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LEV interviews Angela Duckworth, author of GRIT

Angela Duckworth
LEV Communications Director Arik Korman interviews University of Pennsylvania Psychologist Angela Duckworth about her new book, GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.  Dr. Duckworth talks about how grit cuts across cultures, how it can impact education and how we can’t do it alone.  Listen HERE

Posted in: Blog, Closing the Gaps, Higher Education, Podcast

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Our View on NPR’s School Money Education Funding Series, Part 3

By the LEV Policy TeamNPR School Money series part 2

The third and final installment of NPR’s School Money series asks the question, “is there a better way to pay for schools?” The piece explores some of the challenges states have faced in school funding, such as the Taxpayer Bill of Rights in Colorado, and three potential areas to change funding systems: property taxes, local control, and federal funding. The article is wide-ranging and does not offer specific proposals for reform. Ultimately readers are encouraged to engage in a dialogue, looking at the different needs of students in schools, and take a common view of students in their states and across the nation to address disparities in school funding.

The property tax section tells the story of Wyoming. In response to a court decision that ordered the legislature to “treat the wealth of the state as a whole,” the state increased and redistributed funding for schools, taking property tax revenue from districts with high property values and using it in districts with lower property values. However, while this system provides more funding for districts that cannot generate the same amount of money as wealthier districts, it does not take into consideration student need. This may be one of the reasons that the increase in funding has not resulted in an increase in student achievement. Increased investments need to be targeted to students if additional funding is to impact student outcomes, as we saw here. In Washington, we must be intentional about how we invest the new dollars for McCleary. We cannot simply put more money into a system that is not meeting the needs of so many of Washington’s students, particularly students of color and students living in poverty. Systems change and investment need to happen at the same time.

The California local control story offers an example of how resources can be targeted to the students that need them most. California provides additional resources based on student needs at the school level. The principal and the school community, including parents, then decide how to best spend those additional dollars. With this flexibility and local control also comes increased accountability—the principal is evaluated on student achievement, parent engagement, and school climate to ensure that the increased investments are being spent in ways that improve student outcomes. While it is very early in the implementation of California’s new funding model, the principles of student-focused investments, school level accountability according to multiple measures, and transparency in the budgeting process are all important considerations as we invest new resources into Washington’s schools.

While the NPR series has highlighted that money matters, and more importantly, how we use money matters, it has also illuminated that there is no single fix to the school funding issues plaguing most states. We may learn from the experiences of other states, but as we move forward to address our own inadequate and inequitable funding systems we will have to engage each other to find our own way. We need to view every student in Washington as our own student, not just the student that lives in our district. We must also understand that different students will require different levels of resources to access the same educational opportunities. Increased funding is not by definition equitable funding. We need to invest in every student with the intention of providing equal opportunity to learn, which will require viewing money as a tool, not an end in itself. If we keep the student at the center of our work, we have the potential to leverage the McCleary investments to provide equitable resources based on student needs and to begin to close opportunity gaps.

Posted in: Blog, Closing the Gaps, Money Matters

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Education Advocate May 2016

ED Advocate, League of Education Voters Newsletter, May 2016


Chris Korsmo
Chris Korsmo, CEO

It’s a glorious spring week and we’re busy gearing up for next year’s big discussion about how to address funding basic education across the state.  First, we’re exploring what should be included in the definition of basic education.  We welcome your input on what you think should be prioritized.  To that end, we’ll be hosting a series of FREE Lunchtime LEVinars throughout the spring and summer to highlight this meaty topic.

Our first LEVinar happens next Tuesday, May 17 at 12:30pm.  Our Policy team will share what we can expect from the Legislature’s McCleary Task Force, moderated by State Field Director Kelly Munn.  Register HERE.

Thank you to everyone who participated in GiveBIG last week!  Although there were some technical glitches that impacted the day, we still raised important funds that will help us ensure that our kids who need more support get the resources they need.

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

Chris Korsmo signature



Chris Korsmo

Thank You for Giving BIG!

Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG Day, 05.03.16 and 05.04.16We’d like to give a special shout-out to the Aurora Lilac Fund, Anonymous, Lisa Jaret, Betsy Johnson, Erin Kahn, Arik Korman, Amy Liu, Kelly Norton, Laurel Preston and Sharon Rodgers!

Any amount was appreciated and no gift was too small!

Thank you for giving big to LEV!

LEV’s Activist of the Month

Nancy Chamberlain (L) and Wendy Reynolds are May Activists of the Month
Nancy Chamberlain (L) and Wendy Reynolds

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 Activists of the Month for May: Nancy Chamberlain and Wendy Reynolds.

Read about how Nancy and Wendy harnessed the power of social media as an advocacy tool in their community. Read more

FREE Lunchtime LEVinar Tuesday, May 17

FREE Lunchtime LEVinar May 17, 2016LEV Policy Team members Julia Warth and Jake Vela will answer your questions on what the McCleary Task Force will do and what it won’t do.  Moderated by our State Field Director, Kelly Munn. 

When: Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 12:30 pm.
Register here

Get Involved


May 17 | Lunchtime LEVinar on the McCleary Task Force

| Donate online

League of Education Voters

League of Education Voters2734 Westlake Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109
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Posted in: Blog, Education Advocate, LEV News

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