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Archive for September, 2014

Parent engagement is key

Maria EstradaThe League of Education Voters’ September Activist of the Month, Maria Estrada, submitted a guest op-ed to the Seattle Times that was published this morning: “New graduation rules will help all parents get more involved.”

An excerpt from the op-ed is below:

Parent engagement is key to helping students make good decisions about their future and successfully achieve their dreams, particularly during students’ high school experiences.

But for me, parent engagement isn’t just about what I can do for my daughter. It’s also about what I can do to benefit all children.

My daughter Paulina and I moved to Washington from Mexico a few years ago. The language barrier made it difficult for me to understand how the school system worked or what classes my daughter was enrolled in.

Parents need to be engaged, but they also need accessible information about their child’s education. From personal experience, I can tell you that remaining engaged in your child’s education isn’t possible when you’re struggling to understand complex, bureaucratic information in a foreign language.

Read the entire article on the Seattle Times website.

Posted in: Advocacy and Activism, Blog, Career and College Ready Diploma, LEV News

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Summer Internship Profile: Raymond Fenton

The League of Education Voters (LEV) benefits from the help, expertise, and hard work of summer interns. We recently interviewed our field intern, Raymond Fenton, who is pursuing his degree at Lewis & Clark College. Read more about his background and his experience at LEV, in his own words.

Raymond Fenton during his internship at the League of Education Voters.

Raymond Fenton during his internship at the League of Education Voters.

What was the focus of your internship at LEV?

As an intern, I did a lot of basic administrative work, like answering phones, taking messages, and documentation. However, I also had the opportunity to work on high-stakes tasks. For example, I played a major role in the preparation and support for the State Board of Education’s public hearing on the rules for the College and Career Ready Diploma and the Parents Partnering in Education Summit in Sunnyside, Washington.

Preparing for these events included inter-departmental meetings, and a lot of planning, visual design, and interpersonal communication on my part. While at the events, along with making sure that everything was running as planned, I took photos and live-tweeted. I also prepared for these events through blogging, sending press releases, and sending email blasts.

While interning, I also conducted research and wrote reports for LEV’s policy and field departments. In one of these reports, I had the opportunity to use both my quantitative and qualitative analysis skills to analyze each presenter’s success after the Parents Partnering in Education Summit.

Toward the end of my internship, I had the chance to create a strategic plan to launch an ad campaign. That was fun, difficult, and confusing at the same time, but it allowed me to start relationship building with other organizations around early learning. Finally, I brushed up on my interviewing and data collection skills through story-banking exercises as well as through some videography work. (more…)

Posted in: Blog, Career and College Ready Diploma, Closing the Gaps, LEV News

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Chris Korsmo discusses McCleary with Kiro 7’s Essex Porter

CEO Chris Korsmo was interviewed by Kiro 7's Porter Essex regarding the McCleary contempt ruling on September 11.

CEO Chris Korsmo was interviewed by Kiro 7’s Porter Essex regarding the McCleary contempt ruling on September 11.

The League of Education Voters’ CEO Chris Korsmo was interviewed by Kiro 7’s Essex Porter about the Washington State Supreme Court’s contempt ruling in the McCleary v. State of Washington case yesterday.

Regarding the contempt ruling, Chris said: “We know the opportunity, we know the urgency, we know the obligation. Let’s give the state the opportunity to make good on their word to do something this session.”

While the League of Education Voters was not a plaintiff in the McCleary case, the foundation did file an amicus brief in January 2012.

Watch the entire clip on the Kiro 7 website.

Posted in: Blog, Funding, LEV News, Media Clips

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Education funding on TVW

League of Education Voters CEO Chris Korsmo and Stand for Children Executive Director Dave Powell chat with Austin Jenkins for TVW's Inside Olympia program on September 11, 2014.

League of Education Voters CEO Chris Korsmo and Stand for Children Executive Director Dave Powell chat with Austin Jenkins for TVW’s Inside Olympia program.

The League of Education Voters’ CEO Chris Korsmo and Stand for Children Washington’s Executive Director Dave Powell sat down with Austin Jenkins yesterday to discuss education funding and reform on TVW’s Inside Olympia program.

In particular, Chris and Austin chatted about the League of Education Voters wish to redefine “basic education” to include early learning and higher education.

View the discussion below or on the TVW website.


