The day after Thanksgiving (and now sometimes on Thanksgiving!) is when people stand in line across the nation to get the best deals for upcoming holiday gifts. Black Friday is a good marker of the start of a holiday season in full swing.
You may be like me—I would rather not wait in line at dark-o’clock to fight through masses of deal hunters on Black Friday. Nor do I have the time to shop online on Cyber Monday.
But Giving Tuesday is a great, new(ish) tradition to get into the holiday spirit of sharing and community gathering!
Giving Tuesday (or #GivingTuesday, as it’s generally known) is a national day of giving that takes place the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. In 2013, over 10 thousand organizations, corporations, and foundations in more than 40 countries participated in #GivingTuesday to help kick off the holiday season.
For #GivingTuesday we are encouraging individuals to give generously in a way that is meaningful to them, and to donate to the League of Education Voters before the end of the year.
Please look for our year-end appeal in the mail, in our upcoming newsletter, or donate now online!
So save the date for Tuesday, December 2, and join me in kicking off the holiday season through #GivingTuesday! You may see our #GivingTuesday campaign on social media, and I invite you to spread the word among your loved ones about this fun way to give generously to the League of Education Voters and other causes that mean a lot to you.
Thank you for getting into the holiday spirit by supporting our work on behalf of all kids in Washington state.
Frank Ordway, Government Relations Director at the League of Education Voters
The 2014 election results are all but certified, so we now have a better idea about the political landscape going into the 2015 legislative session. The second elephant in the room—after McCleary, that is—may be Initiative 1351 (and how we’re going to pay for it), but what the election results reflect, more than anything, is how critical a bipartisan approach will be in the coming legislative session.
Both the House of Representatives and the Senate’s majority parties’ holds are slim in their respective chambers, and all parties will need to have a high level of discipline to get very much done during this critical session.
The overarching question, of course, is how we are going to pay for education funding. Initiative 1351 has redefined “basic education,” and the four-year balanced budget legislation requires that the Legislature find funding for McCleary and I-1351 through the next four years—amounting to nearly $7 billion above and beyond current education funding levels.
How do you find that kind of money? Well, the current revenue structure won’t get us there. So, we either need to restructure how revenue (read: taxes) is collected in the state or cut other programs.
If we look to history, we see that legislation with bipartisan support tends to be the strongest and most likely to succeed. (more…)
Have you heard of Startup Weekend? It’s a 54-hour, weekend-long event that brings together experts from different fields—design, development, topic experts, and entrepreneurs. Participants come and anyone can pitch and idea for a problem they want to solve using technology. Teams form around the top ideas by “voting with their feet,” and then they take off on a three-day adventure to create a business model around the idea, code, design, and validate it. At the end of the weekend, the teams present in front of local judges to receive constructive feedback on their idea.
Out of Startup Weekend came Startup Weekend EDU, which focuses specifically on ideas for improving education. The 2014 Seattle Startup Weekend EDU will take place next weekend, November 21–23. But Startup Weekend was created by those in the tech industry, and the types of disruptive technology often resulting from Startup Weekend tend to be less effective—and welcome—in education compared to other industries.
Community and technical colleges throughout Washington, as well as the six public four-year institutions, are partnering to use students’ high school Smarter Balanced assessment scores in fall 2016 in lieu of their campus-based placement tests.
Students who score at levels 3 or 4 on their 11th grade Smarter Balanced assessments will be able to enroll directly in credit-bearing college courses. Students who score below those levels will be enrolled in newly designed “Bridge to College” courses that will quickly raise them to college-level readiness rather than taking remedial courses that effectively copy high school courses they have already taken. These new courses are being collaboratively designed and developed by higher education faculty, high school teachers, and curriculum specialists from around the state.
“The Smarter Balanced Assessments will give 11th graders a much-needed heads up on whether they’ll place into math and English language courses in college, or whether they’re headed toward remedial classes instead,” said Bill Moore, director of K–12 partnerships at the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. “Students then have their senior year to either catch up or take even more advanced classes.” (more…)
While the Initiative 1351 votes are still trickling in, it’s clear that what everyone thought was a slam dunk is looking more like a shot from mid-court.
From pre-election polling we know that the more voters learned about I-1351, the more concerns they had.
This fall voters heard from diverse groups—including the Children’s Alliance, Association of Washington School Principals, and every major editorial board across the state—all opposing I-1351.
Reasons for opposition included concerns about the price tag, the impact the initiative would have on other important state-supported social service programs, and the potential to preclude state’s ability to make investments in other proven education strategies, such as early learning and college readiness.
We were told by all the pundits that 1351 would win and win big. That doesn’t appear to be the case.
Win or lose, these margins aren’t indicative of the kind of voter mandate that is going to shake things up heading in the 2015 legislative session.
Instead, the results leave the door wide open for a conversation about the best next steps to create an ample, equitable, and stable plan to fund our public schools and ensure each and every student in our state with the opportunity for success.
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 November: Adel Sefrioui. Read more about Adel’s work developing Excel Public Charter School, which will open in Kent in 2015.
Adel Sefrioui is the son of immigrant parents. His father emigrated from Morocco in the early ’70s and his mother from Iran shortly before the 1979 revolution. While his parents came to the United States for different reasons—his father, to pursue the “American dream,” and his mother, to escape tyranny in her home country—they both came from cultures that highly value education. Both Persian and Moroccan cultures share the belief that education can be the great equalizer in society. (more…)