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* SCC testifies on remedial education bill

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State Rep. Larry Seaquist listens to testimony Monday, Jan. 30, 2011.

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The House Higher Education Committee voted 15-1 on Monday, Jan. 30, 2011 to send a bill encouraging innovative approaches in remedial education moving along the legislative conveyor belt.

House Bill 2717 is the brainchild of committee chairman Rep. Larry Seaquist. The Gig Harbor lawmaker took his committee on the road this past summer for a series of meetings, or chautauquas, across the state.  “This bill emerges from our summer’s work,” said Seaquist, noting that he and committee members saw many examples of innovative approaches. “And we saw how many more people we ought to be educating than we are educating right now.”

Shoreline Community College President Lee Lambert and faculty member Amy Kinsel testified at the hearing.

Lambert shared examples of how Shoreline is innovating to get better outcomes for students in remedial math and holding down the cost for those students. Lambert said the programs reflect the college’s focus on four core values, including: affordability, accessibility, accountability and outcomes.

“We look to see if they are accomplishing one of those four broad principles,” Lambert said.

Kinsel spoke of the collaborative support between faculty and administration at the college. “... being an incubator of ideas at the faculty level, it’s great to have the support of the administration,” she said.

Kinsel is also the faculty union representative at Shoreline and a legislative liaison for the Washington chapter of the American Federation of Teachers. AFT-Washington and Kinsel submitted suggested language that would specifically include faculty and students in discussion about innovative approaches. Seaquist offered an amendment to include the suggested language that was approved by the committee and included in the bill as passed.

Also testifying was Michelle Andreas, Director of Student Services & Transfer Education for the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. Andreas noted the many innovation projects already being undertaken by colleges across the state. She suggested that the bill’s reporting requirements overlap with an ongoing efficiencies study and that the two could be folded together. The only vote against the bill was Rep. Chris Reykdal, a former state board staff member.

Others testifying included Zach Johnson of Blackboard, Inc., which provides Shoreline’s learning management system and other online services, as well as representatives from the University of Washington and Western Washington University.

Just prior to the committee vote that pushes the bill along to the House Ways & Means Committee, Rep. Seaquist said, “Sometimes we are so focused on budget, it is important to remember we have an important agenda to foster innovation.”

SCC/Jim Hills

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