League of Education Voters http://educationvoters.org Building a quality public education system from cradle to career. Fri, 22 May 2015 22:21:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Recap of our Lunchtime LEVinars http://educationvoters.org/2015/05/13/recap-of-our-lunchtime-levinars/ http://educationvoters.org/2015/05/13/recap-of-our-lunchtime-levinars/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 21:00:18 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=24470 By Josefina Hellensberg

Finding Our Way ForwardA few days after the regular legislative session wrapped up, the special session kicked into full force on April 29. Now we watch as the debate continues in this (and perhaps a second) special session and the budget is finalized.

The League of Education Voters (LEV) hosted a series of Lunchtime LEVinars to keep voters updated on the proposed budgets from the House of Representatives and the Senate, and the effects that they have on education in our state. Although each budget proposal have differences in how they fund education, they both make huge investments in our public education system, and regardless of how the final budget comes together, the outcome will be promising for students throughout Washington state.

In our webinar series, we heard from Senator Andy Hill and Representative Ross Hunter, lead budget writers for the Senate and House budgets, respectively. Senator Hill and Representative Hunter each discussed their respective budget proposals and answered audience questions. The series wrapped up with a presentation from LEV’s own Government Relations Director Frank Ordway on the strengths of each proposal, along with areas that LEV hopes will be better funded in the budget by the time negotiations are finalized.

Frank says that the investments in both proposals are similar and direct considerable funding toward early learning, K–12 funding, fulfilling McCleary requirements, and higher education. The House budget has presented a proposal that funds early learning more robustly than the Senate’s proposal, with $227 million compared to the proposed $100 million in the Senate’s budget. With respect to K–12 investments, the Senate has worked hard to ensure that more of those dollars go toward increased services for students, something that we do not see as clearly in the House budget.

Another big difference in the two proposals is the investments in higher education. Two years ago, we saw a tuition freeze in our state, and this session the Senate has proposed a tuition decrease, which would be the first tuition reduction in Washington since the 1970s. The House budget continues the tuition freeze.

Both budget proposals include investments and prioritizations that we agree with, but we are watching closely as the Legislatures grapples with levy reform, which will be a central part of the debate as we get closer to a final deal.

You can watch to this webinar series by visiting our website.

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Opt Out? Widen the Gap http://educationvoters.org/2015/05/08/opt-out-widen-the-gap/ http://educationvoters.org/2015/05/08/opt-out-widen-the-gap/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 18:00:41 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=24455 Hope Teague-BowlingHope Teague-Bowling is a board member of the League of Education Voters (LEV) Foundation. Hope is a National Board Certified Teacher at Lincoln High School in Tacoma and teaches Sophomore English and AP Language and Composition. She writes for Stories from School, the Center for Strengthening the Teacher Profession‘s blog.

Below is an excerpt of a recent article she wrote, “Opt Out? Widen the Gap.” Read the entire article on the Stories from School blog.

It’s testing season. Each year I administer whatever Language Arts assessment is currently required by law. I glance over the Pearson booklet at the rows of earnest faces nervously listening to the directions of their state assessment. They know results will be used to determine whether or not their receive a diploma. Their eyes communicate “we will do you proud” while their scrunched up noses say, “you’d better have taught us what we need to be successful on this thing.”

Walking the rows, I think about how 78.6% of the students in my building qualify for free and reduced lunch. At least 8% are ELL and 13.4% are in Special Education programs. More than anything, my students need education opportunities that will set them on a trajectory out of poverty and in pursuit of their version of the “American Dream.” Yet we know that this dream is guarded by a variety of gatekeepers, most vital of which is access to quality post-secondary education. One such gatekeeper is the ominous standardized test.

I understand the urge of parents and teachers to want to resist this system and opt out. Yet, every time the topic of standardized testing is brought up I can’t help but wonder…. Does the opt-out movement actually widen the opportunity gap???

