students by time in program. Source: Educating Limited-English-Proficient Students in Washington State, OSPI Report, December 2000

aspects of the program are beneficial to students and which are not. However, an improved system has been in the works for the past two years and should be finished in 2002. Without access to more detailed data, accurate analysis cannot be completed.

James Cummins first wrote about the facilitation theory in 1978. It has two parts:

  1. The threshold hypothesis states that an LEP child must attain a high level of ability in the native language before transitioning completely to English to avoid cognitive disadvantages.

    According to Rossell and Baker, the theory is vague regarding the exact level of proficiency in the native lan- guage that meets the required threshold where complete English instruction may begin without damaging the child. The writings of Cummins imply that it takes up to seven years before the threshold is attained.19 If TBE is implemented according to the facilitation theory, a child would be taught in his or her native language for up to seven years before transitioning fully to English instruction. Why? Not to become bilingual, but to avoid theoretical and unproven cognitive disadvantages. Kenji Hakuta, a researcher and supporter of bilingual educa- tion, admits that there are no known links between cog- nitive ability and bilingualism.20

  2. The developmental interdependence hypoth- esis states that acquisition of a second language (En- glish) is facilitated by reading skills already developed in the first language.

Certainly, an immigrant child with a higher level of education from his or her home country will initially acquire English at a faster rate than a child of the same age with less education. Knowing this, should we then educate Joaquin in Span-


ish—pretending that he is still in Nicaragua—so that

A serious flaw of the facilitation theory is the lack of attention it gives to languages that are not based on the Roman alphabet and that have no similarity to En- glish. For children from such a language background, it may very well be more difficult to learn to read in the native language than in English. Rossell and Baker found no non-Roman-alphabet bilingual programs in the United States that taught initial literacy in the native language.

Rossell and Baker, whose breadth of work analyz- ing bilingual programs research surpasses most, sum- marize findings on the facilitation theory by stating that it “has been overwhelmingly accepted by educators in bilingual education as a proven fact and as the explana- tion for TBE’s superiority to all other second language acquisition techniques, even though more than 15 years of research and literally thousands of studies have con- firmed neither the theory nor the predicted effective- ness of bilingual education programs.”22

In fact, two important studies suggest that the threshold hypothesis may work in reverse, meaning that a certain level of English ability needs to be achieved, not native language ability, before instruction in En- glish is consistently superior to native language instruc- tion.23

Regarding literacy and the facilitation theory, a re- view of additional research is necessary. For now, suffice it to say that bilingual education research shows that

his eventual transition to English will hopefully be easier than for an illiterate child? Since it takes 3-4 years to acquire literacy in Roman-alphabet lan- guages, he will not com- pletely acquire English literacy until 5-7 years af- ter bilingual instruction begins.21Assuming Joaquin enters school in 1st grade, he will not start learning to read in English (optimisti- cally) until third or fourth grade, and won’t have ba- sic reading skills in English until sixth or seventh grade.
























North F

Figure LP-9 Percent of students in TBE >3 years, Districts with at least 25% LEP. Source:

Educating Limited-English-Proficient Students in Washington State, OSPI Report, December 2000

teaching students to read and write in their native lan- guage is at least “marginally detrimental to overall edu- cation and acquisition of English.”24 It is not necessary for students to learn to read in a native language before doing so in English.25 In fact, it is not only unnecessary, but teaching literacy in English first has no ill effects.26 It is extremely important to note that a child’s reading level in 1st grade is a predictor of reading achievement into high school.27

Kenji Hakuta, in Mirror of Language, concludes:

There is a sober truth that even the ardent advocate of bilingual education would not deny. Evaluation studies of the effectiveness of bilingual education in improving either English or math scores have not been over- whelmingly in favor of bilingual education

. . .. An awkward tension blankets the lack of empirical demonstration of the success of bilingual education programs. Someone promised bacon, but it’s not there.28

It takes time!

One year is not enough time to learn English, claim supporters of bilingual education. Hakuta, Butler, and Witt write about oral and academic proficiency, con- cluding — along the same lines as the facilitation theory

Washington state’s goals

The stated goal of transitional bilingual education in Washington state is to develop competent and ad- equate English language skills—a worthy goal. The means set by the state to achieve that goal, however, have proven unrealistic and seemingly impossible.

Let’s take a quick look at Washington’s statistics again: at least 159 languages; 66,281 limited-English- proficient students; only 45 percent of teachers teach- ing LEP students have ESL certification, 17 percent have bilingual certification (some have both); between 1995 and 2000, a mere 8.1 percent (average) of LEP students were transitioned out of the program into mainstream classes. These statistics paint a picture of a troubled TBE program.

Superintendent Terri Bergeson believes the locus of the problem is non-native language instruction, stating:

The problem is, most LEP students in Wash- ington receive little or no instruction in their primary language. The lack of qualified teachers who speak other languages and the sheer number of different languages spoken

by students limit schools’ ability to provide comprehensive instruction in both English and the primary language.

However, if one agrees with Superintendent Bergeson’s analysis of the problem, to remedy the teacher shortage so all LEP students can be taught in their pri- mary language requires funding and recruitment on a massive scale. Currently, an estimated 20.1 percent of LEP students are educated in a program that utilizes the native language for instruc-

“Thepurposeofthe programistoprovide temporaryservicesfor uptothreeyearsuntil limited-English- proficientstudents candevelopadequate Englishlanguage skills.Thus, instructionisprovided ina‘transitional’ program.”

–SPI report, p. 31

tion; 68 percent are edu- cated primarily in an English as a Second Lan- guage (ESL) program; and

11.7 percent are in an un- known type of program.34 It is clear that most students are not being educated ac- cording to the goals of the TBE program: they are not transitioning within three years, and the majority are not even in what could be labeled transitional bilingual education.

The Colorado Depart- ment of Education’s Hand- book on Planning for LEP Student Success cites four conditions to place on the goals for LEP students:39


This is a state with 1.4 million LEP students as of school year 1999-2000,52 representing about 50 percent of the nation’s LEP population, 82 percent of whom speak Spanish. Understandably, California has been the focal point of dramatic changes in bilingual education. Frustrated with bilingual programs that didn’t deliver what they promised, California voters passed Proposi- tion 227 in June 1998 requiring that all LEP students be educated through structured English immersion with the firm goal of mainstreaming after one year. Students can be placed in a bilingual program by receiving a pa- rental waiver.

Some of the consequences of this change are as fol- lows:53

California will be closely monitored to see how LEP students are fairing in school systems that implement English immersion. So far, the harsh criticism of wide- spread English immersion—which predicted harm and failure for California’s 1.5 million LEP students—has not been proven accurate.


Voters in 2002 will choose whether or not to re- place bilingual education with a one-year immersion program. Last year a similar proposal was challenged by a court and taken off the ballot.54 The latest petition would require schools to implement a one-year English immersion program unless parents choose otherwise.


After twenty years of mandatory placement in bi- lingual education, schools must now seek parental con- sent before enrolling students in bilingual programs. Public Act 99-211, An Act Improving Bilingual Educa- tion, went into effect in the Fall of 2000. Connecticut has well over 19,000 LEP students, about 3.6 percent of the student population.55


Massachusetts has more than 122,000 LEP students (over 13 percent of the student population).56 On July 31, 2001, a ballot initiative similar to those in Califor- nia, Colorado, and Arizona was launched on the front steps of the Statehouse in Boston. Thirty years ago, Mas- sachusetts was the first state to establish a mandate for

bilingual education. Now, many education leaders—who themselves taught in the bilingual system and have be- come disenchanted with it—are lobbying for change with the English for the Children campaign. Support- ers hope the initiative will be on the 2002 ballot.57

New York, NY

As one writer for the New York Times put it, “Over the last 25 years, bilingual programs at many schools have become foreign-language ghettos from which many children never escape.”58 The New York City Board of Education enacted a policy in March, 2001, suppos- edly overhauling the bilingual education program with a 7-to-0 vote. The purpose: to expose more LEP stu- dents to English during the school day. It gives parents the right to choose whether their child will be educated in new classes that emphasize instruction in English, or to remain in classes with native language instruction.

Previously, about half of the 176,000 students en- rolled in the bilingual program participated in ESL classes (subjects are taught in English). The rest of the bilingual students received some instruction in English but other courses—such as math and social studies— were taught mainly in their native languages. Parents will now be given several choices ranging from tradi- tional bilingual to virtually full-time English immersion, with the goal of moving students into mainstream classes as quickly as possible. Speculation exists as to how many changes will actually be enacted due to funding con- flicts.

March 2001 also began the first phase of Saturday school classes: 34,000 children were invited to partici- pate, 16,000 of whom were offered English classes if they had been in bilingual or ESL classes for more than three years.59


Two competing theories exist when it comes to bi- lingual education models:

Each is either accused of linguicide and cultural imperialism, or ethnic separatism and self-interest.60 Re- search can be found to support both of these conflicting theories, however, relatively few studies are methodologi- cally sound.

Is one year enough?

This is quickly becoming the most asked question regarding LEP students. Before answering the question, it must first be expanded. Is one year enough to become as fluent as a native English speaker? Not usually. Is one year enough to participate in mainstream classes with native English speakers? Usually.61

Rossell points out that research focuses on how long until a student is fluent, not on how long a student needs services.62 Predictions of three to seven years until flu- ency is achieved do not mean that a student must be in TBE classes the entire time.

In fact, a look at the methods used to educate im- migrant children in other Western democracies (France, Germany, Australia, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Switzerland) will prove insightful. Two types of programs have been implemented. The first is a one-year reception class, where newcomers intensively study the language of the school for one year (two if necessary) and then are integrated into regular classes with ongoing support as needed. Kindergarteners are placed directly into a mainstream classroom, and older students’ previous education is assessed for the best place- ment so classes will continue in subjects previously learned.63 Accountability for results is essential to the effectiveness of such an approach.64

The second program offers students the opportu- nity to voluntarily continue development of their na- tive language as an elective, sometimes after school.

The goal of both of these programs is to integrate immigrant students as quickly as possible into the main- stream while supporting native language development. One-year immersion programs are also found in the U.S., although they do not all carry the same label. In The ABC’s of English Immersion: A teacher’s guide, Rossell lists many cities across America with “newcomer”

schools, and quotes a description of them:

The newcomer schools in our sample are impressive places: In their clear sense of mission, innovative curricula, professional teaching staff, and links to the larger com- munity, they represent the kinds of schools to which all children, immigrant and native born, should have access…. The newcomer schools in our sample are all self-contained programs that students attend full-time for one or two semesters, and all but the Los Angeles high school operate in physically separate locations. However, there are a

variety of other newcomer models, includ- ing ones that students attend for half the day and then spend the remainder of the day in mainstream classes.65

Researchfocuseson howlonguntila studentisfluent,not onhowlongastudent needsservices

Rossell concludes by addressing why California’s Proposition 227 limits to one year the time a student can be placed in a separate below-grade level classroom: not because anyone thinks non-English speaking chil- dren will have mastered English in one year, but be- cause evidence suggests that sometime during their first year, immigrant children

will understand enough English so that they will be better off in a grade-level mainstream classroom than in a remedial class- room.66

In addition, the school year is packed with subject material students must learn. Stressing maintenance

of the native language or balanced bilingualism distracts from instruction that produces improved English ability.67 The fact of the matter is that when a new subject such as native language maintenance is added, a trade-off is made between English language instruction or subject matter. Beneath all the rhetoric remains the fact that students can understand and function effectively in English long before they have achieved parity.68


An essential, but disappointingly undefined and inaccurate area of bilingual education is the assessment of LEP students. English proficiency tests and standard- ized achievement tests are both used to assess fluency in the English language. However, determining fluency based on these tests is inaccurate because the tests can- not separate fluency from academic ability. In other words, a wrong answer may be wrong for one of two reasons: either the student didn’t know the answer (aca- demics), or they couldn’t understand the question (lan- guage fluency). In addition, standardized tests are designed on a bell curve so that 35 percent of students taking a test—even if they are fluent English speakers— will score at or below the 35th percentile.

With these odds, one can see why it could be very hard to test out of the TBE program. Another strike against the likelihood of testing out of the program is that students with lower socioeconomic status score

significantly lower on achievement tests, and immigrant children tend to be a high poverty group.69 In Washing- ton, 49.3 percent of LEP students were served by Title I in the 1999-2000 school year. Also, if the percentage of LEP students in a school district rises above 15 percent, the level of students meeting Math and Reading stan- dards decreases below the state average. Districts with higher levels of LEP students have a higher percentage of low-income students and lower achievement test scores.70 See Figures BL-10, BL-11.


