Gregoire signs education overhaul bill

OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire signed legislation Tuesday setting the state on course for potentially the biggest overhaul of public education in 30 years.

The new law rewrites and expands the definition of basic education to cover students in preschool through 12th grade, retools how money is distributed to schools and sets 2018 as the date all changes must be in place and funded.

The law also provides for longer school days, adds all-day kindergarten, gives high school students options to earn more credits and sets performance standards for students.

This is the first rewrite of the state’s definition of basic education since 1979.

Supporters called the legislation a solid framework for improving public schools while opponents focused on its lack of money to carry out the policies.

Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell, chairwoman of the Senate education committee, said the reforms provide rigor, accountability and change that will eventually make a difference.

“It is a significant bill that says to the people that when the resources are there, this is the model you will be funding,” she said.

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