Friday, March 9, 2012

New Student Achievement Council duties outlined in legislation passed Thursday

A bill establishing a new Student Achievement Council effective July 1, 2012 to replace the Higher Education Coordinating Board was approved by the Legislature on Thursday, the last day of the regular legislative session.
E2SHB 2483 establishes a nine-member council to provide focus and purpose for the goals of increasing educational attainment in Washington, including transitions from secondary to postsecondary and between and among postsecondary institutions.
Many of the HECB’s duties and functions, as well as current staff, are carried forward to the new council. The bill gives the Governor authority to appoint the five citizen council members and to appoint the executive director from a list of three candidates submitted by the council.
The five citizen council members appointed by the Governor will have experience and knowledge of higher education. One of the citizen members is to be a student who will serve a one-year term. The rest of the council members will serve four-year terms.
Also serving on the council will be a representative from the four-year public universities chosen by the presidents of those institutions and a representative of the state’s community and technical college system chosen by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.
 A representative of an independent, nonprofit higher education institution selected by an association of independent non-profit institutions, and a representative of the state’s K-12 system selected by the Superintendent of Public Instruction in consultation with the Department of Early Learning and the state Board of Education round out the membership.
The mission and purpose of the council is to:
·         Propose to the Governor and Legislature goals for increasing educational attainment in Washington, recommend the resources necessary to achieve the goals, and monitor progress toward meeting the goals.
·         Propose to the Governor and the Legislature and the state’s educational institutions improvements and innovations needed to adapt the state’s educational institutions to evolving educational needs.
·         Advocate for higher education through various means, with the goal of educating the general public on the economic, social and civic benefits of postsecondary education and the consequent need for increased financial support.
The bill also creates a joint higher education committee of the Legislature to review the work of the Student Achievement Council and to provide legislative feedback, engage with the council and the higher education community on creating greater communication, coordination, and alignment between the system and expectations of the Legislature, and to provide recommendations for higher education policy.

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