I caught Rich Semler's appearance [mp3, 20:00 in] on the Dori Monson Show (Frank Shiers filling in) on KIRO this afternoon, and was impressed by his good humor, quick wit, and overall amiableness. I liked how Semler stressed the difference between being anti-WASL and anti-assessment. We can use less expensive, just as reliable instruments to get the results we need.
In an important interchange, Shiers asked Semler how he'd reform the WASL. A few steps:
1. Smarter use of multiple choice.
2. Get it back to teachers in 2-3 days.
3. 2-3 hour test, instead of days.
4. Testing complex thinking without taking 12-14 questions per student.
5. "Mime" systems like Delaware's.
It didn't help so much that Shiers, who's otherwise well-versed in educational issues, wasn't aware that Terry Bergeson is actually in the running, which perfectly illustrates the primary problem Semler faces. The Superintendent of Public Instruction just doesn't register on the average voter's radar.
If Semler can overcome that hurdle--and here, the ongoing publicity efforts by the WEA should help--he has a decent shot at an incumbent whose popular support, such as it is, weakens daily.