Archive for July, 2017

July Education Advocate, the LEV Monthly E-news

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Chris Korsmo

Chris Korsmo

Now that the state budget negotiations have finally crossed the goal line, I am happy to report that our legislature has made a huge investment in K-12 education! Thanks to your advocacy and support, schools with historically underserved students will get much-needed additional help. Read more about the legislature’s solution to the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision in this blog by Daniel Zavala, LEV’s director of policy and government relations. Be a part of this landmark moment! Help ensure that the McCleary decision is implemented to benefit every Washington student by making your gift today.

Also, LEV interviewed Washington state Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal about his long-term vision for K-12 education. And we’re hosting a free Lunchtime LEVinar July 20 on how adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and complex trauma impacts student learning.

Read below for more about our work.

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

Chris Korsmo

Chris Reykdal OSPIChris Reykdal discusses his six-year K-12 education plan

League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman sat down with Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal to discuss his six-year K-12 education plan, how the plan would prepare our kids for what comes after high school, and how we can help make it happen. Listen now



ACEs studentHow ACEs & Complex Trauma Impacts Student Learning

Childhood experiences, both positive and negative, have a tremendous impact on lifelong health and opportunity. Much of the foundational research in this area has been referred to as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). David Lewis, Program Manager of Behavioral Health Services at Seattle Public Schools, will describe how trauma impacts a student’s ability to be successful, and will share best assessment and teaching practices. Register now


WA Capitol Legislative BldgWhat You Need To Know About the McCleary School Funding Agreement

In what was quite literally years in the making, the Legislature has at long last presented and passed a K-12 funding solution. And, perhaps surprisingly in today’s political climate, it was passed with strong bipartisan support. Read more


summer learning slide Summer Learning Loss, and What You Can Do To Prevent It

School is out and the sun is shining! While summer is filled with lots of fun, time away from school can have a negative impact on students. Read now



Get Involved

Join us for a LEVinar: How ACEs and Complex Trauma Impact Learning | Register now


Posted in: LEV News

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What You Need to Know about the McCleary School Funding Agreement

What You Need to Know about the McCleary School Funding Agreement

By Daniel Zavala, LEV Director of Policy and Government Relations

In what was quite literally years in the making, the Legislature has at long last presented and passed a K-12 funding solution. And, perhaps surprisingly in today’s political climate, it was passed with strong bipartisan support. Before I get into the details of the solution, let me spend some time talking about how we got to where we are… and it starts with a 2007 lawsuit called McCleary. The lawsuit was largely based on the inequities across districts resulting from disproportionate use and allocation of local levy money. Basically, the plaintiffs argued the state was not amply paying for basic education, something that is a paramount duty of the state. Fast forward to 2012… and the Washington Supreme Court agreed. Forward another few years, a couple of court orders, imposed sanctions on the legislature, and we arrive at the 2017 Legislative Session – the last regular session to address the court order to address the McCleary decision. What was left after the last 5 years was the need to continue progress on funding K-3 class size reduction and teacher compensation.

But most of us already know this saga and are frankly ready to hear the solution… or we are wondering what all the commotion around Olympia these days is about. Well, here are the high level details of the K-12 plan:

  • Overall some significant advances were made, but there’s still plenty of work to be done.
  • Regarding funding, the legislature made historic increased investments in education.
  • Although the legislature directed some additional funding to programs for historically underserved students, the needs and opportunity gaps are vast. There is some promise with the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) receiving funds to identify key methods to do so using new data collection.
  • The prototypical funding formula (the state’s method of funding schools based on a school design to determine the number of teachers, principals, and other school staff that are needed to provide a basic education) will remain intact. Although a key source of inequity, the staff mix formula (paying districts based on the experience level of their teachers) was eliminated, some steps that might have modernized the funding formula to target funds and address the complex needs of some of the most at-risk student populations (such as special education students) were not adopted.
  • Auditing compliance and enforcement will be key to ensure we don’t get back to where we started – e.g. paying educators much more in property-rich districts. After all, policy is only as good as its implementation.
  • The agreement minimally addresses accountability, but there are other mechanisms under development to ensure our education system produces good results.

Want to know the deeper details of the plan? Take a look at our McCleary Agreement Overview and Analysis.

Okay, so if you are still with me, whether it is actually 5 years later or, after trying to digest all of that information it feels like 5 years, you likely have two questions remaining:

  1. Does this solution pass constitutional muster, i.e. will we have made the court happy?
  2. What does all this mean and what is next?

As to the first question, only the nine justices that sit in that high court can properly answer that question. However, in their order they noted that the K-12 funding had to be regular and dependable in addressing K-3 class size reduction and teacher compensation. There is strong evidence to suggest this plan does that.

