Archive for June, 2017

Korsmo’s Weekly Roundup: All Hail the State Budget

It’s here, it’s here, it’s finally here!

Chris Korsmo

Chris Korsmo

No, you fickle weather babies, it’s not summer. Which arrives Wednesday of next week and leaves about September 3. It’s not the Sunday Amazon Prime cat food delivery, either. And while it might feel like it to legislators, it’s not Christmas in (almost) July. The “it” in question is the state budget. After a full regular session, three special sessions, a gang of eight, a four-corner agreement and a partridge in a pear tree, we have a proposed budget. With little time to review and a government shut- down looming, legislators will take up the $47B + measure later today. Winner? Well, McCleary, it’s your birthday, get your dance on, it’s your birthday. If you’re not doing the cabbage patch or sprinkler by now, you’re not feeling the gravity of the moment. Yes, the devil’s in the details – and those are several hundred pages long – the legislature is proposing a historic increase in education funding and dedicated funds toward historically underserved student populations – including a new funding stream for high poverty schools that guarantees targeted resources for academically struggling students in those schools.

The historic increases in education funding couldn’t come a moment too soon. Washington isn’t doing so well by its kids – the new Annie E. Casey Kids Count report is out and Washington ranks 14th in overall child well-being. This is a report that could have been written by Justice Bobbi Bridge, who in a recent LEVinar warned that we can pay now or pay later. We’ve advocated for paying it forward, with resources going to kids based on need.

It’s a great day to stream TVW  – today’s budget negotiations are must-see TV.

In other news:

Well kids, it’s about that time. July is upon us and the garden beckons. Have a wonderful summer! And as always, thanks for all you’re doing on behalf of Washington’s students.


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Students Must Be Ready for What Comes Next

Lisa Jiménez - League of Education VotersBy Lisabeth Jiménez
Guest Blogger

I am currently a sophomore at Columbia Basin College, where I major in political science with a minor in education. I attended two separate high schools before graduating in 2015: Delta High School, the first STEM high school in Washington, for 9th through 10th grade, and then I transferred to Pasco Senior High School to participate in Running Start, a program that allows students in the 11th and 12th grade to attend college courses to earn an Associate in Arts degree upon graduation from high school.

In high school I was a C/D average student. A few Bs made an appearance from time to time but not consistently, and it wasn’t from a lack of trying. My friends were A+ students, always making the honor roll, and they didn’t have to try. I would stay up till 4 o’clock in the morning, sometimes pulling all-nighters to finish assignments and group projects because of short deadlines and multiple assignments coming due at the same time. My friends’ teachers gave them small assignments and did not thoroughly check them to see if they were finished. Because of pre-conceived expectations, if their teachers saw writing on the papers turned in, they would give my friends an A for assignments because they were “completed.” My friends did not know how to find the slope of a y-intercept, learn the stages of mitosis, or master writing an analysis essay, but I did.

When it came to state testing, the teachers at Delta were committed to making sure we all passed because they wanted to see us walk across the graduation stage in the spring. I studied night and day for these exams, while some of my friends asked their parents to opt them out of the testing. I graduated with a 2.45 grade point average, passed all my state exams, and earned 24 high school credits and 33 college credits. My friends who did not take the tests graduated with a 4.0 average, 22 high school credits, and opted out of all the state exams because they simply did not want to take them. They had the opportunity to apply to any college they wished because of their grade point average, but my GPA did not provide the same opportunity.

They applied to universities and local colleges, and were accepted. The next step was to take their placement tests to determine which courses they would be eligible to take. Unfortunately, they received low test scores that placed them at the beginning of a long road of remedial college courses. How could a 4.0 student not be college ready? When I took my placement tests for Running Start, I placed right at the English 101/102 level and Math 99. I, a 2.45 GPA graduate and a C/D average student, was able to take college courses while still in high school.

Grades should not be the only thing to determine whether a student is college ready, because they are just a letter that some teachers give if the student behaves well.  State exams were not created only to burden students, as some tend to believe. The exams are there to ensure we are ready for the next step in our lives. After doing the required work in high school, I was able to pass all my state exams. I had to take a year off to work to save money for college, and I’m now more than halfway finished with my Bachelor’s degree.

Posted in: Closing the Gaps

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June Education Advocate, the LEV Monthly E-news


ED Advocate, League of Education Voters Newsletter, June 2017


Chris Korsmo

Chris Korsmo, CEO

As you may know, the Washington legislature is now in the endgame of budget negotiations, which includes finding a solution to funding schools across our state. If you want to see what lawmakers are considering to solve the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision, take a look at our education funding plan side-by-side. Be a part of this historic moment! Help ensure that the McCleary decision is implemented to benefit every Washington student by making your gift today.

Also, LEV interviewed Washington STEM CEO Caroline King on how STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and career connected learning can be applied in the classroom. And we’re hosting a free Lunchtime LEVinar June 20 with former Supreme Court Justice Bobbe Bridge, Founder and CEO of the Center for Children & Youth Justice, on how the education and justice communities can work together to support youth in crisis.

Read below for more about our work.

Thanks for all you do for kids. We couldn’t do it without you.

Chris Korsmo signature



Chris Korsmo

Washington STEM CEO Caroline King

How would Washington STEM CEO Caroline King design an education system?

