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Archive for April, 2013

Sine Die 2013

On Sunday, April 28th around 6:00 p.m. the gavel fell and the 105 day regular session was brought to a close. Almost as swiftly as the 2013 regular session ended, Gov. Inslee called for a special session to begin on Monday, May 13th in order to focus on three main issues:
1. An operating budget that makes a substantial down payment on education, but not on the backs of seniors or the poor;
2. A transportation plan that preserves funding for existing infrastructure projects and funds new projects; and
3. Important education policy measures to ensure that new education funding will achieve results.

LEV walked into the 2013 session with three priorities:

Work with the legislature to ensure the McCleary decision to fund basic education is upheld and utilized well.

LEV has advocated before and during the 2013 session that it is time to amply fund education and look towards new avenues for revenue in this state. As the operating budget continues to be crafted and debated we will be steadfast in our support of a system that fully pays for education, but not by cannibalizing vulnerable populations.

Prioritize the investments and funding in education that have been made to Washington’s students and have been proven effective.

LEV, along with our coalition partners, brought to the table vital legislation addressing accountability and access from early learning through higher education. So far we have had significant progress in:

  •         Early learning through SB 5595 and HB 1723
  •         Assisting persistently low achieving schools to be more accountable through SB 5329
  •         Alternative assessments for teacher certification HB1178
  •         Support for programs that close the opportunity gap, such as academic acceleration through HB 1642

Minimize the negative impact of discipline policies on students.

As a brand new issue, brought forward from the community, discussions around the discipline policies in our schools have come leaps and bounds. From an issue that was barely spoken of last session to now a rallying point for many legislators eager to end racial disparities and close the opportunity gap, there is still much work to be done this year and in future years. The bills tied to this issue have been labeled NTIB (necessary to implement the budget) and will be negotiated out during the special session.

The mini-interim between now and May 13th will send legislators back to their home districts for a few weeks. As LEV continues to advocate for the policy bills and budgets still in the works, this is your opportunity to connect with your individual legislators to remind them the impacts their choices make on you, your children, and your community. Look for more updates on budget progress and key policy bills, as well as how you can stay involved as the 30-day special session kicks off.

Posted in: Legislative session

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Top 5 Reasons We Can’t Wait to Meet Sen. Mike Johnston

Colorado State Senator Mike Johnston is a rising political star and an education inspiration, and he’s coming to speak at our 2013 LEV Breakfast. Here are five reasons why we can’t wait to hear from him:

  1. He’s lived what he’s talking about.Sen. Johnston was a high school English teacher in Greenville, Mississippi with the Teach for America program. After earning a master’s degree in education and a law degree, he returned to Colorado and started his career as a principal. There he lead two alternative high schools serving Colorado students held in state custody or living in group homes and detention centers.
  2. He’s committed to supporting great school leaders.Sen. Johnston is co-founder of New Leaders for New Schools, a national non-profit that recruits and trains urban principals.
  3. His work speaks for itself.His hard work in education and politics have earned him well-deserved accolades. In 2011, TIME Magazine ranked Mike among the “Top 40 Under 40 Rising Political Stars,” and Forbes Magazine listed him as one of the “7 Most Influential Educators” in 2010.
  4. He believes truth and hope go together.During his first year in office, Sen. Johnston championed the Great Teachers and Leaders Law, groundbreaking legislation that alters teacher evaluations by measuring student growth.
  5. He knows change is possible.In 2005, Sen. Johnston became the founding principal of MESA (Mapleton Expeditionary School of the Arts), a redesigned urban high school in the Mapleton Public Schools that made Colorado history by becoming the first public high school in which 100 percent of seniors were admitted to four-year colleges.

And if you need one more reason to come hear him speak at the 2013 LEV Breakfast, look forward to hearing inspirational lines like this:

We hope to see you there!

What: 2013 LEV Breakfast, featuring Keynote Speaker Senator Mike Johnston

When: May 16th, 7:30am – 8:45am

Where: Sheraton Seattle Hotel

RSVP today!

Posted in: Events

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