Percent meeting standard

It is no wonder that 40 percent of our state’s LEP students stagnate in segregated classes when the state requires a test score above the 35th percentile on an achievement test to exit the TBE program, a score which












Math 4th grade

Math 7th grade

District percent of LEP students











>10 & >15 & >20 & >25

>5 &


State <=5

Percent Meeting Standard

Figure BL-10 District math scores by percent of LEP students. Source: Educating Limited-English-Proficient Students in Washington State, OSPI Report, December 2000



Reading 4th grade

Reading 7th grade

District percent of LEP students




>10 & >15 & >20 & >25

>5 &


State <=5

Figure BL-11 District reading scores by percent of LEP students. Source: Educating Limited-English-Proficient Students in Washington State, OSPI Report, December 2000

35 percent of fluent-English students taking the test would not achieve.

Proficiency Tests

Proficiency tests fare no better than achievement tests. Rossell verifies that all English proficiency tests, whether oral or written, are known to be (1) unreliable— the same outcome cammpt be attaomed in subsequent tests of the same child; and (2) invalid—they do not accurately determine who is LEP.71

Defining proficiency itself is no easy task, as evi- denced by a recent study for the U.S. Department of Education by Hakuta, Butler, and Witt, which found no agreement as to what proficiency is, concurring with a previous report by the National Institute of Educa- tion for the U.S. Department of Education, and verify- ing Rossell and Baker’s conclusion that, “Language proficiency is one of the most poorly defined concepts in the field of language education.”72

To test the reliability and validity of proficiency tests, the same proficiency test that is predominantly used in Washington State—the LAS—was administered to above average, monolingual English-speaking children in Chicago. It misclassified nearly 50 percent of them as LEP. The study also showed an intriguing trend: 78 per- cent of the English-speaking five-year olds, but only 25 percent of the 14 year olds, were classified as LEP.73 It is interesting to compare this finding to the distribution of LEP students across grade levels in Washington state, with 50 percent of LEP students enrolled in grades K-3.

A similar study in 1984, by the U.S. Department of Education, administered the Language Measurement and Assessment Instrument (LMAI) to a “nationally rep- resentative sample of monolingual English speaking school-aged children. The test classified 42 percent of them as LEP,”74 even though each child spoke only English.

The basic flaw is this: Neither standardized achieve-

ment tests nor proficiency tests can tell the difference be- tween a student who does not know English and a student who does not know the answer.75 Indeed, students classi- fied as LEP also may score as non-proficient in their native language because the tests do not measure flu- ency alone, but also academic ability.76

Sharon Duncan and Edward De Avila studied lan- guage proficiency among Hispanic students in Califor- nia in 1979. A majority (54) of the 101 students classified by the LAS as limited or non-English proficient were also classified as limited or non-Spanish proficient by

the Spanish LAS. Of the total 96 students classified as LEP, fewer than half (42) were considered proficient Spanish speakers according to their Spanish test score.77 Another study by Heidi Dulay and Marina Burt in 1980 found that in a sample of California school districts, “only half the Hispanic students identified as LEP…were more fluent in Spanish than they were in English. In one school district, almost 40 percent of the Hispanic LEP children spoke no Spanish at all.”78

The American Institutes for Research (AIR) national evaluation of Title VII programs (containing The Bilin- gual Education Act) found that “less than one-third of the students in Title VII classrooms were there because of their need for English instruction as judged by their class- room teacher. Only 16 percent were monolingual Span- ish speakers. When asked what happens to the Spanish-dominant child after he or she is able to func- tion in English, 86 percent of the project directors re- ported that the child remained in the bilingual project. [Emphasis added.]”79

Teacher judgment

Standardized tests for LEP students were intended to replace teacher judgment. Many studies have been conducted comparing teacher ratings with achievement and proficiency test data. They show the inaccuracy of the latter and the accuracy of teacher judgment in pre- dicting both language proficiency and academic achieve- ment. Indeed, a survey conducted in 1979 by the Southwest Regional Laboratory for Educational Research and Devel- opment found the experience of users of these tests to be less than satisfying:

They expressed little confidence in the tests. Generally users felt that teacher judgment was more likely to be a valid measure of both language proficiency and capability of suc- ceeding in an all-English-medium classroom than any test that they had been using. How- ever, project staff had continued to employ the tests in the entry/exit process in order to satisfy state or federal regulations or to give the appearance of objectivity in project de- cision making. 80

A 1989 study by Nancy Russell and Alba Ortiz spe- cifically analyzed the Language Assessment Scales (LAS). They found that the LAS predicted language compe- tence neither in spontaneous conversations nor in read- ing achievement. Rather, the best predictor of reading achievement was the teacher’s rating of language proficiency.

They concluded: “the LAS and the Pre-LAS…are of lim- ited value in making placement decisions or planning educational programs for LEP students.”81

Washington state law allows teachers to assess stu- dents for TBE eligibility by first conducting an in- terview with the child, an excellent step toward eliminating misclassifica-

Neitherstandardized achievementtestsnor proficiencytestscan tellthedifference betweenastudent whodoesnotknow Englishandastudent whodoesnotknow theanswer.

tion—if the interview is conducted by a trained and experienced ESL or bilin- gual teacher. However, based on Washington’s philosophy of transitional bilingual education, stu- dents who speak English most commonly but are classified as LEP may be taught to read in Spanish (or any other language) on the basis that this will help them learn English.82


Opponents of transitional bilingual educationcontend that it relegates students to years of classroom instruction that is below grade level and that it inhibits LEP students from participating in school life with their English-speaking peers.

One must ask the question: If Rosa learns to read first in Spanish, when does she switch to English? Once she learns to read in English, when does she stop at- tending classes taught in Spanish and instead attends classes with the rest of the student body? At some point along the continuum of her educational career, English instruction must replace Spanish instruction. But de- laying such a switch makes it more difficult as concepts and vocabulary become increasingly complicated in each grade level.

Early literacy development is extremely important because, as research shows, a child’s reading level in first grade is a surprisingly accurate predictor of reading achievement into high school.84 In “When Older Stu- dents Can’t Read,” Louisa Moats describes the common characteristics of poor readers and effective, intensive research-based instruction that will overcome—within one to two years—the gap between poor readers and their grade-level peers. Moats asserts that “reading fail- ure begins early, takes root quickly, and affects students for life.” Over time, the effects of poor reading skills

spread like a cancer affecting comprehension, spelling, writing, and even speaking skills.85

Rossell and Baker, summing up research findings

It’safallacythatchildren cannotspeakorwritein Englishbythetimethat theyleavekindergarten. Wearelivingproof.When theyleave,theyhavethe foundationnecessaryto beginthefirstgrade.

Somemakethetransition toanEnglish-speaking class.Italldependson thechild.

–Mrs. Urove-Martinez, teacher at P.S. 83 in New York City, speaking about students who enter kindergarten un- able to speak English.83

from across the coun- try, find that teaching LEP students to read and write in their na- tive language is at least marginally detrimental to their ability to suc- ceed in school and their ability to acquire English.86 In addition, it is certainly not nec- essary for an LEP child to learn to read first in his or her native lan- guage.87

Various programs have successfully taught LEP students to read in English first. The Success for All reading program for third graders teaches all children equally with the goal that each child will leave third grade reading at or above

grade level.88 Herein lies the magic to this program’s suc- cess: it caters to no culture but instead focuses on effec- tively challenging students in a way that enables them to succeed. Children from low-literacy homes can learn to read in a second language when given quality instruc- tion.

Other programs are reporting success in teaching elementary-aged LEP students to read in English. Oceanside School District’s LEP student test scores in- creased tremendously after eliminating bilingual educa- tion and implementing a phonics-based reading program instead of a whole language approach.89 When working with LEP students, phonics works better than whole language. “Direct instruction in phonics and other ‘pro- cessing’ skills is more important for these children than it is for middle-class English monolingual children.”90

Still other research further negates the belief that students must be taught first in the native language. Three pertinent conclusions regarding the education of LEP students can be drawn from a 1997 National

Research Council (NRC) study.91 The fact that these findings come from pro-bilingual authors makes them all the more remarkable:

  1. There is no positive or negative effect from teaching in the native language

  2. Teaching to read English first is not damaging

  3. Emphasizing cultural and ethnic differences is not helpful

Opinion surveys: what parents want

Educators, parents, and researchers across this nation testify that an invaluable element of a child’s education is the involvement of his or her parents. With that in mind, a look at what language minority parents desire for the education of their children is fitting. A review of opin- ion surveys conducted since the 1980’s was compiled by Rossell and Baker.92 Their conclusions are insightful and intriguing.

First, it must be said that support for native lan- guage instruction varies among minority groups. Asian parents tend to be less supportive of native language instruction than are Hispanic parents. Also, most par- ents often support both continued native language in- struction and all-English instruction at the same time—two mutually exclusive options.

One survey of great importance was contracted by the U.S. Department of Education to the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in 1988.93 The survey elicited lan- guage minority parents’ opinions of bilingual education programs. What is apparent from the results is that fa- voritism toward bilingual education varies depending on the question asked, from over 80 percent to less than 1 percent. For example, 70 percent of parents said they wanted the school to teach literacy in both languages. But only 12 percent of Mexican-American parents wanted Spanish taught in school if it meant less time for teaching English. No more than 22 percent were willing to give up art or music to have their child taught the native language. Rossell and Baker assert that “at a minimum, 42 to 52 percent of Mexican-American par- ents wanted no reduction in English or any other sub- ject in order to include Spanish, and they wanted the schools to teach literacy in both languages!”


What many parents don’t automatically consider is that there is a trade-off. Adding a second language to the curriculum means that the use of English at school will decline. Parents forget that adding another subject

to the school day usually means that something else must be subtracted. When parents are not specifically asked if they are willing to give up English language instruction or subjects taught in English to have their child learn a native language, survey results change dramatically.

Rossell and Baker show that polls about bilingual education “overestimate support for native tongue in- struction” because “when the trade-off question is asked support plummets about 60 points.” When it is not asked, parents often support mutually exclusive alternatives.94

It may very well be, according to Rossell and Baker’s review of the surveys, that bilingual education is not an issue of importance to language minority parents. This is inferred from responses to a non-directive 95 question from the ETS survey, asking parents to rank the three most important things they wanted their child to learn at school. Teaching the non-English language came to the minds of only 4 to 10 percent of the parents, and almost no one mentioned teaching ethnic heritage.

In answer to another question, almost 98 percent of language minority parents said that learning English was very important, and fewer than half the parents thought that the school had the primary responsibility to teach literacy in the native language.

Rossell and Baker conclude:


Learning academic subjects like math,

history, & science

Learning to read, w rite & speak English

Some of the support shown for bilingual education reflects general support for any special program for language minority chil- dren . . . although more parents surveyed support English language programs for LEP students than support native language pro- grams for LEP students, the differences in support are not large. Support for bilingual education programs is undoubtedly inflated by the fact that parents do not completely understand what they are beyond the fact that they are special help programs for LEP children.96

CEO Survey


The Center for Equal Opportunity commis- sioned a national survey in 1996 97 to discern what Hispanic parents want their LEP children to learn. For part of the survey participants were asked to rank a list of five educational goals according to which was most important, second most impor- tant, etc. The results can be seen in Figure BL-12,

ranked as second most important with 25.5 percent of the votes, behind learning academic subjects (30.7 percent).

Another question on the survey provided evidence about the educational priorities of parents not by ask- ing which is most important, but by asking which should come first. “In your opinion, should children of His- panic background, living in the United States, be taught to read and write Spanish before they are taught En- glish, or should they be taught English as soon as pos- sible?” Over 60 percent favored teaching English first. Figure BL-13.

It is interesting to note that a higher percentage of parents interviewed in English (81.4 percent) favor teach- ing English as soon as possible compared to a smaller majority (59.2 percent) of those interviewed in Span- ish. As the survey reports, “Intensity on this issue varies directly with educational level. The higher the educa- tional level of the respondent, the more likely it is that he or she will prefer that English be taught as soon as possible. A similar pattern prevails with respect to the length of time respondents have lived in the United States.” The longer immigrants have lived here, the more likely they are to favor English being taught as soon as possible, especially among Cuban-Hispanics who favor English first by 70 percent.

A final question dealt with the trade-off issue of preserving Spanish versus less time learning English:

In general, which of the following comes closest to your opinion?

  1. My child should be taught his/her academic courses in Spanish, even if it means he/she



    Learning to read, w rite & speak

    Spanish 11.0%

    Learning about Hispanic culture 4.3% Learning extras like music, arts, & 3.7%


    0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60%

    showing that parents label as most important En- glish and academic subjects. Learning Spanish is

    Figure BL-12 Hispanic parents ranking each goal “Most Important.”

    Source: The Importance of Learning English, A National Survey of Hispanic Parents, commissioned by Center for Equal Opportunity

    will spend less time learning English (12.2 percent)

  2. My child should be taught his/her academic courses in English, because he/she will spend more time learning English (81.3 percent)

  3. Unsure (6.5 percent)

    The implications of this and other surveys clearly demonstrate that parents may want their children to learn native language skills, but not usually at the expense of learning to read, write, and speak English or before stu- dents learn these skills in English.

