Testimony to the House Education Committee, January 9, 2006

By Juanita Doyon


Representative Quall, Members of the Committee,


I am Juanita Doyon.  I represent Parent Empowerment Network. I am the director of this statewide nonprofit organization that is dedicated to improving communication between home and school and helping parents find what their children need in their local public schools.


Thank you for the opportunity to voice the concerns of parents.  I have been an involved public school parent for 20 years and have been involved in school reform since its inception in 1993. I have watched school reform morph into its current state where reform has become WASL.


For the record:  Members of my organization believe in high expectations and high standards. We are not “whining parents,” as newspaper editors have recently characterized us. We are involved, knowledgeable parents who know our children and their schools and teachers. We support public schools and realize that they are overburdened by this thing called WASL.


WASL is a flawed, inappropriate, cruel test.  Every day I hear from parents telling me how WASL has taken over the lives of their students, teachers and schools.


I need to ask you a question:  Do you trust parents and teachers at all?


I am concerned that it has taken the state superintendent 12 years to develop plans to help students who are at the lowest levels on WASL.  I don’t understand why, after 12 years of school reform, the state superintendent is still saying that students are graduating without being able to read or do basic math. Math in this state is a mess, and it is because it is WASL math.


Parent Empowerment network cannot support the governor’s $38 million or the state superintendent’s $42.5 million proposals to help struggling students, when these monies are to be focused on WASL preparation.


This past summer, I had the opportunity to work with teachers in Snohomish School District.  I asked them to raise their hand if they believed WASL should be a graduation requirement. Not one hand in that lunchroom full of teachers went up!  The voices you must listen to are those of parents and teachers!  Thank you.