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Summary of Opportunity Gap House Bill 1541

Governor Jay Inslee signs Opportunity Gap House Bill 1541 into law, with (l-r) Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos and Rep. Tina Orwall

Governor Jay Inslee signs Opportunity Gap House Bill 1541 into law, with (l-r) Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos and Rep. Tina Orwall

Thanks to the passage of HB 1541, students will no longer be suspended or expelled for discretionary offenses, and better statewide data on student demographics will ensure that the system is working to keep all students on track and in school.  All students suspended or expelled will receive educational services and school staff will be provided with new trainings that are sensitive to culture and positively support all students’ growth.

Read our summary of HB 1541 here.

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Specializing in the impossible

Highline Public Schools has been in the news over the last few years regarding its work on school discipline, and for good reason. The district’s out-of-school suspensions and expulsions have dropped precipitously since 2006, when the district began implementing positive behavioral interventions and supports, known as PBIS, in its schools.

And Highline Superintendent Susan Enfield has a bold goal—zero out-of-school suspensions (except those necessary for safety reasons) for her entire district by 2015. (more…)

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Bringing the Lessons from Baltimore to Washington State

Representatives from the League of Education Voters (LEV) and community-based organizations recently traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, to learn more about the discipline reforms that have  been implemented by Baltimore City Public Schools with great success. This is the ninth and last in the series, Lessons from Baltimore: Transforming School Discipline.

Tre' MaxieBy Tre’ Maxie, Member, Washington State Board of Education

I come from a family of educators. My family always valued education, and they set an expectation that I would not only attend college, but that we would also assist others in doing the same. I have been working to improve public education for a long time, so when the League of Education Voters invited me to visit Baltimore to see how Baltimore City Public Schools has successfully implemented equitable discipline reforms, I jumped at the chance. (more…)

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Baltimore Schools Make an Impact on African American Students

Representatives from the League of Education Voters (LEV) and community-based organizations recently traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, to learn more about the discipline reforms that have been implemented by Baltimore City Public Schools with great success. This is the eighth in the series, Transforming School Discipline: Lessons from Baltimore.

Reverend Dr. Carey AndersonBy Dr. Carey G. Anderson, Reverend, First African Methodist Episcopal Church

As a Pastor serving a local congregation in Seattle, Washington, I was greatly inspired to attend a trip sponsored by the League of Education Voters. This trip was an opportunity to interface with school administrators, teachers, and education partners in addressing school discipline and impacting the high school dropout rate in the city of Baltimore, Maryland.

One key observation with the school administrators that spoke with us was the inherent interest that is shown to each student. The model of student management focused on keeping students in the classroom, which included methods such as cognitive reasoning with students, behavior modification, active parental interaction, and the power of making choices. (more…)

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It’s about data

Representatives from League of Education Voters (LEV) and community-based organizations recently traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, to learn more about the discipline reforms that have been implemented by Baltimore City Public Schools with great success. This is the seventh in the series, Lessons from Baltimore: Transforming School Discipline.

Beth RicherBy Beth Richer, Government Relations, League of Education Voters

There were a number of messages, strategies, and lessons that the Baltimore City Public Schools staff and administrators shared with us on the issue of school discipline. Three of these messages have remained with me:

  1. First and foremost, take children as they are
  2. Policies cannot replace positive school culture
  3. What gets measured gets done

There is a critical step in revising school discipline policies that involves looking at the practical rather than the socio-emotional, and that involves data. (more…)

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It’s about collaboration

Representatives from League of Education Voters (LEV) and community-based organizations recently traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, to learn more about the discipline reforms that have been implemented by Baltimore City Public Schools with great success. This is the sixth in the series, Lessons from Baltimore: Transforming School Discipline.

Reverend Reggie WitherspoonBy Reggie Witherspoon, Reverend, Mount Calvary Christian Church

Mount Calvary Christian Church has been working for years with members of our community who have been to prison, and we’ve been aware of the “school-to-prison pipeline” for some time. Working with the League of Education Voters (LEV) has allowed us to begin working with members of our community sooner—during the “school” portion of the aforementioned “pipeline”—with the goal of preventing the “prison” part of it altogether.

