League of Education Voters http://educationvoters.org Building a quality public education system from cradle to career. Fri, 27 May 2016 21:11:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 League of Education Voters announces 2016 endorsements http://educationvoters.org/2016/05/27/league-of-education-voters-announces-2016-endorsements/ http://educationvoters.org/2016/05/27/league-of-education-voters-announces-2016-endorsements/#respond Fri, 27 May 2016 17:14:15 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=25878 LDMap2For the 2016 election cycle, the League of Education Voters has endorsed 39 candidates that we believe will help to improve outcomes for our state’s students.  They shared some of our beliefs like the importance of the education continuum, the importance of excellent instruction and the importance of believing every child can succeed.  We are endorsing 39 candidates on both sides of the aisle with whom we share these values.

Governor Jay Inslee says, “I’m thrilled to receive the League of Education Voters endorsement. LEV knows we’ve got to keep working to ensure our children receive the education they need to compete in a rapidly changing global economy that constantly demands new skills. That’s why I worked with both Republicans and Democrats to pass historic and comprehensive improvements to the education our children receive, including implementing all-day kindergarten, lowering class sizes for grades K-3, and cutting tuition at state community colleges, technical colleges, and 4-year schools. I won’t rest until we fulfill our obligation to our kids and grandkids, because I believe every student deserves a good education and an opportunity to fulfill their dreams.”

Below is the list of candidates LEV has endorsed.
To support these candidates, donate to our Political Action Fund today!

Governor Endorsement:  Governor Jay Inslee

Legislative Endorsements:

Candidates for the Senate

District Name Party
1 Guy Palumbo D
3 Andy Billig D
5 Mark Mullet D
9 Mark Schoesler R
10 Barbara Bailey R
16 Maureen Walsh R
18 Ann Rivers R
20 John Braun R
23 Christine Rolfes D
25 Hans Zeiger R
36 Reuven Carlyle D
41 Steve Litzow R

Candidates for the House of Representatives

District Name Party
2 JT Wilcox R
5 Paul Graves R
10 Norma Smith R
13 Tom Dent R
13 Matt Manweller R
16 Skyler Rude R
21 Lillian Ortiz-Self D
23 Drew Hansen D
25 Melanie Stambaugh R
26 Michelle Caldier R
28 Dick Muri R
28 Mike Winkler R
29 David Sawyer D
31 Drew Stokesbary R
32 Ruth Kagi D
33 Tina Orwall D
36 Gael Tarleton D
37 Eric Pettigrew D
39 Dan Kristiansen R
40 Kris Lytton D
41 Tana Senn D
41 Judy Clibborn D
43 Frank Chopp D
45 Larry Springer D
47 Pat Sullivan D
47 Brooke Valentine D
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LEV interviews Angela Duckworth, author of GRIT http://educationvoters.org/2016/05/23/lev-interviews-angela-duckworth-author-of-grit/ http://educationvoters.org/2016/05/23/lev-interviews-angela-duckworth-author-of-grit/#respond Tue, 24 May 2016 00:14:25 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=25862 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

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Our View on NPR’s School Money Education Funding Series, Part 3 http://educationvoters.org/2016/05/13/our-view-on-nprs-school-money-education-funding-series-part-3/ http://educationvoters.org/2016/05/13/our-view-on-nprs-school-money-education-funding-series-part-3/#respond Sat, 14 May 2016 00:09:55 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=25854 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.

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Education Advocate May 2016 http://educationvoters.org/2016/05/10/education-advocate-may-2016/ http://educationvoters.org/2016/05/10/education-advocate-may-2016/#respond Wed, 11 May 2016 00:12:36 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=25841 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

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Thank you to everyone who participated in GiveBIG! http://educationvoters.org/2016/05/05/thank-you-to-everyone-who-participated-in-givebig/ http://educationvoters.org/2016/05/05/thank-you-to-everyone-who-participated-in-givebig/#respond Fri, 06 May 2016 00:10:03 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=25539 Student painting in class

Student painting in class

THANK YOU for sticking with us and Giving Big!

We’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!

Although there were some technical glitches that hindered the day, we still raised important funds that will only increase after Seattle Foundation calculates their totals and adds their stretch pool in the coming weeks!

