This afternoon the House Higher Education Committee met for both a public hearing and a work session.
Public Hearing – HB 2158
The Committee heard the first bill of the special session – House Bill 2158. The bill adds Project Lead-the-Way examinations to the examinations that may be taken in high school to demonstrate college-level skills and for the purpose of meeting certain lower division general education or postsecondary professional technical education requirements.
Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a non-profit organization that offers Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) education curricular programs used in middle and high schools across the U.S. The PLTW programs engage students in activities, projects, and problembased learning which provides hands-on classroom experiences and allows students to create, discover, collaborate and solve problems and apply what they learn in math and science.
The Committee focused an hour long work session on two critical issues for higher education: (1) student outcomes and (2) state and federal work study programs.
Earlier in December the Washington Education Research & Data Center (ERDC), a part of the Office of Financial Management, launched a dashboard that focuses on student outcomes for Washington’s public baccalaureate institutions.
This afternoon the Committee received an overview of the dashboard from the authors including staff of the ERDC and Council of Presidents.
The Committee engaged with the authors of the dashboard in a conversation about the vision legislators have for the dashboard. Legislators commented to the need to be able to view data for education from a systematic point of view, the need for data that shows the connection between student choice and institutional markets, where are students employed after graduation, and financial-related data for students, state funding, and institutional expenses.
State and Federal Work Study Programs
For the second part of the work session the Committee focused on better understanding both state and fedeal work study programs. The Higher Education Coordinating Board provided in-depth overview of the two programs and their impact on students.