I’m hard pressed to find research on this topic and I have no time for a PhD. Yet, the continued presence of a culture of low expectations for low-income students and students of color leads me to believe there is a relationship between low expectations, low performance results, and opting out of testing.

The entire article is on the Stories from Schools blog.

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Activist of the Month: Gabriel Portugal http://educationvoters.org/2015/05/04/activist-of-the-month-gabriel-portugal/ http://educationvoters.org/2015/05/04/activist-of-the-month-gabriel-portugal/#comments Mon, 04 May 2015 16:00:49 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=24412 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 Activist of the Month for May: Gabriel Portugal. Read more about Gabriel’s advocacy and activism in his community.

Representative Dan Newhouse with the travelers from Washington. From left: Gabriel Portugal, Rep. Newhouse, Quontica Sparks, and Ruvine Jiménez.

Representative Dan Newhouse with the travelers from Washington. From left: Gabriel Portugal, Rep. Newhouse, Quontica Sparks, and Ruvine Jiménez.

Gabriel Portugal has been involved in his community for his entire career. A retired educator, Gabriel served two terms on the Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs. As Commissioner, Gabriel founded Washington’s Latino Legislative Day (now known as the Latino Civic Alliance) to empower members of the Latino community to advocate for themselves and their families. Gabriel says he declined to serve as Latino Legislative Day Board member for more than four years because he believes that “when you’re in a position of power for too long, you lose your efficacy as a grassroots activist.”

Among Gabriel’s accomplishments is his work to help pass the DREAM Act. He says it took three years of work, but the bill finally passed (as the Real Hope Act) in 2014. Gabriel was also recently invited to join the Latino Civic Alliance because of his advocacy work after the shooting of Antonio Zambrano-Montes in February.

Gabriel has volunteered with the city of Pasco for the last 20 years. Gabriel met League of Education Voters Community Organizer Ruvine Jiménez while working at the Pasco School District in the mid-’90s, and the two have worked together on community issues for many years since then. He also met former LEV Community Organizer Micaela Razo in Sunnyside at a 2014 advocacy training. Gabriel was struck by LEV’s mission and continued to stay connected with Micaela and Ruvine so that he could advocate for education when opportunities presented themselves.

One such opportunity presented itself this January, when Gabriel traveled to Washington, DC, with Ruvine and former Activist of the Month Quontica Sparks. The trio attended a US Senate Education Community hearing on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization and spoke extensively with Rep. Dan Newhouse. Gabriel returned to Washington state with a better understanding of how the ESEA can serve all students, regardless of their situation or background. In a letter to the editor in February, Gabriel writes, “Students from disadvantaged homes will be most affected if states are no longer accountable.”

Ruvine commended Gabriel for his willingness to travel to the other Washington on such short notice. “His experiences and insight were invaluable in our conversation with Rep. Newhouse and others in DC.”

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Join Joyce Yee for coffee: May meetings http://educationvoters.org/2015/05/01/join-joyce-yee-for-coffee-may-meetings/ http://educationvoters.org/2015/05/01/join-joyce-yee-for-coffee-may-meetings/#comments Fri, 01 May 2015 17:00:30 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=24423 Joyce YeeI invite you to join me over coffee for a series of informal meetings to share your stories and discuss how to advocate for education to our policymakers.

This is a critical year for education. We are working to ensure that increases in education funding—as a result of McCleary v. Washington or other efforts—are ample, equitable, stable, and targeted toward evidenced-based strategies that improve access and outcomes for all students. Our vision for public education is one that guarantees every Washington student the opportunity for a high-quality education from early learning through the first two years of college.

I am holding two different types of coffee meetings multiple times each month:

  1. The first is a space to share your stories and hear about what is happening in your community. Chat with us about your experiences advocating for change in your community and get to know your neighbors and community members better!
  2. The second is a space to share your stories and learn how to share them with your policymakers. If you yourself have some policy updates to share, please bring those! Chat with us about your hopes and practice advocacy work through written or online messages, phone calls, in-person meetings with legislators, or town hall meetings.