    Program evaluation

    Washington’s Superintendent of Public Instruction has come to some general conclusions about the state of the current TBE program. A bilingual advisory com- mittee is exploring the possibility of:


    Of these three projects, the latter is the most critical for determining future direction of the program. The current data collection system allows for almost no com- parisons to be made that would quantitatively deter- mine how effective the program is for certain language groups, districts, socioeconomic groups, etc. Accord- ing to Helen Malagon, state supervisor of bilingual

    Not sure


    Same time


    English as soon as possible


    Spanish before English


    Figure BL-13 How soon should Hispanic children be taught English? Source: The Importance of Learning English, A National Survey of Hispanic Parents, commissioned by Center for Equal Opportunity

    education, for the past two years, the Bilingual Educa- tion Office has been working on creating a new method of collecting data. In addition, the state auditor is exam- ining a sample of districts to determine if students are being transitioned out of the TBE program properly.99 For LEP students in Washington, results speak louder than good intentions, and the results don’t show that TBE is working: 40 percent of LEP students stag- nate in the program for more than three years. Transi- tional bilingual instruction is an unnecessary waste of money in a state where 159 languages are represented. Nationally, transitional bilingual education most usu- ally means “transitional Spanish to English education.” Although it is difficult to ascertain exactly from the district data collected, it appears that a majority of LEP students are educated in an ESL program. Something is wrong, however, when 40 percent of those students re- main in the program for more than three years. Of course, there is no telling what kind of special assistance the students are receiving—if they are mainstreamed with pull-in or pull-out programs, if they really can’t speak English at all or if they are simply receiving minimal help, such as tutoring outside of school or within the


    Culture war: Priorities

    The Washington OSPI declares that, “Schools need to provide LEP students with cognitively complex aca- demic instruction through their first language for as long as possible.”100 Instruction in English would then be pro- vided for part of the school day in increasing amounts as fluency increases.

    The claim that LEP students need to be taught in

    their native language as long as possible is unproven by accurate research and demonstrates a stubborn adher- ence to theories that were created to support the bilin- gual education laws decades ago. One could say that we are involved in a cultural war, as many bilingual educa- tors are more concerned with cultural and linguistic maintenance than with the educational achievement of language learners.

    The great tragedy is that the casualties of such a war are the futures of LEP students who are left sitting in native language classes. A line has been drawn in the sand, and the ideology of each side could be defined as believing either that native language instruction is nec- essary to guard language fluency at any cost, or that na- tive language should be used only as a support while English is prioritized to achieve complete participation

    in an English speaking education system and society. From opinion surveys of parents, it is obvious that their educational desires for their children line up with the second set of priorities.

    Elements of successful programs

    As the OSPI report recommends, focusing on pro- gram labels (since programs with the same name, such as TBE, vary widely in practice) is less helpful than iden- tifying effective methods of educating LEP students at the school, district, state, and classroom levels. That is precisely what we hoped would have occurred by now, given the decades that the TBE program has existed in Washington state. Washington does not differ much from the national scene where bilingual education has provided little accurate research, much failure for those it was intended to help, and a stubborn ignorance of the need for change. Thankfully, to create successful pro- grams we need not start from scratch, since researchers have identified common characteristics of successful bilingual and immersion programs.101 They include:

    1. Some native-language instruction, especially initially when a student knows no English.

    2. English instruction is phased in relatively early and the native language is then used only to clarify instructions.102

    3. Content areas such as math, social studies, and science are taught in English.

    4. 80 percent of class time is used for academic learning tasks.

    5. Specially trained teachers to instruct English language learners.

    6. High expectations of LEP students’ ability to achieve the same high standards that are expected from native English speakers.

Integration and Communication

Two more elements could be added to the list: (1) early and consistent integration with native English speakers.103 (2) Constant communication between teach- ers about LEP students. ESL/TBE teachers need to know of problem areas in the regular classroom to provide the best assistance to LEP students, and to tackle areas of confusion or misunderstanding before they become major hindrances to comprehension.104

Plan for Newcomers

Washington state’s LEP students tend to be a mi- gratory population, as evidenced by the monthly aver- age of LEP students (55,651) compared to the total LEP students served (66,281). 19.7 percent (13,058) are

federally funded by the Title I Migrant Education pro- gram. To better deal with this, school districts should plan for the needs of newcomers and design strategies to meet their needs so new students don’t hold back the class. The European model of one-year reception classes for newcomers is a recommended example of effective integration of immigrant students.

Teacher training

Returning to the previously listed characteristics of successful programs, number four is: teachers who are appropriately trained to teach LEP students. Washing- ton state has much room to improve as far as training is concerned. Of teachers providing instruction to LEP students in school year 1999-2000, 45 percent had an ESL endorsement and 17 percent had a bilingual en- dorsement. Only fifty-two percent of the 185 school districts with LEP students provided in-service training for teachers on ESL and bilingual education, and 64 percent of the districts provided such training to instruc- tional aides.105 No information is presented in the SPI’s report that identifies the number of instructional aides trained to work in ESL or bilingual programs.

An important distinction to be made is that teacher and instructional aide training does not mean that in- structors are bilingual. Various studies have shown that the bilingual ability of a teacher, or lack thereof, does not affect student achievement.106 Others show that hav- ing a bilingual teacher has a negative effect on English achievement, but having a teacher who is merely famil- iar with the child’s native language has a positive effect.107 Some native language ability is helpful, but too much can actually be detrimental (if the goal is English lan- guage proficiency) unless the bilingual teacher is able to minimize the amount of time spent instructing in the native language of the students. (In other words, when the Facilitation Theory is subverted, students benefit).


years. Only with heightened analysis and quality research will we know exactly which areas of LEP education require improvement, and which are successful.


  1. Bilingual Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §7401-


  2. Rosalie Pedalino Porter, “The Case Against Bilingual Education: Why even Latino parents are rejecting a program designed for their children’s benefit,” Atlantic Monthly, May 1998.

3. 414 US 563 (1974)

  1. Sheldon Richman, “Bilingual Education: A Failed Experiment on the Children,” Independence Issue Paper #6-97, (Golden, CO: Independence Institute, 1997).

  2. Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruc- tion, Educating Limited-English-Proficient Students in Washington State, (Olympia, WA: OSPI, 2000), 18-19.

  3. Ibid.

  4. Ibid., 22

  5. Minerva Morales, Curriculum Coordinator for Grandview, WA, telephone conversation with Sharon Davis, EFF Research Analyst, 7 August 2001. Grandview is one of five school districts with an LEP population that is 95 percent Spanish or more and with a percentage of students remaining in the TBE program more than three years that is under six percent. Only 1.2% of their 518 students were in the program longer than three years in 1999-2000. Morales attributes this to staff training and trained instructional aides that assist LEP students in the mainstream classroom. This year, ESL training will begin for all teachers that don’t already have it.

  6. Superintendent of Public Instruction, Educating

Limited-English-Proficient, 25.

10. Ibid., 6, 7.

  1. Ibid.

  2. Limited English Proficient Students, Ch. 6, 2001 Wash. Laws 1st Special Session.

  3. Educating Limited-English-Proficient, 5-6.

  4. Ibid., 8.

15. Ibid., 10.

  1. Christine Rossell and Keith Baker, Bilingual Education in Massachusetts: The Emperor Has No Clothes, (Boston, MA: Pioneer Institute for Public Policy and Research, 1996), 54.

  2. Porter, “Case Against Bilingual Education.”

  3. Rossell and Baker, Bilingual Education in Massachusetts,


19. Ibid., 53, 54.

  1. Kenji Hakuta, Mirror of Language: The Debate on Bilingualism, (New York, NY: Basic Books, 1983), quoted in Rosalie Pedalino Porter, Forked Tongue: The Politics of Bilingual Education, (New York, NY: Basic Books, 1990), 198.

  2. Rossell and Baker, Bilingual Education in Massachusetts,

    53, 54.

  3. Rossell and Baker, Bilingual Education in Massachusetts, 65.

  4. G.J. Burkheimer, Jr., A. Conger, G. Dunteman, B. Elliott, and K. Mowbray, Effectiveness of services for language minority limited English proficient students, (Raleigh-Durham, NC.: Research Triangle Institute, 1989); J. Ramirez, S. Yuen, D. Ramey, and D. Pasta, Final Report: Longitudinal Study of Structured English Immersion Strategy, Early-Exit and Late-Exit Transitional Bilingual Education Programs for Language-Minority Children, Vols. I and II, prepared for U.S. Department of Education, (San Mateo, CA: Aguirre International, 1991).

  5. Rossell and Baker, Bilingual Education in Massachusetts, 2.

  6. Charles Glenn, “What does the National Research Council Study Tell us About Educating Language Minority Children?” (The READ Institute: 1997), a critique of Diane August and Kenji Hakuta, editors, Improving Schooling for Language-Minority Children: A Research Agenda, (Washington, DC: National Research Council, 1997). Glenn served as an invited reviewer of the draft of the National Research Council report

  7. August and Hakuta, Improving Schooling, 23; cited by

    Rosalie Pedalino Porter, “The Benefits of English Immersion,” Educational Leadership, January 2000. The study also found, in a review of 30 years of bilingual education research, that “there is yet no conclusive evidence that native language programs are superior to English immersion or [ESL] programs.”

  8. Louisa C. Moats, “When Older Students Can’t Read,”

    Educational Leadership, March 2001.

  9. Kenji Hakuta, Mirror of Language, 219.

  10. Kenji Hakuta, Yuko Goto Butler, and Daria Witt, “How Long Does It Take English Learners to Attain Proficiency?” Policy Report 2000-1 (The University of California Linguistic Minority Research Institute, 2000), cited by Superintendent of Public Instruction, Educating Limited-English-Proficient, 114.

  11. Christine H. Rossell, “Different Questions, Different Answers: A Critique of the Hakuta, Butler, and Witt Report, ‘How long does it take English learners to attain proficiency?’” (Washington, DC: Institute for Research in English Acquisition and Development, 2000).

  12. Christine Rossell, “Is One Year Enough?” The ABC’s of

    English Immersion: A Teacher’s Guide (Center for Equal Opportunity, 2000).

  13. Glenn, “National Research Council Study.”

  14. Rossell and Baker, Bilingual Education in Massachusetts, 60, 204.

  15. Christine Rossell and J. Michael Ross, “The Social Science Evidence on Bilingual Education,” Journal of

    Law and Education (1986) cited in Rossell and Baker,

    Bilingual Education in Massachusetts, 61.

  16. Ibid.

  17. Glenn, “National Research Council Study.”

  18. Rossell and Baker, Bilingual Education in Massachusetts,


  19. Superintendent of Public Instruction, Educating Limited-English-Proficient, 14.

  20. Handbook on Planning for Limited English Proficient (LEP) Student Success (Denver, Colorado: Colorado Department of Education, 1997), 71.

  21. Barbara Swartz, “Problems with Bilingual Education Clearer Now,” Houston Chronicle, 27 March 2001.


  22. Linda Chavez, “Bilingual Education: Conformity in the Name of Diversity”, American Experiment Quar- terly, Summer 1998.

  23. Porter, Forked Tongue, 5.

43. Ibid., 83.

  1. Rossell and Baker, Bilingual Education in Massachusetts, xii.

  2. Linda Chavez, “One Nation, One Common Lan- guage,” The Failure of Bilingual Education (Washing- ton, DC: Center for Equal Opportunity, 1995), 9.

  3. Porter, “Benefits of English Immersion.”

  4. Porter, Forked Tongue, 163-4.

  5. Mary Bustamante and Dina Doolen, “Bilingual ed: Fight goes on,” Tucson Citizen, 9 July 2001.

  6. Jacques Steinberg, “Arizona teachers look to end of bilingual era,” New York Times, 18 December 2000.

  7. David Gersten, “Report Finds That Bilingual Programs Fail Arizona Students,” (Washington, DC: Center for Equal Opportunity, 1 November 2000).

  8. Arizona Department of Education, “English Acquisi- tion Program Cost Study—Phases I through IV,” (2001). The ADE contracted with the READ Institute and Sjoberg Evashenk Consulting, LLC to analyze a model bilingual program and the cost elements related to it.

  9. California State Department of Education, “DataQuest,” <>.

  10. Jorge Amselle and Amy C. Allison, “Two Years of Success: An Analysis of California Test Scores After Proposition 227,” (READ Institute, August 2000).

  11. John Sanko, “Activists take cue to put English on ballot,” Denver Rocky Mountain News, 4 July 2001, Front Page.

  12. National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (U.S. Department of Education, 1998-99).

  13. Ibid.

  14. “Ballot Initiative Campaign Launched to Dismantle Bilingual Education in Massachusetts,” English for the Children, < pr073101.htm> (31 July 2001).

