Working on behalf of students, the League of Education Voters has successfully led the charge on many of the landmark funding and policy decisions helping improve the education landscape in Washington.
- LEV has worked with partners to successfully pass a statewide initiative which amended the state constitution to only require a simple majority vote for school levies—this initiative has added over 4 billion dollars to fund public education!
- LEV also worked to bring nearly $500 per pupil into every school in the state by supporting the passage
of I-728 and defended an important education revenue source with the defeat of I-1033 aimed at lowering property taxes.
- LEV was the lead plaintiff in the successful effort to overturn I-1053, the initiative requiring two-thirds legislative approval to raise revenue or close tax loopholes.
All of this work is done with the goal of creating a seamless public education system that serves each and every student in Washington state.
- SB 6194 saved public charter schools that are working for kids. This new public charter school law allows the current schools to keep serving kids and new schools to open in the future to serve more students and communities in Washington. The new public charter school law increases accountability while still allowing for the flexibility and innovation to address student needs.
- Thanks to the passage of HB 1541, we will no longer be suspending or expelling students for discretionary offenses, and will have better statewide data on student demographics to make sure the system is working to keep all students on-track and in school. We will be providing all students that are suspended or expelled with educational services and providing new trainings to school staff that are sensitive to culture and positively support all students’ growth.
- HB 1999 provides in-school support for foster youth, including better information sharing to schools, and more adult support to help students navigate frequent changes in school buildings.
- Our homeless student population is getting improved identification methods thanks to HB 1682, which will help with in-school support for learning, and community partnerships for housing stability support for families as well. The early data from Tacoma housing/school partnerships show fantastic academic gains for these students as well as decreased mobility rates for families. Grants for 15 school districts are now available.
- For the first time, SB 6245 offers near vision screenings when distance vision is tested in elementary and middle schools statewide. Seeing the numbers and letters on a page correctly dramatically increases academic potential. This was 17 years in the making, and the victory for kids happened this year.
- Additional money was invested in Early Achievers through for family child care providers to increase the base rate and the tiered reimbursement for improved quality. Providers can use these investments on facilities and curriculum assuring that kids enrolled in these programs are ready to thrive in kindergarten.
- In higher education, SB 6601, a new college savings plan for families, passed as an alternative and addition to the GET program. SB 6466 now streamlines learning accommodations for students receiving disability services enrolled at our public higher education institutions. Student transfers will no longer have to wait for disability services, providing every student what they need to be successful, right away.
- SB 6455 allocated more money to get students in teacher prep programs scholarships for high-need teaching positions. Test fees for teacher candidates can now be waived, and a central data system is being set up so that districts can see what teachers are out there applying for jobs in Washington. When beginning teachers get to schools, there is now money for peer mentor programs to support teacher quality and retention. Retired teachers are also now allowed to be re-hired as substitutes, which will help the shortage and assure students continue to learn even if their teacher is not in the building that day. And new money is available to train the classified staff who also work with groups of students, so that they have the tools to be a part of the core teaching team.
For all the 2017 legislative action, see our education bill tracker.