These are both drop-in meetings. Please stop by and enjoy a cup of coffee on me!

Below are the scheduled coffee meetings for the month of May:

I hope you will join me! If you have any questions, please contact me at Joyce@educationvoters.org or 206.251.2629.

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Dear Legislature: The time is now http://educationvoters.org/2015/04/29/dear-legislature-the-time-is-now/ http://educationvoters.org/2015/04/29/dear-legislature-the-time-is-now/#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2015 14:00:10 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=24397 Dear Legislature,

Chris Korsmo, CEO, League of Education Voters

Chris Korsmo

Thank you for your hard work and commitment to ensuring a high-quality public education for each Washington student, from early learning through higher education. The Legislature is poised to pass the most comprehensive education budget in the history of the state that has the potential to increase opportunities for all Washington students.

But there is important work that still needs to be done.

We must ensure expanded access to quality early learning by passing the Early Start Act. We must increase the number of people who can access the State Need Grant Program. But the biggest job left to tackle is in K–12 education. To address legal issues and profound inequity in the current system, we must design a cogent, viable, funding plan for K–12 education.

The recent proposals from legislative leaders, Superintendent Dorn and State Treasurer McIntire, put a lot of the elements on the table. They include components the League of Education Voters believes are critical to student success and to provide the stability our teachers deserve and our constitution requires:

  • Levy and funding reform
    End reliance on local levy funding to fund basic K–12 education expenses, including teacher salaries. In addition to being legally required, this will address the inequities in the current system.Levy reform is a critical first step, but on its own it will not provide enough funding for the necessary systemic investments that must be made in the coming years.
  • Teacher compensation and professional development reform
    Pay for K–12 teacher salaries from state funds, not local levies. This will make teacher salary increases more uniform statewide, facilitating more equitable compensation for teachers from district to district.Strategic investments in K–12 teacher compensation are a good start, but LEV believes they must be combined with time for high-quality, job-aligned professional learning, team collaboration, and planning.
  • Increases to starting teacher salaries
    Increase starting base pay for teachers. In Washington, starting base pay for beginning teachers is $34,048. Changes to our state’s compensation system are necessary to attract, retain, and reward quality teaching. Our current system pays too little for starting teachers, is results blind, and is too focused on time served and degrees earned rather than the difficulty of the job, student growth, and career ladders.
  • Healthcare for all K–12 employees
    Shift the responsibility for all K–12 employees’ health benefits to the state. This will save the state money and increase the quality of coverage for thousands of employees, not just teachers. It will reduce out-of-pocket costs for most K–12 employees, especially those with families.

Good pay, benefits, and a thriving work environment will help us recruit and retain the best public school employees. The policy proposals above provide a framework for the most critical investments that must be made to move forward our K–12 system. We must be certain that there is real money to pay for these essential elements

Unless we complete this important work, we won’t see dramatic increases in student achievement we should expect and demand and the legal bind the Legislature is in will continue.

Collectively, the Legislature has made real progress.

Now you have the chance to do something truly historic.

The League of Education Voters looks forward to continuing to work with you to create an ample, equitable, and stable funding system to benefit all our state’s students.

Thank you for all you do for kids,

Chris Korsmo

At the League of Education Voters, we believe a student’s education should be a continuum with seamless transitions from early learning through postsecondary education. Read more about our plan to achieve this vision at A Way Forward and take action.

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Fully funding basic education http://educationvoters.org/2015/04/16/fully-funding-basic-education/ http://educationvoters.org/2015/04/16/fully-funding-basic-education/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 19:06:49 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=24378 While the final days of this legislative session are nearing, yesterday leaders from both the House and Senate proposed three plans to reform the ways schools in our state are financed and end an over-reliance on local levies. These plans are in addition to a plan put forward by State Superintendent Randy Dorn earlier this week. Currently, local levy funding is used to pay for basic education costs, including teacher salaries and school supplies; costs that the State Constitution requires be covered by the State. This is major step forward on one of most vexing challenges confronting the state legislature.