Your gift to LEV allows us to help finish the McCleary fight to fully fund public education, so our kids who need more support get the resources they need.

We couldn’t do it without your support. Thank you for all you do!

Other Ways to Give to LEV

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Comparison of Senate Bill 6194 with Public Charter Schools Initiative 1240 http://educationvoters.org/2016/05/05/comparison-of-senate-bill-6194-with-public-charter-schools-initiative-1240/ http://educationvoters.org/2016/05/05/comparison-of-senate-bill-6194-with-public-charter-schools-initiative-1240/#respond Thu, 05 May 2016 23:52:49 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=25532 Many students created their own signs
During the 2016 session, the legislature passed Senate Bill 6194 to ensure the survival of Washington state’s nine public charter schools.

See a comparison of SB 6194 and the original 2012 Public Charter Schools Initiative 1240 HERE

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Activist of the Month: Nancy Chamberlain and Wendy Reynolds http://educationvoters.org/2016/05/04/activists-of-the-month-nancy-chamberlain-and-wendy-reynolds/ http://educationvoters.org/2016/05/04/activists-of-the-month-nancy-chamberlain-and-wendy-reynolds/#respond Thu, 05 May 2016 00:16:34 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=25522 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.

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

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

Nancy Chamberlain and Wendy Reynolds started a Facebook page about the Northshore School District that has grown from 10 members to nearly 1500 in less than a year.  It’s become a lively forum for parents to ask questions and share opinions about topics ranging from school power outages to gender-neutral bathrooms, how money is spent in the district and grade reconfiguration due to the arrival of a new high school.

Nancy became a LEV activist in 2007, when her daughter was in first grade.  Nancy says, “I first met (LEV State Field Director) Kelly Munn when she came to a friend’s house to talk about education funding and how our state’s school system wasn’t attracting people to move here to work for Microsoft.”  Since then, she has been a regular at school board meetings and has worked on several standing district committees, such as the curriculum committee and start time task force.

Wendy met LEV CEO Chris Korsmo through a family relative.  Wendy says, “My son’s half-day kindergarten class had 32 students and his teacher felt she couldn’t do anything about it.  Chris hooked me up with Kelly Munn and I’ve been involved with LEV ever since.  My son is in sixth grade now.”

Nancy and Wendy’s Facebook experience began when Wendy worked on a page dealing with Northshore School District start times.  The group had less than 100 people involved and was focused on a single issue until Sharon Taubel, LEV’s January 2015 Activist of the Month, put up an article about a different topic.  “That gave Wendy the idea to start a page involving broader education themes,” says Nancy.

Right now, the Northshore School District discussion group’s main focus is preserving the Junior High Challenge Program, which provides a more rigorous curriculum for all students.  Nancy says, “We need to make sure our kids have what they need to go to a four-year college.  Our district is geared to start algebra in 9th grade, which means many students don’t get calculus in high school.”  Nancy is encouraging concerned parents to email the school board and students are circulating petitions to save the program.

When asked about her vision for the Facebook page, Wendy says, “I want to work with the district to make the Northshore School District #1 in the state.  I’ve seen a lot of little changes over the years but the biggest thing is that people are paying attention now.  Social media makes it easier to get information out.”

And Nancy’s goal focuses on parental engagement.  In her words, “It’s all about getting new parents involved.  I’m using the Facebook page to tell people what’s really going on.”

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Our View on NPR’s School Money Education Funding Series, Part 2 http://educationvoters.org/2016/04/27/our-view-on-nprs-school-money-education-funding-series-part-2/ http://educationvoters.org/2016/04/27/our-view-on-nprs-school-money-education-funding-series-part-2/#respond Wed, 27 Apr 2016 23:56:33 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=25509 By the LEV Policy TeamNPR School Money series part 2

On Monday, NPR published the second installment of the “School Money” series. The series aims to illustrate the complexity of the school funding system and examines how money matters to educational outcomes.

The second installment focuses on one essential question: What difference can a dollar make in our schools? Through examples of various education reform efforts across the country, the article attempts to shed light on the ongoing debate of what matters more—the amount of money spent on education or how the money is spent.

