Apparently, state Senate Minority Leader Mike Hewitt (R-Walla Walla) didn’t get the message that the phrase “stay the course” is so yesterday.
At an Associated Press Legislative Forum held this morning in Olympia, Pete Callaghan of the Tacoma News Tribune asked the panel whether there was any “resistance” to Gov. Chris Gregoire’s proposal to delay the math WASL as a requirement for graduation. House Speaker Frank Chopp (D-Seattle) said he supported the governor’s proposal. But at around the 31:10 mark, Sen. Hewitt disagreed:
“Our caucus, and I think probably the House caucus as well, will tell you that we want to stay the course. The WASL scores are increasing, as are the math scores.”
That’s it. No problem here. Nothing to look at. Sure, a huge percentage of the state’s high school seniors are about to be denied a diploma, keeping them out of college and higher paying jobs, but… you know… stay the course.
To be fair, as Sen. Hewitt continues, he starts to sound a bit more nuanced, arguing that we need to evaluate the issue district by district. “One shoe does not fit all,” Sen. Hewitt tells the audience. But the question was straight forward: do you support the governor’s proposal to delay the math WASL requirement? And apparently, according to Sen. Hewitt, the official GOP position is “no.”
Whatever the merits of standards based teaching, something’s clearly not working right here in WA state. And to simply respond with “stay the course” in the face of a growing anti-WASL backlash is the kind of head-in-the-sand policy orthodoxy that has landed Sen. Hewitt and his fellow Republicans firmly in the minority.