We know that teachers make the biggest school-based difference in a child’s education. Effective school leadership plays a significant role in the academic results of students building-wide. Strategic investments in K–12 teacher compensation and professional learning are necessary to close gaps and improve outcomes for all kids. By ensuring the state is fulfilling its responsibility, we will ensure these critical elements are in place to benefit our children.

In the past few days, multiple proposals have been introduced. The proposal from Senator Bruce Dammeier is the most comprehensive in its recommended system reforms. It limits local levy funding for expenses that are not “basic,” meaning that teacher salaries would be covered by the state. This will make teacher salary increases more uniform statewide, facilitating more equitable compensation for teachers from district to district and freeing up local levy funding for supplemental program costs, as originally intended.

In addition, for the first time, healthcare for all K–12 employees would also be covered by the state. The proposal saves the state money and increases quality of coverage for thousands of employees. It will reduce out-of-pocket costs for most K–12 employees, especially those with families.

The proposal also includes increases to starting teacher salaries. In Washington, starting base pay for beginning teachers is $34,048. Changes to our state’s compensation system are necessary to attract, retain, and reward quality teaching. Our current system pays too little for starting teachers, is results-blind, and is too focused on time served and degrees earned rather than the difficulty of the job, student growth, and career ladders.

To finance the reforms in his proposal, Senator Dammeier includes a property tax reform concept as a first step. The proposal also includes regional adjustments to ensure that communities with the lowest assessed properties would receive additional resources. The financing plan would be phased in over a two-year period, during the 2017–19 biennium, giving school districts time to prepare. We are still analyzing if the proposal completely funds the plan or if additional resources might be needed to make it work.

The League of Education Voters thanks our leaders in Olympia for their ongoing hard work, refusal to accept the status quo, and commitment to ensuring a high-quality public education for each Washington student, from cradle to career. We will continue to work them to create an ample, equitable, and stable funding system for our schools.

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Korsmo’s Weekly Roundup: April 15 http://educationvoters.org/2015/04/15/korsmos-weekly-roundup-april-15/ http://educationvoters.org/2015/04/15/korsmos-weekly-roundup-april-15/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 23:00:55 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=24319 If you’re a baseball fan, the new rules intended to speed up the game are likely a welcome relief. Unfortunately, those same rules don’t apply to the legislative session. This session, once on track for an on-time ending, is now cruising at a speed close to stop—as if stuck in a perpetual pitching change. I won’t use the “righty” or “lefty” metaphor to describe the whole thing, because we’d be looking at a third arm to save this game. And, well, that’s a tortured metaphor even I can’t do.

The current debate—if you can call it that, with both sides pretty much just ignoring the other—centers on an age old polemic: taxes. Whether to raise, what to raise, etc., etc.—Voters, much like the legislators representing them, seem split according to a new Elway poll. Though the divide could be that folks didn’t buy into the forced choice: raise taxes and fully fund education, or don’t raise taxes and cut social services. A choice that hasn’t been forced in the Legislature, and likely won’t be.

One huge education budget item that policymakers will have to deal with is how and whether to fund the class-size initiative. Both the House and Senate fund further reductions to class size from kindergarten through third grade, as they are part of the State’s definition of basic education. From there, the Senate would send the initiative back to the voters, to ask whether they really want to spend $3.8 billion in this way. The House objects to this, but doesn’t provide a solution to the initiative beyond the K–3 funding. Meanwhile, Superintendent Randy Dorn released his own plan. Team LEV applauds his call for reducing the reliance on local levies and reforming the teacher compensation system.

Get your own take on the budgets next week and hear directly from Sen. Andy Hill and Rep. Ross Hunter in our upcoming LEVinar series.

