Seize the Opportunity
Washington State is facing a crisis and an opportunity. The current budget still underfunds the state’s paramount duty to basic education by nearly two billion dollars and our higher education and early learning systems are also under resourced.
The League of Education Voters’ primary focus in the upcoming session will be on making progress toward funding solutions for the entirety of public education and ensuring successful implementation of legislation LEV has been a part of establishing in the past.
LEV’s overarching goal is to ensure ample, equitable, stable funding that supports the best P-20 education system in the United States and to begin progress addressing vexing issues that keep low-income students and students of color from succeeding in school. We will work to ensure that solutions do not imperil other critical public investments.
The recent ruling by the Supreme Court in the McCleary decision, instructing the legislature to both fully fund basic education and address the structure of how basic education is funded, provides the opportunity to rethink and revise the status quo.
Priorities for Funding
We must prioritize the investments and commitments that have been made to Washington’s students. These are the investments that: prepare our earliest learners to enter the K-12 system ready to learn; build an accountable system in K-12; lead to a meaningful high school diploma preparing our students to be career and college ready; support the completion of higher education or career training to contribute to Washington’s economy. Specifically, we will work on:
- Meeting the demand and access for quality early learning programs
- Full-day Kindergarten implementation
- Creation of meaningful 24 credit high school diploma
- Continued support for quality professional development for educators and successful implementation of the new teacher and principal evaluation system.
- A transparent and effective accountability framework for K-12 investments.
- Implementation of the Common Core State Standards and assessments
- Protect student aid and expand access to quality post-secondary opportunities
Minimize Negative Impact of Discipline Policies on Students
Research shows students who receive out of school suspensions and expulsions are at a dramatically increased risk of dropping out. School discipline policies, including zero-tolerance policies, should not put students at a greater educational disadvantage. We believe the state should:
- Collect and make publicly available data broken down by race and income.
- End indefinite expulsions from school. When students are expelled they lose their constitutional right to a free, public education.