Sent: Thursday, April 08, 2004 10:24 PM
Subject: [wa-ed-deform] Doyon Stand

Challenger promises to jettison WASL

Thursday, April 8, 2004
By AMY McFALL PRINCE, Columbian staff writer

Juanita Doyon, candidate for state superintendent of public instruction, has a short to-do list with a tall order.

    First on the list is to oust two-term Superintendent Terry Bergeson.

    Second is to do away with the Washington Assessment of Student Learning, commonly known as WASL.

    Doyon made her first trip to Vancouver on Tuesday to talk with about a dozen parents about their rights to opt their children out of taking the standardized test. She is the founder of Mothers Against WASL, a group dedicated to lobbying against the test, which students will take later this month.

    Bergeson has held her seat since 1996, leading the implementation of education reform in schools, the WASL being a large part of that.

    Doyon, 43, is a Spanaway resident who said her experience as a mother, a public speaker and an education activist qualify her for the job. She does not hold a college degree.

    Doyon said Bergeson has allowed business groups to have too much control over state education decisions.

    "OSPI, the state board, the Legislature and local school boards should have control," she said. "Not the Partnership for Learning and the A+ Commission." Education, she said, "has been taken out of the hands of parents and teachers."

    Doyon's fight against the WASL could get difficult if she doesn't win the state's top education seat. The test is used to measure schools' success in meeting federal standards. Starting in four years, passing the 10th-grade test will be a state graduation requirement.

    And earlier this week the state announced that test scores will appear on student transcripts starting with this year's 10th-grade class. At the same time, the University of Washington announced it would consider test scores when awarding scholarships.

    So what would happen to students whose parents take Doyon's advice and opt their children out of testing?

    "I have to believe that I will be in the superintendent's office next year, and it won't be an issue anymore," she said.

    Bergeson spokeswoman Shirley Skidmore said there isn't a clear answer to the question yet. "I think our answer now would be that you don't earn a diploma unless you pass the test or take some kind of alternative," Skidmore said.

    Doyon and Bergeson have filed for candidacy with the state's Public Disclosure Commission along with Arthur Hu of Kirkland. Hu said Wednesday he is unsure whether he will continue to run for the seat.

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