A piece of good news, early learning seems somewhat immune to political—or even jurisdictional—controversy. The state budget will likely fund the Early Start Act. And Seattle begins implementing its pre-K initiative.

On other fronts, the conversation over the new state learning standards and their assessments continues to get lots of ink and air. While there is widespread support for the standards, the response to the assessments is varied. Driven in large part by misinformation and touch of hysteria, an opt-out “movement” threatens to wreak havoc on our ability to know whether kids are actually learning the standards. Thankfully, here in Washington, the problem seems somewhat isolated to that special snowflake we call Seattle.

Meanwhile, in the other Washington, Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) have hammered out a compromise on reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The “Every Child Achieves Act” maintains federal requirements for statewide assessments, but changes much of the accountability framework of the “No Child Left Behind Act.” The bill has a long way to go, as it begins the journey through the rest of the Senate before going over to the House.

A couple of good reads for this week:

That’s it for right now. You can find updates on state policy here. As always, thanks for all you do on behalf of Washington’s kids.

Chris (and Team LEV)


Korsmo’s Weekly Roundup is emailed to subscribers weekly and posted on our blog on Fridays during the 2015 legislative session. Sign up to receive Korsmo’s Weekly Roundup via email.

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Possibly the best budget for education in our history http://educationvoters.org/2015/04/08/possibly-the-best-budget-for-education-in-our-history/ http://educationvoters.org/2015/04/08/possibly-the-best-budget-for-education-in-our-history/#comments Wed, 08 Apr 2015 21:30:25 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=24309 Last week, our CEO Chris Korsmo was cautiously optimistic when she wrote about the proposed budgets, saying that Washington was “heading in the right direction on education funding.”

This week, I will go one step further. By the end of this legislative session, what we will see is possibly the best budget for education in the history of the State.

Yes, that is a bold statement, especially with so many issues still unaddressed. However, we can see that the Legislature will invest more comprehensively across the spectrum of education than they ever have.

The League of Education Voters has long argued that a child’s education should be a continuum with seamless transitions from early learning through higher education. We have worked with partners around the state in pursuit of that vision, including with the Cradle through College Coalition. It is gratifying to see the Legislature following through with strategies and investments that support students at all ages.

Below, I elaborate on the supports added, as well as some of the supports still needed, in early learning, K–12 education, and higher education that will bring Washington closer to providing all students access to a public education system that prepares them to succeed and provides them the opportunities to reach that success

Early learning

Washington state has made steady progress over the years in increasing access to high-quality early learning. While that progress has been meaningful, it has also left far too many children without care and far too many in poor care.

This year, our Legislature is poised to increase access to high-quality early learning and dramatically increase the quality and viability of our childcare system.

In addition to this meaningful step, we need to ensure that children get continuity of service. The current approach causes too many children to cycle into and out of care due to fluctuations in their family’s income levels. We need to ensure stability in their lives by guaranteeing meaningful timeframes for service and end the month-to-month approach to maintaining eligibility for childcare.

K–12 education

While the Washington State Supreme Court has held the Legislature’s collective feet to the fire, we will have two successive budgets that make major investments in K–12 education. Our state will continue on a legitimate path toward satisfying major parts of our obligations to our public schools, including fully funding full-day kindergarten by 2016–2017 and fully funding school materials, supplies, and operating costs (collectively referred to as “MSOC”). Both the House and Senate also added funding for guidance counselors, family engagement personnel, and services for English Language Learner (ELL) students. In addition, K–12 teachers, who have not received cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) since 2008, will finally receive them with this budget. Over one million Washington students will benefit from this budget. This in undeniable and laudable progress.

But so far we have seen no progress on the vexing issue of local levies being used to pay for basic education. Untying this knot is as complicated as anything in state politics (think revising the entire tax code at the federal level for a comparison). However, left unresolved, this issue not only leaves thorny legal issues, it also ensures continued inequities in access for students, wasted state investments, uneven pay for our teachers, and intractable financial challenges for local districts. We must end the use of local levies to pay for state obligations to our schools and fund a rational salary and benefit system for our public school employees.

