What happened in Olympia this week

This week was a busy one in Olympia. LEV staff worked with our coalition partners on a number of bills to ensure that all Washington students receive an excellent public education, from cradle to career. LEV’s priority bills include:

SB5237 – 3rd Grade Reading

Requires school districts to provide academic supports for students who do not pass the third grade reading assessment. LEV worked with our partners in the Equity in Education Coalition, and Senators Dammeier and Rolfes to ensure that the bill requires collaboration between the district, parents, and teachers to determine the best option for each child.

SB5243 – Academic Acceleration

Requires each district to adopt an academic acceleration policy for high school students, establishes an incentive program to support costs associated with implementing the program, and requires OSPI to collect and post program data on the Washington state report card.  LEV and Stand for Children worked with our colleagues in the Black Education Strategy Roundtable to highlight the work and experiences of the Federal Way School District, where a similar policy is in place.

SB5244 – School Discipline

Limits school suspensions and expulsions to a year and requires disaggregated discipline data to be on the OSPI websiteWSSDA will create a model policy for districts, and schools must work with students and parents to create a student re-entry plan. LEV worked with a broad coalition of community groups, including TeamChild and Washington Appleseed, on this important issue.

SB5329 – State Superintendent District

Establishes the State Superintendent District as a statewide school district of persistently struggling schools to allow a transformation of school governance, staffing, leadership, and management. LEV worked with the ESN Coalition to ensure our state maintains its waiver from the draconian No Child Left Behind Act. This act will require that districts take action when they have a persistently low performing school.

HB1723 – Early Start

Helps build an integrated early learning system, including preschool, child care, and services for at-risk infants using existing funding sources more effectively. Details of the system would be left up to a taskforce with the overall goal of building a comprehensive system for children zero to 5 years old. LEV worked with Representative Kagi and our partners in the Early Learning Action Alliance to pass this bill out of the House a hearing is scheduled in the Senate on Friday March 15 at 8:30 am.

HB1671 – Child Care

Improves the child care system for low-income children and increases the quality of child care these children receive by improving the Working Connections Child Care program, a program that provides child care to low-income parents who are working or in school. LEV worked with Representative  Kagi and our partners in the Early Learning Action Alliance to support these critical reforms.

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