• Reduce class size. The state already is working to reduce elementary school class size via a citizen-approved initiative. Gregoire's new plan would send districts money to hire more middle and high school math and science teachers, with the goal of having one teacher per 25 students. Cost: $90 million.I have a better solution. We teachers are always grousing about parental involvement, and wondering why folks can't be more accountable. Want to see test scores go up? Promise parents a $1000 tax break when their lovable lump passes the WASL, at an overall cost of $82 million per annum. In two years, math scores will rise like rent on Boardwalk.
• Recruit 750 more math and science teachers, including faculty who are teaching other subjects and didn't major in math and science in college. Additional college and teacher training would be available.
• Offer math and science scholarships to college students who agree to teach in those areas. Cost is $14 million.
• Pay annual bonuses of $5,000 to nationally certified teachers who teach in a "challenging" school and another $5,000 if they teach math or science. Currently, 900 teachers have this extra certification.
• Expand the alternative path to certification for non-teachers in the private sector who are experts in math and science, or paraprofessionals.
The professional development proposals total $62 million.
• Provide hands-on science learning for 1,000 K-8 classrooms, using the Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform (LASER) program. Cost is $12 million.
• Provide extra help to students who are struggling with the WASLs. Gregoire proposes $12 million.
• Standardize math curricula across the state.