Higher education

Given where we were a few short years ago, when higher education was used as the ATM machine to balance the budget (higher education took a 50 percent cut between 2008 and 2013), the change is as positive as it is breathtaking.

At a minimum, tuition will be held at current levels and may even go down. Faculty and staff at both two- and four-year institutions will receive long-delayed increases in pay. Targeted investments in high-need areas will be made. The financial solvency of the successful College Bound Scholarship Program is maintained.

As we head toward the final deal, the last piece of the puzzle is to ensure that we make progress in addressing the waiting list for the State Need Grant. Low-income families and people in transition from one career to another are the most price-sensitive consumers of higher education. While the potential for a tuition decrease is meaningful to many Washington families, it is not a deal maker for those that still cannot afford higher education. We must address funding for the State Need Grant and access for the more than 30,000 Washingtonians who want to go to college but cannot afford to.

Last fall, I urged our lawmakers to keep the “art of compromise” in mind as they worked together on a path forward that provided ample, equitable, and sustainable funding for public education in our state. With these budgets, I am pleased to say that we are closer than ever before to achieving just that.

We are planning a Lunchtime LEVinar series this month on education funding in the budget, Finding Our Way Forward. Stay tuned for more information or sign up for event announcements!

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Celebrating our 2015 Donors: First Quarter http://educationvoters.org/2015/04/07/celebrating-our-2015-donors-first-quarter/ http://educationvoters.org/2015/04/07/celebrating-our-2015-donors-first-quarter/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 17:00:43 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=24279 January 1–March 31, 2015

Thank you2015 has gotten off to a great start. Thank you to all of our sponsors and donors who gave generously at our annual breakfast on March 26, 2015!

Donations are made to the League of Education Voters (LEV) and the LEV Foundation by individuals, groups, and businesses throughout the community. These generous donations from those who believe in high-quality public education allow us to ensure measurable progress toward LEV’s vision that every student in Washington state has access to an excellent public education that provides the opportunity for success.

We regret any omissions or errors to the donor list. Please contact our Development Manager, Jackie Schultz, by emailing jackie@educationvoters.org or by calling 206.728.6448 with any questions or to correct any information.