League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman sat down with Washington STEM CEO Caroline King to discuss how STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and Career Connected Learning can be applied in the classroom, and how she would design an education system from scratch. Listen now




Activating EducationLEVinar: Activating Education and Justice Communities to Support Youth in Crisis & Justice Communities to Support Youth in Crisis

When kids start to disconnect from school, it’s a critical warning sign. Chronic absences are all too frequently the start of a path that leads straight to involvement in the juvenile justice system. Thousands of kids each year begin a journey on this “school-to-prison pipeline,” and we miss out on generations of leaders, innovators, educators, and entrepreneurs. Register now




Activist of the Month: June

Activist of the Month: Miguel Lucatero

Miguel Lucatero is a licensed home child care provider since 2001 who is participating in the Early Achievers program. He is also the parent spokesperson for Padres de Familia Preocupados por la Educacion y el Exito de Sus Hijos (Parents of Families Concerned for the Education and Success of their Children). Read more




Education Funding Side-by-Side

Education Funding Side-by-Side

What are lawmakers considering to solve the McCleary education funding problem? Our in depth side-by-side document lays down the details. View it now





Get Involved

Many of you are watching closely and know that the legislature is now in its second special session. We would like to encourage lawmakers to collaborate in order to work out a solution that puts fair funding into K-12 public education.

The Campaign for Student Success believes our education system should:

  • Provide students the opportunity to earn credits for college while still in high school.
  • Ensure that dollars follow your student to the classroom – whether they’re spent for English language learners, advanced placement or special education – not on bureaucracy.
  • Help remove barriers in getting to school for kids who are in poverty, who are homeless, or who face other challenges that increase their risk of falling behind.
  • Prepare all kids to graduate from high school prepared for careers or college based on their interest and talent.

We need your help in the following two ways:

  • Make a visit to your legislator in your district.
  • Make phone calls to key legislators in leadership positions, either on the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee, the House Education Committee, and/or budget committees.

If you can do either of the following, please contact the LEV organizer in your local area:


League of Education Voters

League of Education Voters

2734 Westlake Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109

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Activist of the Month: Miguel Lucatero

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 June: Miguel Lucatero. Read about his experience as a strong advocate for Latino parents in the Tri-Cities.

League of Education Voters June 2017 Activist of the Month Miguel Lucatero

June Activist of the Month Miguel Lucatero

Miguel Lucatero is a licensed home child care provider since 2001 who is participating in the Early Achievers program. He is also the parent spokesperson for Padres de Familia Preocupados por la Educacion y el Exito de Sus Hijos (Parents of Families Concerned for the Education and Success of their Children). In March 2016, a group of Tri-Cities parents met to exchange ideas and find out which kinds of problems they were experiencing in the education system. From there, the parent group Padres Preocupados por la Educacion y el Exito de Sus Hijos was born, and they have continued to meet monthly.

Last month, Mr. Lucatero wrote a letter to the Washington State Board of Education outlining the problems faced by his community, particularly the loss of tutoring services provided under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) when the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) planning stages began.

Miguel has been living in Washington State for 20 years. When asked what drives him, he says, “I am a person who likes to work because I am concerned for the future, the best interest of our children, and the well-being of the community.”

He and his wife have two daughters attending Stevens Middle School in Pasco. One is an 8th-grader and the other daughter is in the 7th grade. Mr. Lucatero says, “They still do not know want they would like to do, but they know they want to go to college.”

Although his community faces many challenges, Mr. Lucatero is inspired by trainings made available through the Early Learning Community on various aspects of early childhood education. “I like being able to take college classes about brain development,” he says. “That gives me ideas on how my wife and I can best teach the children in our care.”

If Miguel could design our education system, he would like to see teachers who are content experts developing curricula to ensure that students successfully finish high school with a focused, concrete foundation that would prepare them to achieve the college vision they want. “Think of how we build houses on concrete foundations,” Mr. Lucatero explains. “That way, our students could be successful in obtaining the careers they envision.”

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Korsmo’s Weekly Roundup: Principals and Chardonnay

Chris Korsmo


Well. What to say? No. Really. What is there to say? We aren’t going to talk about politics in the other Washington lest we start looking for an all-too-early excuse for room temperature chardonnay. And there’s not been a ton of progress – not public anyway – on the state budget. Fret not! It’s never a bad time to get smarter about education funding. (Put down that chardonnay! Learning is fun!)

They Call Me McCleary: First, you can catch yourself up on where things stand in the negotiations over ed funding – often shorthanded by the name of the court case the state is responding to: McCleary. Don’t miss the fight over the “Staff Mix” in the budget debate or you’ll never get the full story on how we build and perpetuate inequitable funding systems. If you’re going to understand ed funding, it’s good to know where the money goes. And, lest you forget, the people that make up the bulk of the system’s budget have thoughts on how the money should be used.

While we wrestle this issue to the ground and then some other states are working to solve the same problem.

It’s the Principal of the Thing: When you think of a school principal’s day what comes to mind? Waltzing through classroom after classroom interacting with teachers and kids, bringing a waft of fresh instructional leadership into every room they enter? Or maybe you remember the time(s) you were sent to the principal’s office and a different kind of wafting. Truth is that for many the day consists of one fire drill – sometimes literally – after another. Lunch duty, bus patrol, tying shoes, negotiating newly exposed hormones among tween girls, kids and sometimes parents with serious trauma, interspersed with classroom observations and report after report compiled and submitted. D.C. public schools is trying to get their principal corps back into the role they were hired for: instructional leadership.

And for as sexy as I just made the whole principal experience sound, teachers will climb the ranks of administration because it’s the only way to a significant increase in pay.

The Rest:

  • When confronted with a problem, one district changed everything to solve it.
  • I saw this in my college town: gaps
  • We love brain science!
  • Speaking of science

As always, thank you for all you do on behalf of our kids.



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