  15. “Repairing Bilingual Education,” New York Times, 22 December 2000.

  16. Anemona Hartocollis, “Thousands of pupils start Saturday classes in English, math and science,” New York Times, March 27, 2001.

  17. Glenn, “National Research Council Study.”

  18. Rossell, “Is One Year Enough?”

  19. Rossell, “Different Questions, Different Answers.”

  20. Rossell, “Different Questions, Different Answers”; Glenn, “National Research Council Study.”

  21. Glenn, in forward to Rossell and Baker, Bilingual

    Education in Massachusetts, xiii, xiv.

  22. Lorraine M. McDonnell and Paul T. Hill, Newcomers in American Schools: Meeting the Educational Needs of Immigrant Youth, (Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corpora- tion, 1993), 97-98; quoted in Rossell, “Is One Year Enough?” 6-7.

  23. Rossell, “Is One Year Enough?” 8.

  24. Porter, Forked Tongue, 207.

  25. Jorge Amselle in introduction to Rossell, “Different Questions, Different Answers.”

  26. See Rossell, “Different Questions, Different Answers.”

  27. Superintendent of Public Instruction, Educating Limited-English-Proficient, 35-37.

  28. Rossell, “Different Questions, Different Answers.”

  29. Rossell and Baker, Bilingual Education in Massachusetts, 126.

  30. C. Perlman and W. Rice Jr. “A Normative Study of a Test of English Language Proficiency.” (Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association: San Francisco, CA: 1979), cited in Rossell, “Different Questions, Different Answers.”

  31. U.S. Bureau of the Census, Data for the Office of Planning, Budget and Evaluation, Decision Resources, “1984 Analysis.” (Washington, DC: GPO 1984.), cited in Rossell, “Different Questions, Different Answers,” 2000.

  32. Rossell, “Different Questions, Different Answers.”

  33. Rossell, “Is One Year Enough?”

  34. Sharon E. Duncan and Edward A. De Avila, “Relative Language Proficiency and Field Dependence/Indepen- dence.” (Paper presented at the annual meeting of TESOL: Boston, MA: 1979); cited in Rosell, “Is One Year Enough?”

  35. Heidi Dulay and Marina Burt, “The Relative Profi- ciency of Limited English Proficient Students,” Georgetown University Roundtable on Language and Linguistics, ed. J. Alatis, (Washington, DC: Georgetown University, 1980); cited in Rossell and Baker, 134.

  36. Malcolm N. Danoff, Gary J. Coles, Donald H. McLaughlin, and Dorothy J. Reynolds, “Evaluation of the Impact of ESEA Title VII, Spanish/English Bilingual Education Program: Overview of Study and

    Findings,” (Palo Alto, CA: American Institutes for

    elementary LEP students. D. Cardoza, A. Sanchez, and

    Research (AIR) 1978); cited in Rossell and Baker, 132-

    R. Mendoza, “Attitudes Toward Bilingual Education


    and Foreign Language Instruction Among Four


    Southwest Regional Laboratories for Educational

    Ethnolinguistic Groups,” (Los Alamitos, CA: National

    Research and Development (SWRL), “Development of

    Center for Bilingual Research, 1985); poll of 200

    Entry/Exit Criteria and Associated Assessment Proce-

    adults from each of four groups, two Hispanic and two

    dures for Bilingual Education Projects”, (Los Alamitos,

    Asian. Leonie Huddy and David O. Sears, “Qualified


    CA, 1981), 9; cited in Rossell and Baker, Bilingual

    Education in Massachusetts, 138-139.

    Nancy L. Russell and Alba A. Ortiz, “Assessmentof

    Public Support for Bilingual Education: Some Policy Implications,” The Annals for the American Academy of Political and Social Science, March 1990, 508: 119-

    Pragmatic Skills of Kindergarten Limited English

    134; poll of 1,170 non-Hispanic adults nationwide.

    Proficient Children in a Dialogue Model of Communi-

    Kenji Hakuta, “Bilingual Education in the Public Eye:


    cation,” (paper presentedat annual meeting of Ameri- can Educational Research Association: San Francisco, CA, 1989), 18; quoted by Rossell and Baker, Bilingual Education in Massachusetts, 138.

    Rossell and Baker, Bilingual Education in Massachusetts,

    A Case Study of New Haven, Connecticut,” NABE

    Journal (1984), 9:53-76; poll of 216 adults in New Haven. Joan Baratz-Snowden, Donald Rock, Judith Pollack, and Gita Wilder, “Parent Preference Study,”

    (Princeton, N.J.: Educational Testing Service, 1988);


    poll of 867 Asian, 904 Mexican-American, 631 Puerto


    Alan J. Borsuk, “Milwaukee Elementary School Studies

    Rican, and 502 Cuban language minority parents


    Success with Structured Lessons,” The Milwaukee

    Journal Sentinel, 8 March 2001.

    H.W. Catts, M.E. Fey, and J.B. Tomblin, “Language


    nationwide. Cited by Rossell and Baker, Bilingual

    Education in Massachusetts.

    Baratz-Snowden, et al., “Parent Preference study”; cited

    basis of reading and reading disabilities: Evidence from

    in Rossell and Baker, Chapter7.

    a longitudinal investigation,” Scientific Studies of

    Reading, 1999, 3, 331-361; and

    A.E. Cunningham & K.E. Stanovich, “Early reading



    Rossell and Baker, Bilingual Education in Massachusetts,


    Non-directive questions do not directly ask about the

    acquisition and its relation to reading experience and

    topic of interest to avoid prompting respondents to

    ability 10 years later. Developmental Psychology, 1997,

    33, 934-945; and

    address a certain topic. In the ETS survey this indirect

    question was asked before questions specifically

    S.E. Shaywitz, J.M. Fletcher, J.M. Holahan, A.E.

    mentioning bilingual education or related topics were

    Shneider, K.E. Marchione, K.K. Stuebing, D.J. Francis,


    K.R. Pugh, & B.A. Shaywitz, “Persistence of dyslexia:

    The Connecticut Longitudinal Study at Adolescence,”


    Rossell and Baker, Bilingual Education in Massachusetts,


    Pediatrics, 1999, 104 (6), 1351-1359; cited by Moats,

    “When Older Students Can’t Read.”


    “The Importance of Learning English: A National

    Survey of Hispanic Parents,” (Washington, D.C.:


    Moats, “When Older Students Can’t Read.”

    Center for Equal Opportunity, 1996).


    Rossell and Baker, 2.


    Superintendent of Public Instruction, Educating


    Glenn, “National Research Council Study.”

    Limited-English-Proficient, 43.




    Helen Magalon, conversation with Sharon Davis, EFF


    Jacques Steinberg, “Increase in test scores counters dire

    Research Analyst, 27 August 2001.

    forecasts for bilingual ban,” New York Times, 20 August 2000, Front Page.

    1. Glenn, “National Research Council Study.”

    2. Ibid.

    3. Phi Delta Kappan Poll, September 1988, 2,118 adults nationwide. Institute for Social Inquiry Poll, February 1987, 500 Connecticut adults. Roper Poll, Roper Reports, June 1982. Media General/Associated Press Poll #9, November 1985, 1,462 adults nationwide. Gallup Poll, Gallup Organization, January 10, 1991, 995 registered voters. “Berkeley Unified School District, Bilingual Education Parent Survey, Spring 1988,” (Hayward, CA: California State University, 1988); poll of 106 Hispanic and 122 Asian parents of

  1. Superintendent of Public Instruction, Educating Limited-English-Proficient, 43.

  2. W. J. Tickunoff, An emerging description of successful bilingual instruction: executive summary of part I of the SPIF study, (San Francisco, CA: Far West Laboratory for Educational Research and Development, 1983); cited in Rossell and Baker, 59; Glenn, “National Research Council Study.” This study of 58 teachers from six nationally representative sites, identifies elements of successful bilingual programs.

  3. Research on Chinese students learning English found that the most successful teacher knew Cantonese but taught 90% in English. Teachers in Austin Indepen- dent School District’s TBE program—found to be

    superior to submersion—used English as the language of instruction 82% of the time. Rossell and Baker, Bilingual Education in Massachusetts, 57-59.

  4. Glenn, “National Research Council Study.” 104.Porter, Forked Tongue, 132, 146; Rossell, “Is One Year

Enough?”, 12.

105.Superintendent of Public Instruction, Educating Limited-English-Proficient, 10. Note: these numbers apply only to staff employed by the state, not to staff employed by other sources of funding.

106.G. Ligon et al., ESAA bilingual/bicultural project, 1973- 74 evaluation report, (Austin, TX: Austin Independent School District, 1974); J. Curtis, “Identification of exemplary teachers of LEP students,” (paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association; New Orleans, LA; April 1984); Malcolm N. Danoff, Beatiriz M. Arias, Gary J. Coles et al., Evaluation of the impact of ESEA Title VII Spanish/ English Bilingual education program, (Palo Alto, CA: American Institutes for Research, 1977); Malcolm N. Danoff, Gary J. Coles, Donald H. McLaughlin, and Dorothy J. Reynolds, Evaluation of the Impact of ESEA Title VII Spanish/English Bilingual Education Program, (Palo Alto, CA: American Institutes for Research, 1978); Christine Rossell, “The Effectiveness of Educational Alternatives for Limited-English-Proficient Children,” in Learning in Two Languages, (New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 1990).

107.G.J. Burkheimer, Jr., A. Conger, G. Dunteman, B. Elliott, and K. Mowbray, “Effectiveness of services for language minority limited English proficient students,” (Raleigh-Durham, NC: Research Triangle Institute, 1989), 5.43; L.W. Fillmore, “Learning a Second Language: Chinese Children in the American Class- room,” Georgetown University Roundtable on Language and Linguistics, (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 1980); K. Carsrud and J. Curtis, ESEA Title VII Bilingual Program: Final Report, (Austin, Texas: Austin Independent School District, 1980); F.B. Moore and G.D. Parr, “Models of bilingual education: Comparisons of effectiveness,” The Elementary School Journal (1978), 79:93-97; cited in Rossell and Baker, Bilingual Education in Massachusetts, pp. 58-59.



Various students at all levels of the Washington state K-12 system require special attention, among them the highly capable. The resource allocation for these students, however, is startlingly different. During the 2001-03 biennium, state lawmakers allocated $12,840,000 to help fund programs for highly capable students, while pro- grams for special needs students received $839,908,000.1 As a result, the majority of funding for highly capable students generally originates from sources other than state funding, typically local school board levies.

Funding permitting, a variety of methods exist to provide opportunity and motivation for highly capable stu- dents to excel. Leading educators differ on whether these students should be mainstreamed, separated from their peers, challenged within their own classrooms, advanced to higher grades, or a combination of approaches.

Some educators say that removing highly capable students from a classroom of similarly aged peers will adversely effect their social development. Others advo- cate pulling students out for special advanced classes or permitting grade advancement, reasoning that these chil- dren adapt easily, usually due to greater levels of matu- rity. Differences such as these indicate that state programs for the highly capable should be analyzed, evaluated, and discussed thoroughly to ensure that highly capable students are enabled to achieve at the highest level.

What constitutes a highly capable student?

Defining a highly capable student is difficult. State law leaves much of the responsibility for specific deter- mination to local school districts. Districts offering such programs are required to create identification procedures in accordance with the following:

“School districts shall implement procedures for nomination, assessment and selection of their most highly capable students. Assess- ment shall be based upon a review of each student’s capability as shown by multiple criteria intended to reveal, from a wide va- riety of sources and data, each student’s unique needs and capabilities.”2

Most definitions for gifted and highly talented stu- dents come from other sources, usually researchers or organizations that study the development of programs for such students. Beverly Parke, a writer for KidSource Online states that “these students potentially differ from their classmates on three dimensions: (1) the pace at which they learn; (2) the depth of their understanding; and (3) the interest that they hold.” Parke continues, “gifted youngsters tend to get their work done quickly and may seek further assignments or direction.”3 She states that they usually ask more probing questions dis- playing a greater understanding of the material. In the cognitive realm, their interests tend to be much more mature than that of their peers.

An article by the Linda Kreger Council for Excep- tional Children gives further insight into the definition of highly capable. It states that “gifted children develop cognitively at a much faster rate than they develop physi- cally and emotionally [and] tend to experience all of

life with greater intensity, rendering them emotionally complex.” Because of their unique qualities, these stu- dents require “modifications in parenting, teaching and

counseling in order for them to develop optimally.”4 The article also outlines potential early indicators , in- cluding a fascination with books, unusual alertness in infancy, extraordinary memory, and enjoyment and speed of learning for example.

