The Washington Promise Program provides a tuition waiver for certain Washington residents to attend one of the 34 community and technical colleges in the state. Here is a side-by-side comparison of the Senate and House versions.
For all the bills proposed this session, check out our 2016 Bill Tracker.
Thank you to everyone who attended our 2016 Parent and Community Training! We couldn’t have done it without you.
Check out the slides here by Duncan Taylor, who led a workshop called The Dollar Dance on education funding.
See LEV Field Director Kelly Munn’s Advocacy 101 presentation here.
LEV Senior Policy Analyst Jolenta Coleman’s excellent Financial Aid 101 slides are here.
View the Education Funding presentation slides from LEV Senior Policy Analyst Julia Warth and Policy Analyst Jake Vela here.
We will add more presentation slides as soon as we get them. In the meantime, here are a few photos:
Senator Joe Fain (center) is joined by parents and students from Excel and Rainier Prep charter schools for a roundtable on how charter schools have impacted their lives
Parent Organizing Groups panel featuring LEV Field Director Kelly Munn with parent organizers Margarita, BJ and Fatima
Financial Aid 101 workshop presented by LEV senior policy analyst Jolenta Coleman
By Chris Korsmo
For those of you keeping count, it’s Oly Short Session, day number 10. Fifty days left to find a charter schools fix, prevent cutbacks to Career and Technical Education, address educational inequities and not talk about the elephant in the room, McCleary. But those aren’t the only education issues under consideration. You can find more on the bills introduced so far here.
The session is young, and so was a group of advocates who found themselves on the wrong end of a question normally reserved for parents. Behind closed doors. The content got a little, er, personal this week when a Washington legislator asked a group of teens whether they were virgins. It’s not quite as bad as Presidential hopeful Ben Carson telling a group of school kids to point at the “dumbest kid in the room” but it’s not exactly HIPPA compliant, either.
Charter News: The Senate took up SB 6194, addressing the charter school funding issues, this week. The bill passed out of the chamber on a 27-20 vote, and now moves over to the House. Thanks to Senators Mullet and Litzow for their leadership on the bill and for all who voted to support this effort to keep our charter schools alive and well.
McCleary News: This past week, State Budget Director David Schumacher said out loud what many have thought: no McCleary deal this year. While work is ongoing, including the recommendation for another legislative task force, a final deal isn’t imminent for two significant reasons. First, this isn’t a budget year. A kind of big deal if you’re going to be allocating money in the billions of dollars. Second, it’s an election year, making tax votes pretty tough. It would seem that not many years are great for tax votes… unless you’re voting to limit taxes. Which, as it turns out, is often unconstitutional.
Higher Ed News: A new focus on affordability seems to be the spotlight as a new House bill would make two years of college “accessible and affordable” by paying for community/technical college, and another attempt to make textbooks more affordable. Meanwhile, a new report highlights some success among Washington Community College students who transfer to four year schools completing their degrees. And the college admittance process gets a fresh look.
You can’t chalk it all up to STEM policy, but here’s some news that required STEM degrees:
- Stephen Hawking scares the living daylights out of us.
- Look! Up in the sky. It’s a new planet. And five old ones.
- Dating a computer software engineer? Stop going Dutch.
- Speaking of software engineers and other tech-based professions, Houston, we have a problem.
There’s more. Oh, so much more. But that’s all the time your intrepid writer has today. Thanks for all you do on behalf of our kids!
Two bills concerning charter schools have been proposed in the state Senate. Here’s how SB 6194 (Litzow R-41) compares with SB 6163 (Billig D-3).
For all the bills proposed this session, check out our 2016 Bill Tracker.
By Jene Jones, Government Relations
There is general bi-partisan agreement on 2 things: 60 days to adjournment, in order to raise money and campaign for elections starting on day 61, and there will be budget adjustments for wildfire costs last summer and some caseload increases for social services this year. Beyond that, priorities differ.
The Senate is coming out strong saying there will be a Charter patch that funds the existing Charter schools which converted to ALE, Private, and Homeschool models mid this year, in order for them to continue to serve students who started in those schools in the fall. The family voice has been loud; students have been telling their stories of how their learning needs are being met, they feel like they belong, have choice, and are succeeding at their public Charter schools.
There is a McCleary bill that will obligate the state to fully take on compensation for staff at the state level by the end of the 2017 session. In order to show progress toward the court deadlines, the bill will probably pass this session. The funding for this however, is not a part of the prescribed plan. With 60% of voters telling the legislature they want 2/3 votes in both the House and the Senate to raise taxes through Eyman’s initiative 1366 which passed in November, even in the Legislative districts of 20 Democrat members in the House, tax increases for McCleary will be a tough vote to bring to the floor. In addition, if lawmakers do nothing with I-1366 (asking for a 2/3rds vote in House & Senate to raise taxes), starting on April 15, 2016 sales tax will lower by 1%, and the state will lose a billion dollars every year to the general fund, which funds education. (I-1366 is being legally challenged.) As perspective: The transportation package which passed last year did not have 2/3 vote in the House. 2/3rds votes are hard in a legislature with: 73 Rs, 73 Ds, and one D that caucuses with the Rs.
Policy for education will include other robust discussions in 2016: 1. Individualizing student pathways and addressing the Skills Gap through Career Tech coursework in Junior High and High Schools, and 2. Assessment and if it should remain linked to graduation requirements (HB 2214). For schools: How do you use the assessment results to meet the learning needs of your students, and assure all graduates are career/college ready?
Let’s focus 2016 on students. Student needs. Student outcomes. Student choice.
July 1–December 31, 2015
2015 has been a great year!
Thank you to all of our sponsors and donors who gave generously.
Donations are made to the League of Education Voters (LEV) and the League of Education Voters 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 206.728.6448 with any questions or to correct any information. (more…)