It’s back to school time at my house, and that means the morning rush is in full swing – searching for that missing sock, packing up lunch, and making sure my third-grader has everything he needs to have a good day. All across Washington state, students like my son are running around to get to their classroom, ready to learn and hoping to receive what they need to have a good day, a good school year, and a good life.
League of Education Voters is excited for the new school year, too. We are hard at work advocating for every student to receive a great public education and the support necessary for success. For some students, also just like my son, the need is greater than quality instruction, curriculum, and classroom materials – they may also need mental health counseling, trauma-informed care, supplemental nutrition, or individualized learning assistance.
As you know, many Washington students do not receive these critical services, and the outcomes are devastating. Last year alone, more than 14,000 high school seniors in Washington did not graduate. Students who don’t graduate from high school are twice as likely to face unemployment throughout their life, and several studies indicate higher rates of mortality for these students, as well.
Support us today and join the voices demanding critical system transformation so Washington’s students receive the support they need to thrive, innovate, and become the leaders of tomorrow.
When you are rushing out the door tomorrow morning, think of the 1.1 million kids in Washington doing the same thing – they deserve, and will have, a brighter future with the help of League of Education Voters supporters like you.
Read below for more about our work.
Thanks again for all you do for Washington’s kids. We’re all in this together.
LEVinar: Next Steps in School Discipline
Joshua Lynch and Calandra Sechrist from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) will share updates regarding student discipline and implementation of HB 1541. Moderated by League of Education Voters State Field Director Kelly Munn. Register now
Our legislative scorecard highlights some of our key legislative priorities and the results. We know that the end of a legislative session or the passage of a bill is not the end of our work, but rather a step in a continuing journey to bring every Washington student an excellent public education – from early learning through higher education – that provides the opportunity for success. Read more
Our vision is that every student in Washington state has access to an excellent public education that provides the opportunity for success. Support our mission with your gift today! Donate now
Each week, the summer day camp program at South Shore focuses on a different theme, from detective skills, to learning social skills through board games, to science experiments. Arik Korman, along with League of Education Voters staff and board, had the pleasure of joining them during their Sweet Tooth week, which featured their take on the popular Food Network Chopped competition. Read more
Candace Harris is Director of the Valley Early Learning Center, part of the Valley School District about 45 miles north of Spokane. Because Valley is a rural school district, many of the families live in poverty. Read more
This has been a really devastating week for all of us. Racism is a stain on this country. Though it cannot be erased, we can work together to remedy its effects and make a future that reflects the values for which this country stands. We recognize that people of color experience the effects of racism every day, and that it impacts our students.
We believe that every child deserves the opportunity to achieve their dreams.
We cannot let events like Charlottesville drive us apart. We have to work together. This is not the first time that hatred has raised its ugly head, and it won’t be the last time.
What’s happening is not okay today, it wasn’t okay yesterday, and it’s not okay for tomorrow. We stand together to raise our voice unequivocally that we do not tolerate racism and we will not be silent.
League of Education Voters staff
Chris Korsmo, CEO
Daniel Zavala, Director of Policy and Government Relations
Leann Arend, Chief Operating Officer
Emily Ditty, Development Director
Nancy Hopkins, Senior Administrative and Accounting Assistant
Sandra Jarrard, Regional Field Director, Spokane
Ruvine Jiménez, Community Organizer, Tri-Cities Region
Arik Korman, Communications Director
Kelly Munn, State Field Director
Jessica Nieves, Development Associate
Angela Parker, Policy Analyst
Ashley Rammelsberg, Digital Communications Specialist
Jake Vela, Senior Policy Analyst
Julia Warth, Assistant Director of Policy and Government Relations
Joyce Yee, Community Organizer, South King County Region
English Language Learners are engaged in an innovative way using methods developed by Project GLAD
The Tukwila School District, one of the most diverse in the country, is in its third year of training elementary school teachers to engage English Language Learner (ELL) students in an innovative way. Project GLAD (Guided Language Acquisition Design) was field tested for nine years by the United States Department of Education and has been deployed across the country for more than 20. It is a professional development model in the area of academic language acquisition and literacy, designed to specifically target and promote language skills, academic achievement, and cross-cultural skills with groundbreaking efficiency.
At Tukwila Elementary School, trainer Jennica Kantak taught 20 fourth-grade students with support from Vice Principal Carla Carrizosa in front of an audience of about 20 elementary teachers from across the district. So far, 72 of Tukwila’s 90 elementary school teachers have taken part in GLAD trainings, which are funded by the state’s Transitional Bilingual Instructional Program (TBIP) and federal Title III money.
In this particular English Language Arts summer school remedial class, Jennica stressed to her students, whom she addressed as scholars, the importance of 21st-century collaboration skills. The morning began with the mantra of “Show respect, make good decisions, and solve problems.” On a colorful chart, she listed how cooperation looks, highlighting actions such as using a positive tone of voice, keeping voices off, focusing on the speaker, sharing resources, and being brave, patient, kind, flexible and organized.