At the federal government level, both the House and the Senate are exploring bills regarding program fund- ing for highly capable students. These bills define highly capable students as: “gifted and talented students [who]give evidence of high performance capability in specific academic fields, or in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, and require ser- vices and activities not ordinarily provided by a school in order to fully develop such capabilities.”5

Given the unique characteristics and special needs of highly capable students, it can be difficult for a child’s regular classroom teacher to provide the best education given the demands of the entire classroom. This raises the debate of whether or not to pull gifted students out of the classroom to ensure that they are being adequately educated.

Parke advocates that the student be challenged in the regular classroom by 1) developing a flexibly paced academic program that explores topics in detail, 2) work- ing and learning under an independent study or investi- gation, and 3) making use of mentor programs. Parke also mentions the possibility of placing the student in “classes at another school or institution of higher learn- ing.”6 Since no single definition for the highly capable student exists, no single method of educating this stu- dent exists either.

State statutes

The state’s mandate regarding education funding is to make “ample provision” for the education of all stu- dents. But since highly capable programs have not been included as part of “basic education,” the state has not been required to fund these programs on a statewide level. “Supplementary funds . . . may be provided by the state for this program . . . [with] funding on an excess cost basis based upon a per student amount not to ex- ceed three percent of any district’s full-time equivalent enrollment.”7 Currently, the state legislature has chosen to set the percent funded at only two percent instead of three as the statute permits. With state funding at such a low level, local school districts are forced to find money for these programs through levies and other sources.

Individual school districts“employ and pay special instructors and . . . [can] operate such programs jointly with a public institution of higher learning” commonly known across the state as Running Start.8 Community colleges and universities throughout the state offer courses in which students may enroll to earn concur- rent high school and college credit. Additionally, Wash- ington state school districts may work cooperatively with community colleges in Idaho and Oregon to allow elev- enth and twelfth grade students to enroll simultaneously, but without charging the student nonresident tuition fees.

The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruc- tion (OSPI) is required to carry out a program for highly capable students that includes research assistance, dis- tributing related information and “supplementary” state funds to local school districts, and providing staff de- velopment opportunities.9 Such related information consists of notifying state senior high schools and other public schools of public and private entities offering programs for college credit. This also includes such ser- vices as advanced placement classes found online. Through mandated research assistance, OSPI is to in- vestigate various methods that could be used to address the unique needs of the highly capable student. OSPI has relegated this responsibility to the state-established Washington Commission on Student Learning.

Program implementation

Most of the authority for implementation of highly capable programs rests with local districts. School dis- tricts create their own plans, provide program develop- ment, and methods of program evaluation. Given that state dollars only fund a portion of these programs, school districts look to other funding sources such as federal grants and special levies. Keeping the authority to implement and design these programs at the local level is vital since it allows those close at hand to make the most informed decisions about how to solve prob- lems and meet the specific needs of highly capable stu- dents in their area.

At the school level, senior high schools and any other public school containing a ninth-grade class must pub- lish and distribute information that stipulates the en- trance requirements for programs that lead to college credit. Such programs include Advanced Placement (AP) classes, Running Start, tech-prep, skill centers, college in high school, and the International Baccalaureate.10

Schools also must designate enrollment and completion of these programs on student transcripts.

Working together

Nurturing a gifted child can be difficult. Parents are the first educators of their children and have signifi- cant impact on a child’s development. The individual- ized attention and assessment provided by parental involvement is crucial for all students, including highly capable students. Parents play a critical role in guiding highly capable students through emotional challenges and in choosing the most

Mostoftheauthority forimplementationof highlycapable programsrestswith localdistricts.School districtscreatetheir ownplans,provide program development,and methodsofprogram evaluation.

effective learning envi- ronment with the great- est opportunities for achievement.

Ideally, parents and teachers should work side- by-side, developing meth- ods to challenge and enrich the child’s education. Par- ents can assist teachers in finding supplemental ma- terial or by helping out in the classroom itself. By maintaining a good work- ing relationship with a child’s teacher, parents can help ensure positive, intel- lectual development for their children.

An active parent can also help teachers decide if keeping the child in the regular classroom is best for the student. Tremendous diversity exists among the gifted population. Gifted students can become bored, causing behavior problems leading some parents to advocate ad- vancing their child in a particular subject or an entire grade in an attempt to foster learning and dampen bore- dom. This may or may not be a good idea. Coordina- tion between parents and teachers is critical and “the decision to allow a child to accelerate educationally is one that must be made for each child, taking into ac- count his or her intellectual and emotional needs, and the services the school can provide.”11

Highly capable program funding

As previously stated, Washington state law permits funding at a maximum rate of up to three percent of a district’s full-time equivalent enrollment, though cur-

Sample Calculation

  1. District’s FTE enrollment average = 8,926.74

  2. Multiply by 2% = 178.53

  3. Multiply by $328.10 allocation =


rently the legislature has elected to fund two percent of a district’s enrollment. State funding is calculated by each district and then distributed to the respective school. The formula is quite simple: the district’s average full- time equivalent enrollment figure for the previous year is multiplied by two percent. This number is then mul- tiplied by a legislatively designated per funded student allocation figure to determine the district’s funding al- location. For the 2001-02 school year, this figure was


In addition to the apportionment for district-cre- ated programs, the legislature also stipulates a portion of the money to be used for statewide gifted programs including the Centrum program13 and the Washington Imagination Network, formally Odyssey of the Mind.14 During the 2000-03 biennium, $350,000 was allocated to Centrum while $186,000 went to fund the Imagina- tion Network.15

Common programs across Washington

Educating gifted students presents unique obstacles, as previously mentioned. Changes in regular school pro- grams are necessary to keep these students challenged and learning to their capacity. “Pull-out” enrichment programs are frequently provided: honors classes; afterschool and summer programs; and mentor pro- grams. In Washington state, common programs at the high school level include Advanced Placement (AP) courses, International Baccalaureate classes, and Run- ning Start.

Advanced Placement

Clifford Adelman, Senior Research Analyst for the

U.S. Department of Education writes, “the best predic- tor of student success [in attaining a bachelor’s degree] is the academic intensity of course work taken in high school.” Adelman continues, “Advanced Placement course taking is more strongly correlated with bachelor’s degree completion than it is with college access.”16 This raises the question: Are attempts to equalize opportunities

for college access less effective in the long-term than programs like Advanced Placement?

What is Advanced Placement?

Advanced Placement (AP) is a national program sponsored by The College Board that offers students college-level courses and exams while still attending and receiving high school credit. The AP curriculum is de- termined by The College Board based on the curricu- lum of similar college classes. It is geared toward assisting the student in passing year-end AP exams. If a student scores sufficiently well on these exams – usually a three, four, or five out of a possible score of five – the college they attend will usually grant them specific credit for the given course, or general college credit applicable to- ward graduation. “There are 33 courses in 19 subjects, offered by 13,000 secondary schools around the world; in 2000, 1.2 million exams were taken by 750,000 stu- dents.”17 Subject matter covered includes everything from biology to studio art, from French to U.S. His- tory. The specific courses offered by particular high schools are determined by individual schools.

Many students enjoy the opportunity to interact

with other highly motivated classmates in these espe- cially challenging courses. The College Board states that “high school faculty find that AP courses enhance their students’ confidence and academic interest as well as their school’s reputation. College faculty report that AP stu- dents are far better prepared for serious academic work.”18

Selection for Advanced Placement

Selection criteria for student participation in AP programs varies across the nation, state, and even dis- tricts. Individual schools make the decision given their close proximity to students and a deeper understanding of each student’s abilities. The guidelines are developed over time, integrating teacher, administration, parent, and student input to stipulate expectations of student work in and out of the classroom.

Factors used to admit students commonly include grades, teacher recommendations, and parent/student requests. Some schools, though, allow nearly all students who apply to enroll, wishing to accommodate those stu- dents who seek the added challenge. Other schools are much more restrictive in selection, setting specific grade and course requirements to be met before admittance is granted.19

Advanced Placement for low-income students

Enrolling in AP courses costs very little for low- income students, but AP exams can be costly at seventy- seven dollars per exam. If a student scores well, this seventy-seven dollars can save thousands of dollars that would have to be paid to a given college for the same credits. To ensure that all students, including those from low-income families, have the ability to take such ex- ams, the state offers grant money from the federal gov- ernment to offset a portion of the cost. The school district and The College Board assist as well.

For the 2000-01 school year, the assistance offered was forty-three dollars through federal grant money managed by the Office of the Superintendent and twenty-two dollars through The College Board. Seven dollars in administrative fees are waived by the local school district, leaving just five dollars for the student to pay for each exam.20 Eligibility for such financial as- sistance is determined based on a family income sched- ule or other data including low-income housing qualification information.

How is an Advanced Placement program started?

Components necessary for developing a solid AP program include among other things, well-trained teach- ers, administrative support, academic counseling, and adequate funding. Well-trained teachers are the most important element. A week-long summer training event is offered every year in our state, as well as one-day pro- grams each fall and spring to update AP faculty on re- cent changes and information.

Administrative support is necessary to help deal with budget, student, and parental concerns. Counseling is included because academically gifted students need to be made aware of their educational and career options. Proper funding is needed for student and teacher texts and materials, as well as for the aforementioned teacher training to learn about curriculum changes and updates. Also advisable for any school interested in develop-

ing a successful AP program are methods in which co- ordination takes place between feeder schools and AP teachers to help prepare future incoming students. Internet access is nearly essential to keep up with current curriculum and new educational resource information.

Advantages offered by Advanced Placement enrollment

Some students and parents worry about taking an AP course, knowing they could receive a lower grade

than if they enrolled in a regular high school class. The trade-offs are usually worth the risk. According to The College Board, “an AP course gives you an opportunity to learn a subject in greater depth and helps you de- velop skills that will be critically important to success- ful study in college.”21 It can even help improve a student’s chances at being admitted into a competitive college, given that schools look favorably upon students who challenge themselves instead of sticking with the status quo.

Many students see the economic benefits offered by taking AP exams as a good investment. By taking AP courses and receiving proper preparation, students can pay a nominal fee now to

Manystudentsseethe economicbenefits offeredbytakingAP examsasagood investment.

receive college credit which would cost thousands more later. Many students understand that AP gives them a head start on the academic rigors of college and can actually help free up class schedule space.

Some students who are particularly driven and have the ability to take sev-

eral AP courses and their subsequent tests, can actually receive enough credits to attain sophomore standing once enrolled in a particular college. In the State of Washing- ton, institutions granting credit include among others, Gonzaga University, the University of Washington, Se- attle Pacific University, South Puget Sound Commu- nity College, and Western Washington University.22

Finally, exceptionally gifted and talented students who take several AP courses and the course exams, re- ceiving both high grades and high test scores, may qualify for AP Scholars Awards. These are not monetary awards, but are honors that hold high distinction and are ac- knowledged in any AP report sent to prospective col- leges.

International Baccalaureate

International Baccalaureate (IB) is a program simi- lar to AP, offering curriculum specific for primary and elementary years, as well as the high school years. Stu- dents not only complete state and national education requirements, they can receive an IB diploma which is usually recognized by universities and other higher learn- ing institutions across the world.

IB is administered by the International Baccalaure- ate Organization based out of Geneva, Switzerland. The program began in 1924 when several international schools wanted to try to “establish a common curricu- lum and university entry credential.” It is intended to place significant emphasis “on the ideal of international citizenship, to the end that IB students may become criti- cal and compassionate thinkers, lifelong learners and informed participants in local and world affairs.” IB wants students to be “conscious of the shared humanity that binds all people together while respecting the vari- ety of cultures and attitudes that makes for the richness of life.”23 Some educators and parents argue that this emphasis takes too much of the focus off basic educa- tion and is, therefore, not as effective as AP coursework.

Three International Baccalaureate programs

IB offers three academic programs beginning with the Primary Years Programme for students aged three to twelve. This program “focuses on the development of the whole child . . . [and] offers a framework that meets children’s several needs: academic, social, physical, emo- tional and cultural.”24 As previously stated, the IB pro- gram is controversial because of its emphasis on elements beyond academics.

The Middle Years Programme is designed for stu- dents from age eleven to age sixteen. Though it follows well with the Primary Programme, it is not a prerequi- site. Program curriculum includes studies in two lan-

RunningStartfunding canalsoprovide tuitioncostsfor vocationalprograms atlocalskillcenters.

guages, humanities, sciences, mathematics, arts, physical education, and technology. Students are also required to work on a personal project that “is intended to be the cul- mination of the student’s involvement.”25

Finally, the Diploma Programme is offered to

students ages sixteen to nineteen. It “is a demanding pre-university course of study that leads to examina- tions.” The grading system is criterion-referenced to stan- dards set by IBO. Full completion of this program leads to a special IB diploma. The program is intended to “emphasize critical thinking, intercultural understand- ing and exposure to a variety of points of view.”26

The Diploma Programme curriculum includes two languages; individuals and societies which includes history,

business, and philosophy; experimental sciences includ- ing biology, chemistry, and physics; mathematics; and arts and electives. Additionally, students are required to take a course called the Theory of Knowledge which is intended to help students learn to question where knowl- edge comes from. Service projects are also part of the program along with an essay requirement of 4,000 words.

