Locke: Jettison WASL for social studies, art, health, phys ed

OLYMPIA — Washington should junk plans to require tests in social studies, art, health and listening for high school graduation, Gov. Gary Locke said Monday.

He called for increased focus on reading, writing, math and science.

North Olympic Peninsula school district officials contacted on Presidents Day were unfazed by Locke’s stance, saying an assessment test of some kind is necessary to hold students accountable.

Locke said wants the Legislature to amend the law that calls for students to pass Washington Assessment of Student Learning — or WASL — tests in listening, reading, writing and math to earn high school diplomas, beginning in with the class of 2008.

Charlie McClain, Port Angeles School District board chairman, said it does not appear that Locke is changing his stance significantly.

“There has to be some sort of assessment for students so students can come out of high school on a level playing field,” said McClain, who supports WASL testing.

Elna Kawal, Sequim School District board chairwoman, said she agrees with Locke’s position.

“Special consideration needs be made for students with documented problems with taking tests like WASL,” Kawal said, adding that she hoped more state funding would be allowed for additional testing.

Kawal said she supports maintaining the examination.

“I do feel that kids need to be held accountable in order for them to get their diploma,” she said. “And that’s starting with the fundamentals and basics.”

Carol Andreasen, Port Townsend School District superintendent, said Locke appears to be following the federal government’s policies on education as they apply to reading and math.

“He’s not really saying throw WASL out entirely because you have to have it in place,” Andresen said.


The rest of the story appears in the Tuesday Peninsula Daily News. Click on SUBSCRIBE to get the PDN delivered to your home or office.

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