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Archive for April, 2015

Dear Legislature: The time is now

Dear Legislature,

Chris Korsmo, CEO, League of Education Voters

Chris Korsmo

Thank you for your hard work and commitment to ensuring a high-quality public education for each Washington student, from early learning through higher education. The Legislature is poised to pass the most comprehensive education budget in the history of the state that has the potential to increase opportunities for all Washington students.

But there is important work that still needs to be done.

We must ensure expanded access to quality early learning by passing the Early Start Act. We must increase the number of people who can access the State Need Grant Program. But the biggest job left to tackle is in K–12 education. To address legal issues and profound inequity in the current system, we must design a cogent, viable, funding plan for K–12 education. (more…)

Posted in: Blog, Legislative session, LEV News, Press Releases & Statements, Weekly Roundup

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Fully funding basic education

While the final days of this legislative session are nearing, yesterday leaders from both the House and Senate proposed three plans to reform the ways schools in our state are financed and end an over-reliance on local levies. These plans are in addition to a plan put forward by State Superintendent Randy Dorn earlier this week. Currently, local levy funding is used to pay for basic education costs, including teacher salaries and school supplies; costs that the State Constitution requires be covered by the State. This is major step forward on one of most vexing challenges confronting the state legislature.

We know that teachers make the biggest school-based difference in a child’s education. Effective school leadership plays a significant role in the academic results of students building-wide. Strategic investments in K–12 teacher compensation and professional learning are necessary to close gaps and improve outcomes for all kids. By ensuring the state is fulfilling its responsibility, we will ensure these critical elements are in place to benefit our children. (more…)

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

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Korsmo’s Weekly Roundup: April 15

If you’re a baseball fan, the new rules intended to speed up the game are likely a welcome relief. Unfortunately, those same rules don’t apply to the legislative session. This session, once on track for an on-time ending, is now cruising at a speed close to stop—as if stuck in a perpetual pitching change. I won’t use the “righty” or “lefty” metaphor to describe the whole thing, because we’d be looking at a third arm to save this game. And, well, that’s a tortured metaphor even I can’t do.

The current debate—if you can call it that, with both sides pretty much just ignoring the other—centers on an age old polemic: taxes. Whether to raise, what to raise, etc., etc.—Voters, much like the legislators representing them, seem split according to a new Elway poll. Though the divide could be that folks didn’t buy into the forced choice: raise taxes and fully fund education, or don’t raise taxes and cut social services. A choice that hasn’t been forced in the Legislature, and likely won’t be. (more…)

Posted in: Blog, Legislative session, Weekly Roundup

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Possibly the best budget for education in our history

Last week, our CEO Chris Korsmo was cautiously optimistic when she wrote about the proposed budgets, saying that Washington was “heading in the right direction on education funding.”

This week, I will go one step further. By the end of this legislative session, what we will see is possibly the best budget for education in the history of the State.

Yes, that is a bold statement, especially with so many issues still unaddressed. However, we can see that the Legislature will invest more comprehensively across the spectrum of education than they ever have.

The League of Education Voters has long argued that a child’s education should be a continuum with seamless transitions from early learning through higher education. We have worked with partners around the state in pursuit of that vision, including with the Cradle through College Coalition. It is gratifying to see the Legislature following through with strategies and investments that support students at all ages. (more…)

Posted in: Blog, Funding, Legislative session, LEV News

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Celebrating our 2015 Donors: First Quarter

January 1–March 31, 2015

Thank you2015 has gotten off to a great start. Thank you to all of our sponsors and donors who gave generously at our annual breakfast on March 26, 2015!

Donations are made to the League of Education Voters (LEV) and the LEV Foundation by individuals, groups, and businesses throughout the community. These generous donations from those who believe in high-quality public education allow us to ensure measurable progress toward LEV’s vision that every student in Washington state has access to an excellent public education that provides the opportunity for success.

We regret any omissions or errors to the donor list. Please contact our Development Manager, Jackie Schultz, by emailing jackie@educationvoters.org or by calling 206.728.6448 with any questions or to correct any information. (more…)

Posted in: Blog, Development, LEV News

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Activist of the Month: Dakoda Foxx

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 April: Dakoda Foxx. Read more about Dakoda’s advocacy and activism in her community.

Dakoda FoxxDakoda Foxx’s advocacy work began close to home in 2011, after her daughter was suspended for 100 days. Dakoda knew this “wasn’t right,” so she went to TeamChild to talk to them about her daughter’s IEP (Individualized Education Program) and her options for reengagement. Through her conversations about school discipline, Dakoda learned that many parents in her Puyallup community had children facing the same issues.

From there, she began advocating in earnest. Dakoda advocated at all levels—from doorbelling to testifying about discipline. In 2012, Dakoda began looking for organizations who would work on legislation about school discipline, and that’s how she learned that the League of Education Voters was already working on Senate Bill 5946.

The rest, as they say, is history. Dakoda has continued testifying about school discipline and closing the gaps on a regular basis—most recently in support of Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos’ bill on closing the achievement gap (HB 1541). Shortly before that testimony, Dakoda also spoke at the March State Board of Education meeting in Tacoma about transforming school discipline. (more…)

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

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Korsmo’s Weekly Roundup: April 3

My dad used to say “there are at least two sides to every story. But the truth is always somewhere in the middle.” As far as I could tell, he didn’t have telepathic powers, and if he did, I’m not sure he would have predicted the varied responses to the budget proposals released over this past week. The House has managed to push their proposal through the floor, while the Senate has bogged down a bit in a sea of amendments. The Senate is expected to clear their bill by early next week and then the real fun begins. Making one out of two. Like a legislative version of an arranged wedding from hell.

With only four weeks left until the curtain falls on the legislative session, and with both sides agreeing to a boatload of new cash into education, it might seem that there’s little to debate. (more…)

Posted in: Blog, Legislative session, Weekly Roundup

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Join Joyce Yee for Coffee: April Meetings

Joyce YeeI invite you to join me over coffee for a series of informal meetings to share your stories and discuss how to advocate for education to our policymakers.

This is a critical year for education. We are working to ensure that increases in education funding—as a result of McCleary v. Washington or other efforts—are ample, equitable, stable, and targeted toward evidenced-based strategies that improve access and outcomes for all students. Our vision for public education is one that guarantees every Washington student the opportunity for a high-quality education from early learning through the first two years of college. (more…)

Posted in: Advocacy and Activism, Blog, Events

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Heading in the right direction

Thanks to our Legislature, Washington state is heading in the right direction on education funding.

With the House budget released on Friday and the Senate budget released yesterday, we see our Legislature stepping up to the challenge of funding the full continuum of public education in our state—from early learning through higher education. The League of Education Voters and our partners have long advocated for support of this continuum, and we are pleased to see bipartisan support in both chambers answering this call.

While neither budget bill is perfect, they echo the growing demand that education investments reflect the returns from early learning, as well as the necessity of a postsecondary degree or certificate. There are details to be ironed out, especially with regard to the constitutional issue of compensation and the use of local levies to fund basic education. Look for more from Team LEV on both budgets after they are voted off their respective floors.

In the meantime, please join us in thanking our leaders in Olympia for making a significant investment in education and looking out for Washington’s students.

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

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