International Baccalaureate for low-income students

Just as for participation in the AP program, low- income students who qualify for enrollment in IB yet cannot afford the examination fees can apply for finan- cial aid. Criteria for financial assistance is the same as with AP exam fees. The local school pays the test fee and then is reimbursed by OSPI through federal grant funding for 90 percent of the expenditure. The remain- ing amount is either to be paid by the student or the school program.

Advantages of International Baccalaureate coursework

The advantages of enrollment are similar to that of AP courses. Students can receive college credit simulta- neously with high school credit. “More than 1,000 uni- versities from 47 countries list their policies for entry and IB diploma recognition.”27

Running Start

Washington state, like many others, offers a pro- gram for students to enroll concurrently in college and high school courses. It is called Running Start and pro- vides highly capable and gifted students a means to be challenged and prepared for future studies if they have accelerated beyond courses provided by their high school. This program is offered to students in the eleventh and twelfth grades, but selection of eligible students is unique to each local school. Some high schools allow nearly any student to participate who is admitted to the par- ticipating college and who can pass the entrance exams. This program costs practically nothing for the stu- dent since these college courses replace their high school scheduled classes, usually one college class for every two high school courses. Students must provide their own

transportation and books.

Exceptional students have the potential to graduate from both high school and community college with their AA degree simultaneously, allowing them to transfer to a university as a junior. For some students this provides significant financial incentives, helping them to pay for

two years of college fees while aiding them in acquiring the knowledge needed to achieve success at the univer- sity level.

In addition to community colleges and universities, Running Start funding can also provide tuition costs for vocational programs at local skill centers. This al- lows meaningful options for students who are not pur- suing a college degree, but who desire to learn a marketable skill.

Colleges and universities participating in Running Start are required to report program enrollments to a student’s respective district, while the districts must re- port their overall Running Start enrollments to the State Superintendent (OSPI). Funds for this program come from basic education district allocations. OSPI distrib- utes the money to given school districts who, in turn, transfer the money to the participating higher learning institutions.

Funding for students enrolled in the Running Start program is less than for regular high school students. Because fees covered by the state only include tuition and not other administrative expenses, Running Start non-vocational students were funded at a rate of $3,573 in 1998-99 and at $4,252 for vocational students.28 Districts could only retain a maximum of seven percent of this money for their administrative costs, with the rest directed toward various institutions of enrollment. Some districts have determined that their actual costs exceed seven percent and have asked the legislature to revisit this issue.

Federal programs for the highly capable student

Congress passed the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Tal- ented Students Education Act of 1994 which autho- rizes the U.S. Department of Education to offer grants to various states, local education agencies, higher edu- cation institutions, and other public and private agen- cies to fund programs for highly capable students. Grant awards range from $185,000 to $215,000 per year for three years. Programs should “incorporate high-level content and performance standards in one or more of the core subject areas; utilize innovative teaching strate- gies; provide comprehensive ongoing professional de- velopment opportunities for staff; incorporate training for parents in ways to support their children’s educa- tional progress; and include a comprehensive project evaluation”29

In addition to offering funding grants, this federal program is intended to offer informational and techni- cal leadership and assistance. The program also helps fund research on the gifted and talented at the Univer- sity of Connecticut at Storrs where the National Re- search Center on the Gifted and Talented is located.

As previously mentioned both the U.S. House and Senate are considering further programs for the gifted and talented because there is no current federally-man- dated requirement to serve the gifted and talented.30 The pending bills would allocate $160,000,000 to per- petuate grant funding for fiscal years 2002 through 2006 offered under the Javits program.

School district programs in Washington state

Program development and authority for the highly capable student in our state rests locally at the district and school level. In Seattle’s public schools, about 1,000 highly capable students are served through the Acceler- ated Progress Program which teaches at a level that is generally two years above normal grade level. The dis- trict has decided to serve those who typically score within the top one percent on standardized tests when com- pared with other students across the nation. Students are admitted through a nomination process during kin- dergarten through seventh grade for the following year. There is no admission at the high school level. In con- trast, the Port Townsend School District included the top three percent of its student population as eligible for its Reach enrichment programs. The definition clearly depends on the school district investigated.

Unfortunately, the lack of objective data on student performance makes it very difficult to determine the effectiveness of specific programs geared toward high achievers. We have highlighted two in-state programs, nonetheless, where test scores indicate high achieving students are well identified and challenged to reach their potential.

Olympia School District

The Olympia School District is well known for its extensive gifted programs. From elementary through high school level, the district provides programs to meet the diverse needs of various age groups, helping them to prepare for more rigorous coursework in future years.

Elementary school programs

At the elementary school level, Olympia School District instituted the Program for Academically Tal- ented Students (PATS) to challenge children who have advanced skills in math, reading, and language arts. Stu- dents in grades two through five are selected based upon evidence of high cognitive ability, high academic achieve- ment, and displayed learning characteristics often asso- ciated with high levels of creativity and problem solving skills. Program enrollment is based upon a nomination process in which parents can even be involved.

Middle school programs

At the middle school level, programs differ between schools to allow for greater effectiveness and individu- ality. At Jefferson Middle School, the REACH program is offered to students identified by the REACH instruc- tor and school counselors, utilizing test scores and teacher recommendations. “Program goals reflect the use of criti- cal thinking skills, problem solving skills, creative think- ing skills, and research skills” in these classes specifically designed for the academically talented.31

At Washington Middle School, those students who score in the 80th local percentile or above on the district’s own test qualify to participate in an enrichment pro- gram. Those who have previously participated in the program or students receiving certain recommendations are also eligible. Washington Middle School, much like Olympia High School, also allows students to “self-select,” meaning that students can recommend themselves for the program by choosing to take on these challenging classes. Enrichment includes two options, Student Interest Projects and Enrichment Clusters. Students choose to investigate some topic of interest in depth for one se- mester or for the entire year under Option 1. “Cluster Options meet from 2 days to 4 weeks, depending upon the grade level and project. Many involve in-depth study and preparation of a product (performance based) after the cluster unit has finished meeting.”32 Some project examples from the past year include, an architecture unit for grade six, creating a classroom newsletter for grade seven,

and a historical fiction writing seminar for grade eight.

High school programs

Capital High School offers students the opportu- nity to enroll in advanced classes through the Interna- tional Baccalaureate program which could earn students a full IB diploma. During the 1999-00 school year, 26 of 30 candidates earned their diplomas.33 Highly capable Capital students can also enroll in Running Start and

Contract Learning which allows students to develop independent study programs.

At Olympia High School, approximately 1,660 stu- dents are enrolled, while the number taking either hon- ors or Advanced Placement courses is nearly one quarter of that total. During the 2000-01 school year, 451 stu- dents were enrolled in either one or more honors or Advanced Placement courses. Students took 206 tests with an eleventh grade test average of approximately 87 percent while the twelfth grade average was approxi- mately 76 percent, superior scores for AP examinations. The AP U.S. History test score average was exception- ally high, a staggering 94 percent.34

Selection criteria for honors and AP classes at Olym- pia High, is based upon teacher recommendation, though students can “self-select” enrollment upon ap- proval of the AP Coordinator, if they decide they want the extra challenge offered through AP classes. AP courses offered include eleventh and twelfth grade English, Cal- culus B & C, U.S. History A & B, Psychology, Macro- economics, Biology A & B, and Chemistry A & B. In addition, students can choose from several other hon- ors and more advanced courses which will better pre- pare them for the subsequent AP exams including Honors physics, ninth and tenth grade Honors English, Honors Algebra 2A & 2B, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, and Honors World History.

Running Start is offered at Olympia High School through South Puget Sound Community College. Stu- dents may also develop independent study programs to further challenge themselves.

Ephrata School District

The Ephrata School District serves approximately 2,200 of the state’s children. Though this district is rela- tively small, programs for the highly capable are still offered based on local needs. At Ephrata High School, students may enroll in accelerated courses. Accelerated English 11 requires passage of a departmental test. Its equivalent twelfth grade class includes placement test passage and administrative approval as a prerequisite for enrollment. Accelerated English 12 offers five college credits for this year-long course, so it can serve as a “par- tial fulfillment of most colleges’ English composition requirements.”35 Five college credits can also be earned through English 101 and 102 courses open to students based on teachers’ recommendations, test scores, and a sample essay. Pre-Calculus, Calculus, Physics, and Ac- celerated Biology are offered to students as well.

Students may dual enroll at both Ephrata High School and Big Bend Community College in Running Start classes. Certain courses serve to replace specific Ephrata High School graduation requirements as the credits earned count toward both college and high school completion. For example, students can take Anthropol- ogy, Economics, Political Science, Psychology, or Soci- ology at BBCC to replace the credits necessary to fulfill their Civics and World Politics requirement. With the proper planning, a student may earn an associate’s de- gree and high school diploma concurrently.

Highly capable programs in other states

Most states operate programs in a similar fashion to Washington state, including Running Start and Ad- vanced Placement, though some are innovative and dis- tinct. We have highlighted two states where flexible programs have been developed for specialized local needs. But once again, a disclaimer must be issued since objec- tive program evaluations are hard to come by. This sec- tion should be viewed as providing information, not endorsement.


In the State of California, “the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program provides challenging cur- riculum and instruction to gifted and talented students capable of achieving significantly beyond the level of their peers.”36 The money allocated to the GATE pro- gram is designed to fund a differentiated program for the highly capable student who has special needs. Origi- nally founded in 1961 for those in the ninety-eighth percentile or above, enrollment criteria is now set by each district based on such categories as intellectual, cre- ative, or leadership abilities.

Currently, 801 districts participate in the GATE program, serving about 360,000 gifted students for the 2000-01 school year. Funding is approved by the State Board of Education for up to three years. During the 2000-01 school year, about $51.9 million were allocated statewide, divided among these 801 districts.37 Fund- ing is allocated per student unit and determined when the state budget allocation is divided by the statewide total number of units.

The GATE program is designed to help high schools begin AP, IB, and honors programs and to fund counseling for low-income students with high

potential to ensure they have access to proper college- prep courses.

In districts where only a few students are ready for accelerated learning, usually rural areas, GATE funding helps pay for distance learning programs “such as Stanford University’s EPGY-Education Program for Gifted Youth, which offers college level courses on CD- Rom to middle and high-school age youth.”38 Other services include both programs integrated into the regular classroom and pull-out classes, using the model that works best for the local districts and students. The GATE program also offers extended day classes and Saturday learning seminars.


The State of Texas began the Advanced High School Program in 1999-2000 for students who wanted to par- ticipate in an accelerated

Withtheproper planning,astudent mayearnan associate’sdegree andhighschool diplomaconcurrently.

academic program and de- sired recognition of their work to appear on their records. This program mandates completion of strict subject requirements beyond normal graduation demands including three science requirements in- stead of two, three and a half social studies credits rather

than two and a half, three years of foreign language instead of no language requirement; and a required fine arts credit. Local districts have the authority to design these special classes.

Texas provides an Advanced Placement Incentive Program, offering financial rewards to schools with stu- dents achieving a score of three or greater on AP exams. Financial rewards are also offered to educators who are preparing to teach AP courses for the first time, helping to offset some of the costs associated with the program’s establishment. For students, there is the possibility of reimbursement for a portion of the testing fee if a three or higher is received on the AP exam.

Correspondence course credit is offered through the University of Texas, Austin, Texas Tech University, and other public institutions with the approval of the Edu- cation Commissioner. Additionally, Texas offers credits for all grades by examination for six days each year. Dates of such test offerings must be publicized to the commu- nity and no charge can be levied for these tests. Grades

    1. require a 90 percent or higher score on criterion- referenced tests for the particular grade the child wishes to skip in language arts, math, science, and social stud- ies. District representatives’ recommendation and pa- rental approval are also considered. For grades 6-12, a 90 percent or higher score must be earned on examina- tions in each applicable course in order to skip a par- ticular course.

      Other related topics

      In recent years, educators have identified a specific group of highly capable students, those with learning disabilities. “Many people have difficulty comprehend- ing that a child can be gifted and also have learning disabilities. As a result, children with special needs that result from both their high abilities and their learning prob- lems are rarely identified and are often poorly served.”39

      According to Linda Brody and Carol Mills, three groups of such students have been identified. The first group is recognized as gifted, but has trouble in school usually attributed to lack of motivation or laziness. The second group “includes students whose learning disabili- ties are severe enough that they have been identified as having learning disabilities but whose exceptional abili- ties have never been recognized or addressed.”40 Finally, the last group includes students whose exceptional abili- ties and learning problems mask each other, so the stu- dent is not identified as part of either group and is considered average.