Donor Names

Courtney Acitelli Malcolm Grothe Mary Ellen O’Keeffe
Anne Adams Kacey Guin Colleen Oliver
Alaska Airlines Clarence Gunn Ordinary People Foundation
Rachelle Alston Erin Gustafson Frank Ordway
Glenn Anderson Cathy Habib Vicki Orrico
Anonymous Nick & Leslie Hanauer Pacific Coast Feather Company
Anonymous Edie Harding Alan Painter
Anonymous Kevin Harrang Deborah Parsons
Apex Foundation Leah Hausman Betty Patu
Lesley & Jim Austin Leanne Hawkins John Pehrson
Janis Avery and Mary Kabrich Linda Hendrickson Melissa Pendelton
Dea Barnett Jean Hernandez Jeff Petty
Destiny Bassett David Hill Susan Pierson Brown
Russ Beard Lindsay Hill Thomas Pitchford
Pamela Belyea Aaron Hilliard Mona Pitre-Collins
Heidi Bennett Kathryn Hobbs Mary Lynne Poole
Karen Besserman Charles Hoff Dave Powell
The Boeing Company Ross Hogin Tamara Power-Drutis
Bezos Family Foundation Ray Holmdahl Laurel Preston
The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation Lisa and Sam Howe Verhovek Mitch Price
Alexandra Blackstone Jason Huff Marquita Prinzing
J. Paul Blake Ashley Hulsey Kathy Putt
Stephan Blanford Jim Hurley Lyle Quasim
Frank Blethen Peter Hussey Rene Radcliff Sinclair
David Bley Andrea Insley Tony Ramsey
Paul and Debbi Brainerd Dena Isaac Brinton (Brinnie) Ramsey
Heather Bridges Thelma Jackson Sheri Ranis
Theresa Britschgi Trudi Jackson Jon Reingold
Doug Brown Debrena and Kiana Jackson Gandy Sarah Reyneveld
Tom Brubaker Marty Jacobs Mian Rice
Bill Bryant Betsy Johnson Tom Riley
Diane Buckley Katherine Johnson Judy Rogers
Tom Bugert Alex and Kimberly Johnston Matt Rosenberg
Tim Burgess Jene Jones Dave Rule
Malia Burns Erin Kahn Renee Russak
Sarah Butcher Katherine Kaiser Angela Russell
Kurt Buttleman Ata Karim Naria Santa Lucia
Terry Byington Jennifer Karls David Schaefer
Sylvester Caan IV Thomas Kelly Juliette Schindler Kelly
Christine Campbell Jillian Killby School Employees Credit Union of Washington
Greg Canova and Barbara Linde Paul Killpatrick Cheryl Schulz
Allison Capen and Mark Iverson Caroline King Kiana Scott
Cerillion Partners K & L Gates Carol Scott Kasner
Michael Cheever Susan Klastorin The Seattle Times
Lisa Chick Katherine Kleitsch Pete Sechler
Lisa Chin Danette Knudson Adel Sefrioui
Betsy Cohen Mike Komola John Sharify
College Success Foundation Arik Korman Gene Sharratt
Christy Collins Chris Korsmo Barry Shaw
Lance and Marilyn Colyar Diane Kroll Bill Shaw
Stephan Coonrod Alison Krupnick Mike Sheehan
Karen Cooper Lee Lambert Tracy Sherman
Julie Cooper Mary Beth Lambert Adam and Sarah Sherman
Karen Cooper LaVerne Lamoureux Kimberly Shin
Lynn Coriano Steve and Janet Leahy Christine Shotwell
Juan Cotto Sherry Lehmann Byron Shutz
Aileen Cronin Seth Levy Beth Sigall
Bruce Dammeier Yuyun Lewis Carolyn Simpson
Steve Daschle Kristina Libby Priya Singh
Jessica de Barros Tracy Libros Ekkarath Sisavatdy
Heidi De Laubenfels Steve Litzow Walter Sive and Cheryl Ellsworth
Tania de Sa Campos Amy Liu Catherine Smith
Michael And Marie DeBell Jenny Lockwald Amy Spinelli
Lisa Decker Grindell Lisa and Ross Macfarlane Nelle Steele
John D. Delafield Bill MacGeorge Denise Stiffarm
DHM Research Cathy MacLeod Susan Sullivan
Cheryl Di Re Peter Maier and Liz Tennant Shirley Sutton
Carmela Dillino Caroline Maillard Catherine Sweeney
Wendy Durst Angus Mairs Anne Tarver
EcoNorthwest Paola Maranan Mary Theisen
Deb Eddy Sarah Margeson Jennifer Thompson
Frank Edgar Kimberly Martinez Thrive Washington
Susann Edmond Harium Martin-Morris Lynne Tucker
Lisa Eggers Dawn Mason Tulalip Tribes
John Engber Matt Matson United Way of King County
Meeghan Engberg Marcie Maxwell Carol Van Noy
Walter Euyang Kristina Mayer Tom & Karen Vander Ark
Kelly Evans Marian McDermott Jake Vela
Cary Evans Joanne McEachen Vulcan Inc.
Rick Farmer Lauren McGuire Jill Wakefield
Mary Fertakis Rob McKenna Liz Warman
Fidelity Charitable Gifts McKinstry Kevin Washington
Bill Fleming and Steven B. Zeliadt Bob McNamara Washington State University
Kathryn Flores Gil Mendoza Yolanda Watson Spiva
Beth Foster Jennifer Merkel and Chris Charles Suzanne Weaver
Kyle Frankiewich Alison Meryweather Vicki Weeks
Thomas Franta Tom Mesaros Pam Weeks
Jim Fridley Maggie Meyers Tom Weeks and Deborah Oyer
David Frockt Microsoft Corporation Bob Weeks and Sally Shintaffer
Carol Frodge Steve Miller John & Lisa Welch
Sandi Fukumoto Susan Mitchell Ronna Weltman
Mark Funk Jessica Monger Scott Wetstone
C. Gants Cliff Monlux Sara Wetstone
Jill Geary & Neil Beaton Erik Morgan Sam Whiting
Kevin Geiger Sara Morris Jen Wickens
Connie Gerlitz Pam Morris Maggie Wilkens
Stacy Gillett Katie Mosehauer Cindi Williams
Heather Gingerich Kelly Munn Jill Williams
Anthony Gittens Isabel Munoz Colon Lilna Williams
Susan Goding Marty and Melissa Nelson D.C. Wolf
Rebecca Goehner Dean Nielsen Elaine Woo
Ben Golden Stephen Nielsen Kristen Woodward
Meg Goldman Roxana Norouzi Larry Wright
Ann Goos Jessica Norouzi Gerald Wright
Barry Goren Eileen Norton and Patricia Bettasso John Wyble
Jon Gould Manuel & Vange Ocasio Hochheimer Florencia Ybarra
Daniel Greenstein Ann O’Doherty Evelyn Yenson
Howard Greenwood Gary Oertli Dan Youmans
Ryan Groshong Mari Offenbecher Jenny Young
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Activist of the Month: Dakoda Foxx http://educationvoters.org/2015/04/06/activist-of-the-month-dakoda-foxx/ http://educationvoters.org/2015/04/06/activist-of-the-month-dakoda-foxx/#comments Mon, 06 Apr 2015 17:00:05 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=24267 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 Activist of the Month for April: Dakoda Foxx. Read more about Dakoda’s advocacy and activism in her community.