Posted in: Blog, Funding, LEV News, Media Clips

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Statement from Chris Korsmo on the McCleary v. State of Washington contempt ruling

Chris Korsmo, CEO, League of Education VotersEchoing the frustration displayed at last week’s McCleary v. Washington show-cause hearing, today the Washington Supreme Court made their expectations of the State Legislature clear. The Court demanded a funding plan for public education by the end of the 2015 legislative session.

The ruling makes what was going to be an important legislative session an urgent session.

Last week the legislature asked the Court for time­—the 2015 session—to develop a funding plan. Today, they got the time.

This is a critical turning point on whether the state is going to make good on its constitutionally mandated duty to fully fund public education in our state with ample, equitable, and stable resources.

Posted in: Blog, Funding, LEV News, Press Releases & Statements

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Summer Internship Profile: Taylor Beach

The League of Education Voters (LEV) benefits from the help, expertise, and hard work of summer interns. We recently interviewed one of our policy interns, Taylor Beach, who just completed a Master’s of Education Policy at the University of Washington. Read more about her background and her experience at LEV, in her own words.

Taylor Beach hikes at Mt. Rainier.

Taylor Beach hikes at Mt. Rainier.

What was the focus of your internship at LEV?

During my internship with LEV, I focused my efforts on two main topics: early learning and school discipline. My mentor, Policy Analyst Tracy Sherman, invited me to attend related meetings, and I was able to start assessing the early learning and discipline environments across the state.

My internship resulted in two deliverables: first, a directory of schools across the state that use discipline practices other than suspensions and expulsions; and second, a two-page briefing report that describes positive and preventative disciplinary practices succinctly. The intent of both of these instruments is to provide information to legislators and community members about a potential discipline bill that may be considered next session. (more…)

Posted in: Blog, LEV News, School Discipline

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Back to school: The excitement, the disappointments, and the magic. (It’s ok to be nervous.)

By Emma Margraf

An empty classroomI have always loved September. I love the warmth of the end of summer, I love new backpacks and pencils and notebooks… I love the promise, and the hope and the possibility. As Jane gets new books for new classes I get excited and say, “Oh boy! YOU get to read THIS!” and she rolls her eyes.

But the reality of back-to-school time has never lived up to my expectations. So my hopes for Jane and the new school year might be a little misguided. (more…)

Posted in: Blog, Closing the Gaps

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Statement from Chris Korsmo, CEO: McCleary v. State of Washington show cause hearing

While our State Supreme Court and Legislature quibble over missed education funding deadlines, Washington state’s 10-year achievement gap continues to grow in all grade levels in reading and math.

At the League of Education Voters, we support an ample, equitable, and stable education funding plan. When the re-definition of “basic education” (upon which McCleary v. Washington is based) was developed in 2009, we advocated, unsuccessfully, that the definition should also include early learning and higher education.

We need a definition of basic education that puts students and their learning at the center.

The current definition of basic education doesn’t meet the needs of today’s students, let alone the needs of our future students.

We can and must do better for Washington’s students.

The League of Education Voters (LEV) is a non-partisan, nonprofit statewide organization working to improve public education from early learning through higher education with ample, equitable, and stable resources.

Posted in: Blog, Funding, LEV News, Press Releases & Statements

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Activist of the Month: Maria Estrada

Maria Estrada testifies in Olympia on the new discipline law in April 2014.

Maria Estrada testifies in Olympia on the new discipline law in April 2014.

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 Activist of the Month for September: Maria Estrada. Read more about her experience as an advocate for all kids, including her daughter, Paulina Zepeda (our March 2014 Activist of the Month).

Maria Estrada believes in parent engagement. She believes in it so strongly that she’s worked with Donald Bender, Migrant Academic Service Coordinator for ESD 105, to write a series of curricula on parent engagement. But it’s one thing to write curricula and another entirely to take action on it. Maria testified at the public hearing at the State Board of Education meeting in Spokane in July on that very topic.

Maria says that parent engagement is key to student success. “When parents are engaged, they can help their children make decisions about their future and successfully achieve their dreams. Parents should trust their children and love them, of course, but they also need to stay engaged. In doing that, they not only help their own children, they help all children.” (more…)

Posted in: Activist of the Month, Advocacy and Activism, Closing the Gaps, LEV News

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