At Mount Calvary, we believe that education plays a major role in nurturing a strong community. Education is power, and it’s what liberates us. Without education, poverty always leads to crime. One of the things we’re doing through our youth ministry is developing relationships with Meany Middle School, Franklin High School, and Garfield High School so that we can implement mentorship and tutoring programs to help students study and prepare for college.

I ultimately decided to join LEV on their listening tour of Baltimore schools because of the plight of our community members—particularly that of African American males. I wanted to see what was going on in Baltimore and what had been implemented successfully that we could bring home. (more…)

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It’s about the future

Representatives from League of Education Voters and community-based organizations recently traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, to learn more about the discipline reforms that have been implemented by Baltimore City Public Schools with great success. This is the fifth in the series, Lessons from Baltimore: Transforming School Discipline.

Tony MooreBy Tony Moore, Member, Federal Way School Board

The problems of the world will be solved by our future generations.

But when you look at where our kids are ending up, it’s clear that we are failing many of them. Our country has made a practice of punishing rather than nurturing our young, and it shows—in our school discipline practices, and in how we imprison so many of our citizens. Americans make up just five percent of the world’s population, but American jails hold a quarter of the world’s prisoners. Of those prisoners, nearly forty percent are African American, even though African Americans make up just thirteen percent of the United States population.

Many of the people in our prisons got there by way of archaic school discipline practices and the school-to-prison pipeline. To change this trajectory, we need to reform our school discipline practices. From there, we can work on solving the problems in our prison system and rebuild our communities so that everyone has a chance for success. (more…)

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It’s about civil rights

Representatives from League of Education Voters and community-based organizations recently traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, to learn more about the discipline reforms that have been implemented by Baltimore City Public Schools with great success. This is the fourth in the series, Lessons from Baltimore: Transforming School Discipline.

By Linda Mangel, Education Policy Director, ACLU of Washington

Children’s misbehavior should never be something they can’t recover from.

Linda Mangel, ACLU of Washington

Linda Mangel, Education Policy Director, ACLU of Washington

That was the overarching message I heard on a recent trip to meet with leaders and advocates from the Baltimore City School District. Thanks to a generous invitation from the League of Education Voters (LEV), I recently joined other education advocates, clergy, and LEV staff on a “scouting” mission to Baltimore.

About six years ago, Baltimore school leaders adopted the basic principle that student misconduct should never mean the end of a student’s education. They recognized that not only do suspensions and expulsions not work as a form of deterring future misconduct, but that these frequently spell the end of a student’s education. And, they recognized what we know to be true in Washington; that students of color are suspended and expelled far more often and for longer periods of time than their white peers, even when they engage in the same conduct.

Baltimore decided to stop suspending and expelling students from school for most forms of misbehavior—while some students may need a break from a particular class or may need to be removed from their home school for a time, no one should lose their right to an education for breaking a school rule.
(more…)

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It’s about the students

By Tracy Sherman, LEV Policy Analyst

The team tours a school in Baltimore. (Tracy Sherman on the far left.)

The team tours a school in Baltimore. (Tracy Sherman on the far left.)

Representatives from League of Education Voters and community-based organizations recently traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, to learn more about the discipline reforms that have been implemented by Baltimore City Public Schools with great success. This is the second in the series, Lessons from Baltimore: Transforming School Discipline.

In October 2013 I was part of a group that visited Baltimore to learn about Baltimore City Public Schools’ work to improve school discipline and keep students in school. While the discipline policy on paper matters, Baltimore’s success also depends on people and relationships. (more…)

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Transforming School Discipline: Lessons from Baltimore

By Kelly Munn, LEV State Field Director

The Seattle team in tours a school in Baltimore.Representatives from League of Education Voters and community-based organizations recently traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, to learn more about the discipline reforms that have been implemented by Baltimore City Public Schools with great success. Upon their return, each member contributed to our blog series, “Transforming School Discipline: Lessons from Baltimore.” The post below introduces the series, which will run through mid-December. (more…)

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