I would like to introduce myself – I’m Arik Korman, Communications Director at the League of Education Voters. I’ve been on staff since November 2015, and served on the Board for two years prior. I have a son who is going into third grade in public school, and I believe that education, when done right, is the great equalizer in society. I’ll be sending you the monthly Education Advocate e-news, and am happy to kick things off by sharing our 2017 Legislative Session Scorecard. The 2017 legislative session resulted in plenty of good progress for Washington’s students, but much work remains to be done. Check out our Legislative Scorecard to see how we did on our legislative priorities.
Also, we’d like to thank our generous donors from the second quarter of 2017. We couldn’t do our work without you, so if you haven’t supported us lately, you can still make a gift today.
Read below for more about our work.
Thanks again for all you do for Washington’s kids. We’re all in this together.
Our legislative scorecard highlights some of our key legislative priorities and the results. We know that the end of a legislative session or the passage of a bill is not the end of our work, but rather a step in a continuing journey to bring every Washington student an excellent public education – from early learning through higher education – that provides the opportunity for success. Read the PDF now
We are excited about the progress we are seeing for Washington students in 2017. Thank you to all of our donors – we couldn’t do this work without you! Read more
We sat down with Team Child Legal Services Director David Huneryager to discuss the special education landscape in Washington state, this year’s US Supreme Court Endrew ruling and the ACLU’s lawsuit against the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and what would happen if we all believe that every child can learn. Listen now
As temperatures rise in Washington and August begins, it’s one month until students will be back at their desks ready to learn. Teachers are preparing for the upcoming academic year, and we want to highlight some of our favorite teacher resources that can enhance their classrooms and (hopefully) make their lives easier. Read now
Take our short, 9 question survey now to help us build our new website. Thank you! Take the survey now
Back to school time is almost here!
As temperatures rise in Washington and August begins, it’s one month until students will be back at their desks ready to learn. Teachers are preparing for the upcoming academic year, and we want to highlight some of our favorite teacher resources that can enhance their classrooms and (hopefully) make their lives easier.
Our favorite online teacher resources:
Duolingo is one of the largest online academies for language learning, used by many institutions and governments for language instruction, and now teachers can harness their powerful resources too. Duolingo for Schools offers resources for classroom management, allowing teachers to view students progress, assessments, strengths and weaknesses. The feedback is personalized for each student, so each student can focus on the areas they need to focus on.
Summer is a great time to focus on professional development. PBS Teacherline offers a variety of facilitated and self-paced courses that can enhance your teaching methods. Interested in teaching your students digital literacy? Looking for ways to up your STEM focus? PBS Teacherline has a variety of courses focusing on math, science, and technology, as well as language arts and history.
Enhance your geography lessons with Google Earth. You can take your students on a journey soaring over the Amazon Rain Forest, on a tour of the Eiffel Tower, or explore the Rocky Mountains. Google Earth can add a stunning visual element to your lessons, allowing students to travel around the world and see what they are learning about in their geography lessons.
Another resource from PBS is their LearningMedia site partnered with their Teachers Lounge. PBS LearningMedia offers a wealth of lesson plans and resources, videos, and professional development resources. They offer breakdowns by grade level and subject matter if you’re looking for lessons for your students. The lessons also give information about what learning standards they cover. This website has a wealth of knowledge and resources ready to be tapped into!
Want to show your students dinosaur fossils up close? Interested in taking a look at the Star Spangled Banner? Looking to quiz your students on the U.S. Presidents? Smithsonian Education brings the vast resources of the Smithsonian into your classroom. History comes to life with their depth of resources, bringing your students closer to history.
Did we miss a resource you love? Let us know! Leave us a comment and let us know what resources you use in your classroom.
Check out our blog on Summer Learning Loss for even more online resources.
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 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
How 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
What 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 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
Join us for a LEVinar: How ACEs and Complex Trauma Impact Learning | Register now
HELP SUPPORT THE LEAGUE OF EDUCATION VOTERS | Donate online
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:
- Does this solution pass constitutional muster, i.e. will we have made the court happy?
- 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?
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:
Looking for pre-K resources for your little learner? Greatschools.org 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.
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.
Write 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!
Grab 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:
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.
Cook 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?
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.
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!
It’s here, it’s here, it’s finally here!
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:
- You say you want a revolution? Henry Louis Gates is all in.
- Tech jobs are “new collar” jobs.
- As are cybersecurity.
- Two random bits of good news. Longevity. GaGa.
- If you’ve ever watched a movie based on a Dan Brown novel and rolled your eyes because “that’s not possible,” check this ancient ‘skull cult’.
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.