(1) The legislature finds that an effective educational accountability system is premised on creating and maintaining partnerships between the state and local school district boards of directors. The legislature also recognizes it takes time to make significant changes that are sustainable over the long term in an educational system that serves more than one million students from diverse communities.
(2) The legislature further finds that it is the state's responsibility to create a coherent and effective accountability framework for the continuous improvement of all schools and school districts. This system must provide an excellent and equitable education for all students, an aligned federal and state accountability system, and the tools necessary for schools and school districts to be accountable. These tools include accounting and data reporting systems, assessment systems to monitor student achievement, and a comprehensive system of differentiated support, targeted assistance, and, if necessary, intervention.
(3) The office of the superintendent of public instruction is responsible for developing and implementing the accountability tools to build district capacity and working within federal and state guidelines. The legislature assigned the state board of education responsibility and oversight for creating an accountability framework. This framework provides a unified system of support for challenged schools that aligns with basic education, increases the level of support based upon the magnitude of need, and uses data for decisions. Such a system will identify schools and their districts for recognition as well as for additional state support.
(4) For a specific group of persistently lowest-achieving schools and their districts, it is necessary to provide a required action process that creates a partnership between the state and local district to target funds and assistance to turn around the identified schools. The legislature finds that state takeover of persistently lowest-achieving schools is unlikely to produce long-term improvement in student achievement because takeover is an unsustainable approach to school governance and an inadequate response to addressing the underlying barriers to improved outcomes for all students. However, in the rare case of a persistently lowest-achieving school that continues to fail to improve even after required action and supplemental assistance, it is appropriate and necessary to assign the superintendent of public instruction the responsibility to intercede, provide robust technical assistance, and direct the necessary interventions. Even though the superintendent of public instruction continues to work in partnership with the local school board, the superintendent of public instruction is accountable for assuring that adequate steps are taken to improve student achievement in these schools.
(5) Phase I of this accountability system will recognize schools that have done an exemplary job of raising student achievement and closing the achievement gaps using the Washington achievement index adopted by the state board of education. The state board of education shall have ongoing collaboration with the educational opportunity gap oversight and accountability committee regarding the measures used to measure the closing of the achievement gaps and recognition provided to the school districts for closing the achievement gaps. Phase I will also target the lowest five percent of persistently lowest-achieving schools defined under federal guidelines to provide federal funds and federal intervention models through a voluntary option in 2010, and for those who do not volunteer and have not improved student achievement, a required action process beginning in 2011.
(6) Phase II of this accountability system will work toward implementing the Washington achievement index for identification of challenged schools in need of improvement, including those that are not Title I schools, and the use of state and local intervention models and federal and state funds through a comprehensive system of differentiated support, targeted assistance, and intervention beginning in the 2014-15 school year. If federal approval of the Washington achievement index is not obtained, the federal guidelines for identifying schools will continue to be used. If it ever becomes necessary, a process is established to assign responsibility to the superintendent of public instruction to intervene in persistently lowest-achieving schools that have failed to improve despite required action.
(7) The expectation from implementation of this accountability system is the improvement of student achievement for all students to prepare them for postsecondary education, work, and global citizenship in the twenty-first century.