      This unique group of students pose significant chal- lenges to current educational programs given the com- plexities associated with adequate teaching methods for these students.


      Contrary to widespread belief, gifted individuals are rarely in positions or environments where they can sim- ply ‘make it on their own. These students frequently underachieve or strive for goals well below their poten- tial. When this occurs, the state is no longer fulfilling its legal obligations to these students. Therefore, the development of highly capable programs by local offi- cials is essential and must continue to ensure that these children receive a challenging basic education.


      • Retain local control while maintaining a commit- ment to utilizing best practices. Fundamental to

      the success of programs for the highly capable is maintaining local control, allowing those closest to each individual student to make important structural and academic decisions. District administrators and individual school teachers know the needs of their students and can develop far better programs to meet those needs than a state central planner.

      • Promote internet and distance learning. The

        internet offers nearly limitless educational oppor- tunities to gifted students to enroll in courses at other public schools across the state and across the nation. For high school students, especially those in smaller, rural districts, distance learning could be the key to adequately challenge highly capable students.

      • Promote Advanced Placement and Running Start.

        Thousands of students have benefitted from AP and Running Start courses. Continuation of these programs is essential to the proper education of highly capable high school students. Elementary and middle schools need to work with high schools to develop Pre-AP curriculum to encour- age and identify qualifying students. OSPI can assist by distributing adequate information regarding program possibilities, funding changes and alternatives, and current research regarding highly capable students.

      • Reevaluate the Washington Imagination Network

        and Centrum Funding. The state needs to reevaluate current spending for the Washington Imagination Network (WIN) and Centrum funding. WIN and Centrum funding consumed more than half a million dollars from district programs for the highly capable during 2000-01. These additional funds had to be acquired through other sources (generally local levies). In the competition for scarce resources, funding for established, successful, and challenging programs like AP and Running Start should be a priority.

      • Reevaluate program spending. Lawmakers and the courts have decided that the state must provide for the education of all children in Washington. Highly capable students are entitled to this opportunity as much as special education or learning assistance students, but funding parity does not exist.


      1. Washington State Budget for the 2001-03 Biennium, Ch. 7, 2001 Wash. Laws 2nd Special Session, § 512, § 507.

2. RCW 28A.185.030.

  1. Beverly N. Parke, “Challenging Gifted Students in the Regular Classroom,” KidSource Online, <http:// challenging_gifted_kids.html>.

  2. Linda Kreger Council for Exceptional Children, “How Parents Can Support Gifted Children,” Puyallup School District, < quest/parent.html>.

5. H.B. 490, 107th Cong. (2001); S.B. 421, 107th Cong.


6. Parke, “Challenging Gifted Students,” <http:// challenging_gifted_kids.html>.

7. RCW 28A.185.020.

8. RCW 28A.185.030.

9. RCW 28A.185.010.

10. RCW 28A.300.118.

  1. Sharon J. Lynch, “Should Gifted Students Be Grade- Advanced?” (June 1994), ERIC, ED370295.

  2. Washington State Budget for the 2001-03 Biennium, Ch. 7, 2001 Wash. Laws 2nd Special Session, § 512 (2).

  3. Centrum Arts and Creative Education: During the

    2000-01 school year, Centrum program offerings focused on art, poetry, drama, graphic design, dance, or music for high school students. Centrum is intended to promote creativity and team-building skills while learning from experienced artists, actors, and writers.


  4. Washington Imagination Network: The Washington Imagination Network is intended to be a team- building, problem-solving program to aid students in creative thinking. The program is designed to challenge students to create solutions to made-up problems under specific time constraints. Odyssey of the Mind still exists on the local level, but differs from the Washington Imagination Network in that it is no longer state funded. Odyssey challenges are usually competitions involving long-term projects in several different areas. Odyssey does require membership fee payment to participate formally in this national organization.

  5. Washington State Budget for the 2001-03 Biennium, Ch. 7,

    2001 Wash. Laws 2nd Special Session, §. 512 (3), (4).

  6. Clifford Adelman, “Answers in the Tool Box: Academic Intensity, Attendance Patterns, and Bachelor’s Degree Attainment,” OSPI , < bestpredictors.asp>.

  7. “Advanced Placement Program,” The College Board,


  8. Ibid.

  9. “Guidelines for AP Student Selection,” The College Board, < selection.html.>

  10. “Advanced Placement Fee Reimbursement for Low Income Students,” OSPI, < AP2001FeeReduction.asp>.

  11. “AP Student FAQs: Before Signing Up for an AP Course,” The College Board, <http://>.

  12. “Advanced Placement Program: AP Sophmore Stand- ing List,” The College Board, <http:// soph_standing.html>.

  13. “About the IBO,” IBO, < about/about.cfm>.

  14. “The PYP Curriculum,” IBO, < ibo2/en/programmes/prg_pyp_cv.cfm>.

  15. “The MYP Curriculum,” IBO, < ibo2/en/programmes/prg_myp_cv.cfm>.

  16. “The Diploma Programme Curriculum,” IBO, <http://>.

  17. “The IBO provides a wide range of services to its partners,” IBO, < services.cfm>.

  18. OSPI Data, “K-12 Running Start Program Statistics.”

  19. “Jakob J. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Educa- tion Program,” US Department of Education, <http://>.

30. H.B. 490, 107th Cong. (2001); S.B. 421, 107th Cong.


  1. “Curriculum”, Olympia School District, <http://>.

  2. “Enrichment Clusters,” Olympia School District, <http:/

    / enrichment_clusters.htm>.

  3. “Capital High School,” Olympia School District, <http:/


  4. Statistical information obtained from Olympia High School AP Coordinator, Donna Ensberg.

  5. “English Department,” Ephrata School District, <http://>.

  6. “Gifted and Talented Education Fact Sheet,” California Department of Education, < cilbranch/gate/facts.html>.

  7. Ibid.

  8. Ibid.

  9. Linda E. Brody and Carol J. Mills, “Gifted Children with Learning Disabilities: A Review of the Issues.” Journal of Learning Disabilities 30, No. 3 (1997): pp. 282-262

  10. Ibid.




    Remember the sage observation: Good intentions do not necessarily guarantee good results. Seldom is this counsel more vital—and more difficult to apply—than when educating students struggling to learn. Vigorous evalu- ation of learning assistance programs is essential, since programs negligently or mistakenly perpetuated for even a few years can have a devastating impact on vulnerable students’ lives.

    Our state’s Learning Assistance Program (LAP) has a worthy goal, that of providing temporary assistance to students who are struggling in school. Achieving this goal, however, requires more than the good intentions of legislators, judges, administrators and teachers. In addition to combining local flexibility with an understanding and utilizing of best practices, reaching this goal requires proper incentives and accountability for results.

    Until the mid-1970s, our public education system frequently ignored or institutionalized children with dis- abilities. To help end this public disgrace, Congress in- tervened with numerous federal laws and, in the process, gave parents of such children extraordinary rights. The intentions were good, but what about the results? Spe- cial education and various learning assistance programs have become a bureaucratically bound, legally entangled growth industry frustrating parents, teachers, adminis- trators and students.

    Once a child has been designated learning disabled, districts must decide what the student needs in the way of services: medical or psychological specialists, uniquely qualified instructors, specialized learning environments, private aides, etc. A specially crafted plan, updated bi- ennially, must be established for each child in concert with a team of individuals, sometimes including a legal advocate for the child. Districts that do not pay for “appropriate” student assistance often find themselves facing a judge. Sadly, some parents have learned to “work the system” to obtain extremely expensive special ser- vices for their children, even when those services are unwarranted, or could be paid for privately.

    While detailed and costly planning of this nature may be appropriate for students with serious problems, many students currently receiving learning assistance need far less complex and costly services. Getting extra help in a regular classroom is sometimes the best solu- tion, but extra funding is generally unavailable for this. The incentive, therefore, is to create specialized rem- edies for students so they and their schools will be eli- gible for federal and state funds.

    History and purpose of the Learning Assistance Program

    In 1979, as one part of the response to the first Doran court decision requiring the legislature to fund

    basic education,1 lawmakers developed a program for students with special needs. Focusing on both actual learning problems and low academic performance, the legislature created the Remediation Assistance Program with the intention of helping low-performing children get the extra help they needed to attain basic skills. Origi- nally, the Remediation Assistance Program provided funds for grades two through six. It was expanded dur- ing the 1980’s to include kindergarten through ninth grade, adding grades ten and eleven in 1999. The name was officially changed to the Learning Assistance Pro- gram (LAP) in 1987.

    Since a “special needs” student has never been for- mally defined, no objective measurent exists to deter- mine whether the program has accomplished its goals.

    Federal funding

    Title I

    Many aspects of the Learning Assistance Program are influenced by the parallel federal program, Title I. Funding for the Title I program is primarily based on the number of children from low-income families in each district.3 Districts allocate funds to individual schools using the same criterion. Title I provides federal dollars to school districts for projects of a similar nature to those funded by LAP, as well as other activities such as school improvement funds and services to neglected or delinquent children.4

    A school that has a fifty percent or higher poverty level can implement a Title I schoolwide program. Schoolwide programs permit schools to classify every child as a Title I student and expend money according to a plan to improve school performance as a whole, with hopes that the lower-performing students will be helped. In Washington state, 112,624 students are served in schoolwide programs.5

    Program methods

    Stated purposes of LAP

    LAP has three stated purposes:

    1. increasing the educational performance of students with “special needs” who are “deficient in basic skills achievement within the regular classroom”;

    2. helping basic education teachers deal with learning problems in their own classroom; and

    3. encouraging development of new methods to assist special needs students.2

    Washington’s Learning Assistance Pro- gram has various forms, reflecting the differ- ent needs of the students and the local nature of much of the decision-making. The district is responsible to develop a plan after consul- tation with parents, teachers, principals, ad- ministrators, and school directors. The district must update the plan biennially.6

    Each of these plans is required to in- clude the method used in determining student

    eligibility for the program, specific services to be provided and an estimate of their costs, plans for the annual evaluation, and record keeping. The local school board must approve the plan. Often the plan incorporates specific programs developed by each eligible school. These schools then receive funding from their respective districts. The dis- trict plans are submitted to the Office of the Su- perintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) for formal approval. OSPI is required to evaluate these plans at least once every three years.


    LAP is staffed by certified teachers, paraeducators or classified teachers, administra- tors, and other employees such as counselors and secretaries. In the 1999-00 school year, about 58 percent of all LAP employees—nearly 5,000 state- wide—were paraeducators or classified teachers.7

    Number of Percent of

    Students Served Total








    Language Arts/Writing



    Study Skills






    Social Studies






    *Students are often served in more than one subject area, so the numbers reflected by subject area may be a duplicated count.

    Table LA-1: Number of students served by subject matter. Source:

    Washington State Learning Assistance Program, OSPI Report, June 2001

    LAP Facilitators are supposed to help teachers in the implementation of student education plans, with assess- ment, and with further training.

    Of the money spent on LAP, nearly 92 percent pays for staff salaries and benefits.8

    Program models

    LAP teachers or educational assistants may work with students on an individual basis or as a group either in a normal classroom setting or in a specialized class. The “in-class” model is the most common and typically employs aides for targeted students working in a regular classroom.9 Another plan, known as the “pull-out” model, takes the child out of the regular class setting to receive one-on-one assistance or instruction in a small group. When the specialized assistance replaces a full period of class work, it is known as the “replacement” model. Many students use a combination of the “in- class” and the “pull-out” model, with emphasis placed on keeping the child in the regular classroom setting as frequently as possible.

    Additional Program Services

    In addition to teaching, counseling services may be available to students. Spokane Public Schools, for ex- ample, offers counselor assistance to improve student academic performance “by enhancing their self-esteem and social skills within the classroom setting.”10 Critics of this program question whether improving self-esteem with the goal of improved academic performance will be more effective than improving academic performance

    with the benefit of enhanced self-esteem. The lack of objective program evaluation prevents educators and administrators from knowing whether this program ac- tually results in higher student achievement.

    LAP also funds instruction time outside normal class hours, including tutoring times before and after school and special summer activities. Summer programs are intended to grant greater flexibility and enhance and strengthen skills studied throughout the regular school year. The school may also attempt to get parental in- volvement and reinforcement for the program, but this will not help those students who are struggling academi- cally because they already lack parental involvement.

    Students served

    Because the legislature has not clearly defined which students are to be served by LAP, those actually served are not necessarily the students who scored in the bot- tom quartile (the number used to generate funding). Research by the Legislative Budget Committee indicated that many districts also used the funds for students in the second-lowest quartile (25th-50th percentile.)11 The decision about which students will be assisted by the program is made by local assessments—usually testing and teacher recommendations.

