Community News

We reached the end of our first special session Thursday and budget negotiations are proceeding fairly slowly. The Governor called for a second special session.

One issue drawing national and statewide attention is the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). President George W. Bush’s education reform initiative has proven to be deeply flawed and is in desperate need of revision. For far too long, congressional deadlock hampered any progress towards updating NCLB. U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Lamar Alexander recently joined forces and reached a bipartisan agreement on a rewrite of No Child Left Behind. Their proposal is called the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015.

The majority of schools in the U.S. and Washington were deemed “failing” by NCLB standards and sanctions were set to take effect. Most states received temporary waivers from the federal government so as to avoid punitive sanctions. In order to receive those waivers, states had to adhere to a number of federal policy demands. Our state chose not to give in to those demands with the belief that education policy is best handled at the state and local levels. As a result, our waiver was revoked and certain financial restrictions were applied to school districts.

Good news for Washington

With the Every Child Achieves Act, the sanctions and the need for waivers will disappear. This means no more requirements for using student test data in teacher/principal evaluation, no more set aside restrictions, no more waivers, and no more federally-imposed policy demands.

Instead of the negative reinforcement approach to education policy used by NCLB, the Every Child Achieves Act uses positive reinforcements to improve student outcomes.

Key Concepts of the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015

  1. Ends federal overreach into education policy: The bill acknowledges that states along with school districts have the primary responsibility for education.
  2. Flexibility: It provides flexibility for states to design and deliver a robust education that meets the needs of each individual state.
  3. Accountability: The bill maintains strong accountability systems, the details of which are determined by the states.

Under the act, minimum standards would be set by the federal government, but it’ll be primarily up to states to develop policies and systems that provide opportunities to learn for all students. It gives states the flexibility they need to create accountability systems that provide pathways to success for all students. While standardized testing would remain a requirement, they will no longer be used to impose sanctions. States will have much more flexibility to design testing systems and to determine how those test results would be used.

The new law would maintain the use of disaggregated data – a vital component to ensuring we collect information for all students so policymakers can make better-informed decisions. The bill also includes a grant program to improve low-performing schools.

The Every Child Achieves Act was approved unanimously by the U.S. Senate committee that oversees education policy. It now heads to the Senate floor in Washington, DC, for consideration.

For more information on the act:

Ferries

I have heard concerns from many constituents over the last few months about using the ferry system. Washington State Ferries instituted a reservation system back in January and issues have emerged as the system has rolled out. As a ferry-goer myself, I understand that they are one of the few modes of transport available, and are vital to traveling between islands and the mainland. They also play an important role in the islands’ economies with the business they bring. Please know that we’re in the process of identifying and resolving the issues that have surfaced since January. It may take time but I am committed to working with WSDOT and the Ferry Advisory Committee to help iron out the kinks. If you have concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or the Ferry Advisory Committee (http://www.co.san-juan.wa.us/committees/fac/fac-feedback.aspx).

COVID-19 Cases in Skagit County

573 Skagit Cases (+42
<30 Cases in ZIP 98221

61 Hospitalizations (+0)
16 Deaths (+0)
454 Recovered
13,227 Tested
4.3% Positive

39,218 Cases Statewide (+638)
4,662 Hospitalizations (+0)

1,424 Deaths Statewide (+15)
668,466 Total Tests Statewide
5.9% Positive

Updated 7:00 pm July 10, 2020.

Our Coronavirus page is updated each morning.

County Map: Confirmed COVID-19 cases by ZIP code in Skagit County. Updated weekly.

Sources: Skagit County Public Health, Washington State Department of Health, New York Times

Restaurants open for take out or delivery. Anacortes Chamber of Commerce list.

Community Events