Dakoda FoxxDakoda Foxx’s advocacy work began close to home in 2011, after her daughter was suspended for 100 days. Dakoda knew this “wasn’t right,” so she went to TeamChild to talk to them about her daughter’s IEP (Individualized Education Program) and her options for reengagement. Through her conversations about school discipline, Dakoda learned that many parents in her Puyallup community had children facing the same issues.

From there, she began advocating in earnest. Dakoda advocated at all levels—from doorbelling to testifying about discipline. In 2012, Dakoda began looking for organizations who would work on legislation about school discipline, and that’s how she learned that the League of Education Voters was already working on Senate Bill 5946.

The rest, as they say, is history. Dakoda has continued testifying about school discipline and closing the gaps on a regular basis—most recently in support of Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos’ bill on closing the achievement gap (HB 1541). Shortly before that testimony, Dakoda also spoke at the March State Board of Education meeting in Tacoma about transforming school discipline.

One thing that Dakoda strongly believes is that you cannot silo an issue like school discipline without looking at the larger implications—you cannot transform school discipline without looking at the opportunity and achievement gaps; likewise, you cannot close the gaps without looking at school discipline. “You have to focus on both—they’re symptoms of a greater problem.”

Dakoda also stresses the role of cultural competency in closing gaps. “Kids act out when they feel they are not being heard or represented. They’re also watching, and they know when schools don’t care or aren’t being held accountable.”

League of Education Voters Community Organizer Joyce Yee describes Dakoda as a “fantastic advocate for families and children,” always willing to go the extra mile. In her spare time, Dakoda volunteers at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and at her local Boys and Girls Club.

Going forward, Dakoda plans to continue focusing on school discipline. “We need to actually do what we promised to do with the new law. Right now, a lot of people are talking, while doing nothing.” And, Dakoda plans to add her energy to efforts to ensure that low-income students have access to the supports they need to successfully complete college.

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