As to the second question, that answer is far more complex and probably better suited over another LEVinar or post(s). But in short, it means that our state may be moving on to the next stage of education advocacy in this state — from Does this satisfy McCleary? to What do we need to do to address the growing gaps in our system between historically underserved students and their college-bound peers?

Posted in: Legislative session

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Summer Learning Loss, and What You Can Do To Prevent It

Summer Learning Loss, and What You Can Do To Prevent It

Summer learning loss, what is it?

School is out and the sun is shining! While summer is filled with lots of fun, time away from school can have a negative impact on students. Summer learning loss occurs when students don’t reinforce what they have learned throughout the school year, leading to a loss in knowledge and the need for teachers to spend the first weeks of school re-teaching skills that students learned the previous year. While there are many factors that come into play, some students lose over 2 months of math and reading knowledge during the summer. Fret not! Despite this, there are ways that parents can help keep their kids engaged in learning all summer long. Here is our guide to free (or nearly free) ideas and resources to help keep your little learners, elementary schoolers, and teenagers engaged in learning all summer long.

Our favorite ideas and resources to combat summer learning loss: Summer Learning Loss

Looking for pre-K resources for your little learner? offers free printable worksheets for students in pre-K all the way to 5th grade. They also offer resources for students and families from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Visit this site for a wealth of resources, tests, worksheets and articles.



Khan Academy Homepage- Summer Learning Loss BlogKhan Academy

One of the hardest subjects to keep up with during the summer can be math. Reading a book can be a treat at bedtime, but keeping up with fractions can be a bit trickier. The Khan Academy is a stellar resource. Their wealth of subject matter ranges from the basics to calculus, with everything in between. They also have coding resources for your the programmer-to-be in your family, as well as a variety of science and engineering resources. Is your teen getting ready to take those college entrance exams? The Khan Academy also offers test prep resources. Oh, and not to mention you can brush up on your macroeconomics and AP US history as well. This overall STEAM knowledge base should not be overlooked.

Postcard- Summer Learning Loss BlogWrite a Postcard

Travelling making it hard to budget studying time for your kids? On your travels have your kids pick out postcards that they would like to send to their friends and family and have them write their own letters. This is a great way to combat summer learning loss by practicing grammar, spelling, and punctuation on the go. It’s also a fun surprise for the recipients. Bring your child into the process by having them pick out the postcards they would like to send, then they will feel more connected and personally invested in the writing process. It’s a win-win for you and them!

Children's Books- Summer Learning LossGrab a book

Just about any will do! Head over to your nearest library, or maybe there is a homemade ‘little library‘ sitting on a corner in your neighborhood. Reading is one of the main subjects that summer learning loss is affected by. There are many reading lists out there:

Try this reading list from the Seattle Public Library for ages 3-5.

Or try this summer reading list from the Spokane Public Library (there is even one for adults too!).

Is your teen college bound? Here are NPR’s summer reading list suggestions.

No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars- Summer Learning Loss BlogCook with your kids

Speaking of fractions, what better way to get some hands on learning than to cook a meal with the kids. Cooking combines math and chemistry to create something special, and getting the kids involved can be a fun learning opportunity. Cooking can also give kids knowledge about healthy nutrition, and reading a recipe can help them work on their reading comprehension skills. PBS Parents offers some tips for getting your kids to join you in the kitchen, as well as recipes that kids are sure to love. We recommend checking out these No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares. Yum!

While you’re at it, why don’t you see if it’s possible to cook a s’more without fire or electricity?

duolingo homepage - summer learning lossDuolingo

Parlez-vous Français? Need to brush up on your German verb conjugations? Summer learning loss can affect students trying to learn a language if they don’t receive consistent practice. Duolingo is a comprehensive, free resource to help your student stay sharp in a variety of languages. They offer lessons in over 20 different languages, including Irish, Norwegian, and Swahili just to name a few. They have iOS and Android apps, so your kids can practice on the go. For the teachers out there, they also have classroom resources too.


HTML CodingCode Academy

Is your student interested in learning how to build websites, web applications, or ready to dive into more complex topics like database management? Code Academy is a great resource to learn responsive web design, HTML and CSS, or even Ruby on Rails. This free resource can help keep your kids and teens engaged in coding all summer long. All languages take consistent practice, including coding languages, and resources like Code Academy or the aforementioned Khan Academy can help prevent summer learning loss for students studying coding and computer programming.

Now get out there and learn!

There are opportunities for educational moments every day, and the internet is full of ideas a resources to help you along the way. Get the whole family involved in these fun math activities, enjoy a free children’s ebook, or make your own postcards to send to love ones. Fostering a spirit of discovery in your child’s life will help them continue to learn, grow, and be better students. Summer learning loss be banished! If you have any other ideas, or if you try out any of our suggestions, please tell us about it in the comments below. Happy summer!

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Posted in: Closing the Gaps

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