Katie Mosehauer, Executive Director of Washington Appleseed, recently spoke with Steve Scher at KUOW about the new Washington state school discipline law, and how the changes affect schools, students, and parents.
Every year, thousands of Washington students are excluded from school. Students of color, low-income students, and special education students are disciplined at higher rates than other students, which contribute to Washington’s opportunity and achievement gaps. Higher rates of suspensions and expulsions lead to higher dropout rates, increases in grade repetition, and a rise in incarceration rates.
Earlier this year, the State Supreme Court ordered the Washington legislature to provide a plan by April 30, 2014 for fixing the state’s unconstitutional education funding system. The McCleary v. Washington decision found that the state was violating its constitutional obligation to amply fund basic education and gave lawmakers a 2018 deadline to fix this violation.
In a recent legal analysis of the case, Judge Phil Talmadge, former State Supreme Court Justice (1995–2001), wrote that the Court’s decision to “retain jurisdiction to monitor legislative compliance” represents “uncharted waters” for the state. Judge Talmadge lays out a number of potential outcomes in his analysis of this legislative-judicial battle over school funding, writing: “The issue presented here is not one of whether the Court has the power… to order compliance with its McCleary opinion. It does. The more basic and nuanced question is whether it is wise to exercise that power.” (more…)
At the League of Education Voters (LEV), we recognize all of the hard work that you do toward improving public education across Washington state. We are pleased to announce our Activists of the Month for April: Sarah Butcher, Jennifer Karls, and Beth Sigall. Read more about their experiences as strong advocates for special education.
Sarah Butcher, Jennifer Karls, and Beth Sigall are strong advocates for public education in Washington state. Sarah and Jennifer formed the Bellevue Special Needs PTA in 2012, where Jennifer serves as President and Sarah as co-Vice President. Beth serves as the Vice President of Advocacy for the Lake Washington PTSA Council. (more…)
Beth Richer first worked with the League of Education Voters (LEV) as a consultant with the Youth & Families Initiative. She returned full-time in 2010 after managing Rep. Marcie Maxwell’s (successful) re-election campaign to help LEV grow and build relationships with Washington legislators. While at LEV, Beth’s work focused primarily on issues that directly correlate with closing the opportunity and achievement gaps for Washington’s students.
Beth recently left our organization to take a position as the Senior Advocate Engagement Manager at Health Advocacy Strategies, an organization that focuses on bringing in patients as advocates and emphasizing an authentic patient voice in biotechnology and pharmaceutical marketing. (more…)
Posted in: Blog, LEV News
During the 2013 legislative session, many of you helped us pass a law (SB 5946) that makes school discipline data public and limits the number of days that students can be removed from class.
That was the first step in transforming school discipline policies. Now it’s time to take another.
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is inviting public comment on its implementation of the new law.
There are a few ways you can get involved. (more…)
By Beth Sigall
Beth Sigall with her family. Clockwise from top left: Beth, Anthony, Jule, Thomas, and Joseph.
Today as we observe World Autism Day, there is much to celebrate in our 14-year-old son Anthony’s life. Our journey began in 2002 with an autism diagnosis a few days shy of his third birthday. Like many parents, we were filled with more questions than answers, lots of anxiety, but a singular determination that together, somehow, we would figure this out so that our son could live a meaningful, productive, and enriching life.
We’ve faced many challenges since then. Learning to communicate, to do basic living skills, attend school, be part of a family, and just be a kid—all these things required countless hours of work by and with Anthony. Today he is an energetic teenager who loves to play Minecraft, take long and rigorous hikes with anyone who can keep up with him, do comedy improv, play piano, and hang out with his brothers and cousins.
Just a few weeks ago Anthony learned to do something ordinary, but for him and for many people with autism, it was extraordinary: he learned how to take public transportation. (more…)