Tacoma-based Russell Investment Group played a big part in bringing about a independent review of the state’s discredited math portion of the WASL. (Our editorial on the review will be posted here Friday morning.)
Fred Kiga, director of corporate and government relations for Russell, confirms that the company donated $50,000 for the review. The donation, channeled through the business-backed school reform group Partnership for Learning, helped prod the Legislature to act.
An objective assessment was essential. The math WASL blew up last year when only 57 percent of the state’s 10th-graders passed the test. The consensus was that the test was faulty and that the math curriculum in many school district’s don’t align with the WASL math standards. (Editorial). So the Legislature suspended the math part of the WASL graduation requirement for three years.
Russell sought no publicity for the donation. Kiga said the company’s goal was to contribute in a way that would have a real impact in improving public education in Washington. Kiga, by the way, is currently president of the University of Washington board of regents.