    The demographics of students served tend to fol- low patterns. Minorities are enrolled in LAP in greater percentages than their share of the overall student population.12 Approximately 15 percent of students identified as scoring below grade level were identified












    AK Native/ Asian or Amer. Indian Pac.







    Chart LA-1: Percent of students race/ethnicity. Source: Washington State Learning Assistance Program, OSPI Report, June 2001










    Chart LA-2: Percent of students served by gender. Source:

    Washington State Learning Assistance Program, OSPI Report,

    June 2001

    as having limited English proficiency.13 Males are con- sistently served more than females: 53.1 percent ver- sus 46.9 percent for females.14

    Success measurements

    In the past, LAP results were measured by pre- and post- standardized norm-referenced tests. However, this testing requirement as mandated by Title I, was dropped after the1994-95 school year. Statistics up to that year (94-95) indicated that low-performing students were improving when measured against the normal curve equivalents (NCE), or average student learning over a year’s time.15 Little information was available, however, on whether this improvement was attributable to LAP programs, to independent causes or both.

    Currently, every district is required in its initial bi- ennial program plan to include a strategy for annual evaluation based on two components: “program objec- tives related to basic skills achievement” and develop- ment of a reporting method for the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).16 The OSPI is required to monitor school districts to ensure compliance with their own plans. Since each district de- velops individual plans, comparison between districts is difficult, if not impossible.

    Exit statistics of students leaving LAP have never been gathered consistently. The Legislative Budget Com- mittee found that approximately 18 percent of students left LAP in the1992-93 school year, but only about a third of that number left because they no longer needed services. Length of time in the program was found to vary significantly based on local district philosophy. More commonly, students leave the program at one dis- trict because they have moved.17

    Evaluation of the Learning Assistance Program tends to focus on the process: how many students are served, how much time is spent, etc., rather than on the stated goal, that of improving student performance. To date, no long-term studies have been completed to find the overall effectiveness of LAP. To investigate the issue fur- ther, the 2001 Legislature allocated funds to have the Washington Institute for Public Policy, a taxpayer- funded research group from the Evergreen State Col- lege, evaluate and study the LAP funding formula and to issue a report by June 30, 2002.

    LAP funding

    Test score factor

    As previously stated, students who score in the low- est 25 percent on the state’s standardized tests are eli- gible for LAP programs. The funding formula is currently based on norm-referenced tests such as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. The WASL (Washington Assessment of Student Learning) scores may be used by districts to assign need, but its scores do not affect funding.

    The funding formula multiplies the district’s past av- erage test results in the lowest quartile by the full-time en- rollment to arrive at a number of eligible students. The number is then multiplied by 92%, and then by the legislature’s funding per student formula to arrive at the district’s total LAP allocation.18 For the 2001-02 School Year, $408.38 has been allocated per LAP unit.19

    Because this is a funding formula, not an expendi- ture formula, the money thus obtained by the district can be spent on any student.21

    Socioeconomic factor

    In 1995 the legislature allocated additional LAP funding based on socioeconomic status. If the district’s prior year October headcount of students eligible for reduced cost or free lunches is above the state average, the district qualifies for greater funding. This is deter- mined by calculating the amount by which the district’s poverty percentage exceeds the

    Total Direct

    Program Number of Students LAP Ex


    Served by LAP

    per Pu



















    state average and then multiply- ing it by the annual average en- rollment. This number is then multiplied by 22.3 percent, and then by the per student figure to arrive at the additional resources allocated for poverty.22 An ex- ample:

    1. District average free and reduced price lunch percentage = 46%

      Sample calculation for LAP funding

      1. District’s FTE projected enrollment for K-6th grades = 806 students

      2. District’s 5-year average for 3rd grade low-quartile percentage = 20.26%

        Multiply (806 students x 20.26% = 163.30 students)

      3. District’s FTE projected enrollment for 7th -9th grades = 411 students

      4. District’s 5-year average for 6th grade low-quartile percentage = 19.56%

        Multiply (411 students x 19.56% = 80.39 students)

      5. District’s FTE projected enrollment for 10th and 11th grades = 250 students

      6. District’s 5-year average 9th grade low-quartile percentage = 20.00%

        Multiply (250 students x 20.00% = 50.00 students)

      7. Add totals from numbers 2, 4 and 6, above:

      (163.30 students + 80.39 students + 50.00 students =

      293.69 students)

      1. Multiply total from number 7 by 92% (293.69 students x .92 = 270.19 students)

      2. Multiply total from number 8 by $408.38/pupil (270.19 students x $408.38 = $110,340)20

    2. Subtract statewide free and reduced price lunch average (31%) from the district average (46%) =15%.

    3. Multiply 15% x 1567 (estimated 2001-2002 K-12 FTE enrollment)

      = 235.05 students

    4. Multiply 235.05 students x 22.30%

= 52.42 students x $408.38 =

$21,407. 23

The legislative inclusion of the pov- erty factor reflects the controversial be- lief that the correlation between student performance and poverty can be best ad- dressed by focusing on poverty. Indeed, many are now advocating that the legis- lature tie LAP funding primarily or solely to poverty.

Program and funding growth

LAP usage and funding has increased dramatically since its inception. Over the past 22 years, LAP allocated funds have grown from $12 million in the 1979-81

biennium, to $108 million in 1993-95, to a projected allotment of $139.4 million for the 2001-03 biennium.24 This mirrors nationwide spending trends.) LAP expen- ditures rose especially dramatically for the 1999-00 school year, to $72.6 million, an increase of nearly 17 percent from the previous school year and about 37 per- cent since 1994-95.25

The number of students served by the program has increased even more rapidly. In the past eight years alone the number of students served has increased

Table LA-2: LAP Expenditure Trends. Source: Washington State Learning Assistance Program, OSPI Report, June 2001. These numbers do not reflect the socioeconomic allocation.






Total students served



Students served in

schoolw ide programs


92-93 93-94 94-95 95-96 96-97 97-98 98-99 99-00


Chart LA-3: Students served by LAP. Source: Washington State Learning Assistance Program, OSPI Report, June 2001

from approximately 64,000 in the 1992-93 school year to about 120,000 students during the 1999-00 school year.25

But the growth in students served is attributable to increases in the grades covered (Grades 10 and 11 were added in 1999), and to changes in counting student eli- gibility. Since the1995-96 school year, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has allowed three different counting procedures that can be used by schools with a Title I schoolwide program. These dis- tricts can now:

financing. As of this writing, two states, Califor- nia and Pennsylvania, as well as the federal government’s special education allotments are based on census-based financing. Schools are not reimbursed for special education costs. Assuming that special needs students occur with regular frequency, districts are reimbursed based on enrollment. The federal government’s allocation is also poverty-adjusted.

As it currently stands in our state, only a theoreti- cal connection exists between the way funding is calculated and the way funding is spent. Further, the current formula provides a perverse incentive for districts and schools to look for new ways to funnel students to learning assistance or special education programs.

Some have suggested removing this incentive and some of the funding uncertainties by basing the program entirely on a poverty calculation.

However, this separates the funding calculation from the program goals. If the goal of the LAP program is simply to send more money to some school districts, then its purpose should be open and the application process should be simplified

so that time is not wasted on meaningless paper- work. But if the goal of the LAP program is to improve student performance, funding based on poverty levels will provide no motivation to do so.


    1. National Education Association, Resolution B-6, 1998- 99.

    2. United States Department of Education, Reducing Class Size: What Do We Know? SAI 98-3027 (May 1998), 6. < research.html>.

    3. National Conference of State Legislators, Class Size Reduction, (updated April 1, 1998) 1.

    4. West Ed Policy Support Program, “Class Size Update Page” (February-March 1998) quoted in Debra Viadero, “Small Classes: Popular, But Still Unproven,” Education Week 18 February 1998 < ew/vol-17/23class.h17>.

    5. Andrew J. Coulson, Human Life, Human Organization and Education, Education Policy Analysis Vol.2 No.9, 3 June 1994, 22 .

    6. Coulson, Human Life and Andrew J. Coulson, A Response to John Covaleskie, Education Policy Analysis Archives, Vol.2 No 12, 10 August 10 1994, 5.

    7. U.S. Dept. of Ed. Reducing, 2.

    8. National Conference of State Legislators, Class Size Reduction, 1.

    9. Julie Davis Bell, “Smaller=Better?” State Legislatures, (National Conference of State Legislatures, June 1998), 1.

    10. “Do More Teachers Mean Better Education?” Investor’s

      Business Daily 30 September 1998.

    11. Thomas Toch and Betsy Streisand, “Does Class Size Matter?” U.S. News and World Report, 13 October 1997.

    12. Eric A. Hanushek, The Evidence on Class Size, Occa- sional Paper Number 98-1 (Rochester, NY: W. Allen Wallis Institute of Political Economy, University of Rochester, 1998), 16.

    13. National Conference of State Legislators, “Class Size Reduction,” p. 1.

    14. Hanushek, Class Size, 19.

    15. John Gittelsohn, “Lessons from Japan,” Orange County Register 26 April 1998, as found in West Ed Policy Support Program, “Class Size Update.”

    16. Hanushek, Class Size, 26.

    17. U.S. Dept. of Ed. Reducing, 3-4.

    18. “Class Size Reduction: Lessons Learned from Experi- ence,” West Ed Policy Brief No. 23 (August 1998), 2.

    19. U.S. Dept. of Ed. Reducing, 4.

    20. U.S. Dept. of Ed. Reducing, 6-7.

    21. Viadero, “Small Classes,” Education Week

    22. Hanushek, Class Size, 27.

    23. Viadero, “Small Classes,” Education Week, 2.

    24. Hanushek, Class Size, 27-29.

    25. Viadero, “Small Classes,” Education Week 2.

    26. Hanushek, Class Size, 30.

27. Ibid., 31.

28. Ibid., 32.

29. Ibid., 30.

  1. State of Wisconsin, Department of Public Instruction, “Governor signs SAGE initiative into law!”, SAGE Newsletter, (September 1995), <http://>.

  2. U.S. Dept. of Ed. Reducing, 5-7.

  3. Joseph H. Quick, “The Wisdom of Investing in Class Size Reduction,” Wisconsin School News; reprinted by Madison School District, Wisconsin, (January 1998),

    <>, 1.

  4. U.S. Dept. of Ed. Reducing, 7.

  5. Scott Bean, California Department of Education, personal conversation with David Boze, EFF Research Analyst.

  6. Ken Hoover, “State Data Hint Smaller Classes Are Effective, Modest improvement noted on test scores,” San Francisco Chronicle 29 December 1998, ( archive/1998/12/29/MN6622.DTL).

  7. Toch and Streisand, “Class Size?,” U.S. News and World Report.

  8. Erica Olsen, “Class size reduction is not the answer to Nevada’s failing education system,” (Nevada Policy Research Institute, 3 February 1997) < issues/class_size.htm>.

  9. Toch and Streisand, “Class Size?,” U.S. News and World

    Report, 5. AND Viadero, “Small Classes,” Education Week, 2-3.

  10. Toch and Streisand, “Class Size?,” U.S. News and World Report 5.

  11. “Class Size: Lessons Learned,” West Ed No. 23, 4-5

  12. Ibid., 5.

  13. Julian Guthrie, “Teachers: One class size fits all,” San Francisco Examiner, 8 March 1998, 1 < cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/examiner/archive/1998/03/08/ NEWS5653.dtl>; Toch and Streisand, “Class Size ?,”

    U.S. News and World Report, 2.

  14. National Conference of State Legislators, “Class Size Reduction,” 2-3.

  15. Joetta Sack, “Critics Doubt Teacher Plan’s Effective- ness,” Education Week, 28 October 1998.

  16. Jay Mathews and Valerie Strauss, “Should Classes Be Smaller?,” Washington Post, December 1997: 1.

    <>; S. Paul Wright, Sandra P. Horn, and William L. Sanders, “Teacher and Classroom Context Effects on Student Achievement: Implications for Teacher Evaluation,” Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, Volume 11 (1997), 61.

  17. “Class Size: Lessons Learned,” West Ed No. 23, 8.

  18. U.S. Dept. of Ed. Reducing, 2.

  19. Hanushek, Class Size, 27.

    49. Ibid., 27.

    1. Toch and Streisand, “Class Size?,” U.S. News and World Report 5.

    2. U.S. Dept. of Ed. Reducing, 2; Toch and Streisand, “Class Size,” U.S. News and World Report, 4.

    3. Wright, Horn, and Sanders, “Teacher and Classroom Context Effects,” Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 57-62.

    4. John S. Barry and Rea S. Hederman Jr., Report Card on American Education: A State-by-State Analysis 1976- 1998, (American Legislative Exchange Council, December 1998), 39.

    5. Toch and Streisand, “Class Size?,” U.S. News and World Report, 4.