The education funding stories of Camden, New Jersey and Revere, Massachusetts are two examples featured. The article highlights the large amount of money that has been invested in Camden’s educational system with limited improvements s in student outcomes. The district’s per pupil spending is nearly double the national average, with the majority of the additional funds going towards combating poverty and educational necessities that have been historically underfunded. In comparison, Revere, MA received additional funding and invested the funds in people—teacher recruitment, professional development, new teaching materials and a technology team. And the results? Massachusetts has moved from ranking in the middle of the pack for student achievement to the top.

The objective of these two examples and the other cases that were sprinkled throughout the piece (early learning and investments in English Learner programs), is to demonstrate that while the amount of money does matter, how that money is spent is equally as important. How effective the investment strategies are also depends greatly on the challenges, political landscapes, and needs in each state, district, and school.  It’s important to remember that whenever tracking the effectiveness of investments we must start at the beginning and not the end (outcomes). Years of systemic discrimination and oppression become more apparent when we begin to invest in schools and districts that have been underfunded for years. To that point, a couple of years or even decades of more investments, even if they are intentional and targeted, will not fix hundreds of years of inequality overnight. But money matters, especially for low income students. The investments need to be stable and sustained and reflective of community needs.

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Our View on NPR’s School Money Education Funding Series http://educationvoters.org/2016/04/20/our-view-on-nprs-school-money-education-funding-series/ http://educationvoters.org/2016/04/20/our-view-on-nprs-school-money-education-funding-series/#respond Wed, 20 Apr 2016 21:26:17 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=25484 NPR School Money series

By the LEV Policy Team

On Monday, NPR launched the first installment of a three week series on education funding. The series is highlighting disparities between states and between districts within the same state. This story shows that Washington is one of many states working towards adequately funding schools and ensuring students who need more support get more support.

This article brings attention to how the local and state share of education funding is generated and why different schools generate different levels of funding support. This point rings especially true for Washington, as it is the over-reliance on school district levies to provide basic education that was a key element of the McCleary Supreme Court ruling in 2012.

According to the article, Washington ranks behind 38 states in the level of funding support for K-12 schools at $9,383 per student. One challenge in comparing per-student spending across states is that the most recent data available is often three years old, making even new ranking lists not reflective of recent changes in education funding. The data used in this analysis is from the 2012-13 school year. For Washington, this means that it does not include any of the $3.2 billion of new investments dedicated to basic education over the last two budget cycles. Including the recent enhancements will boost per-pupil funding amounts in Washington by more than 10% over the per-student amount included in this article.

Washington still has substantial progress to make in fully funding basic education, but it has made significant strides in recent years that are not reflected in the per-student funding ranking of states in the NPR article. It is important to both acknowledge the progress Washington has made in funding education and continue to strongly advocate for equitable and ample education funding.

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Op-Ed: Washington’s community, technical colleges can bridge the skills gap http://educationvoters.org/2016/04/15/op-ed-washingtons-community-technical-colleges-can-bridge-the-skills-gap/ http://educationvoters.org/2016/04/15/op-ed-washingtons-community-technical-colleges-can-bridge-the-skills-gap/#respond Fri, 15 Apr 2016 18:57:07 +0000 http://educationvoters.org/?p=25476 Published in today’s Puget Sound Business Journal

Dr. Amy Morrison Goings is the President of Lake Washington Institute of Technology

Dr. Amy Morrison Goings is the President of Lake Washington Institute of Technology

Chris Korsmo, CEO, League of Education Voters

Chris Korsmo

By Dr. Amy Morrison Goings, President of Lake Washington Institute of Technology, and Chris Korsmo, CEO, League of Education Voters

Recently, the League of Education Voters convened over 400 hundred of our neighbors to discuss the challenges around bridging our state’s skills gap. There are many theories being discussed as to why we are facing a lack of prepared talent across manufacturing and information technology sectors, to name a few. We believe Washington State’s chronic underfunding of public higher education, particularly our 34-member community and technical college system, is one of the reasons why we have these ongoing skills gaps.

The mission of the community and technical colleges is directly related to the viability of our state’s workforce. According to the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, from 2014-2015 Washington state community and technical colleges produced more than 45,000 college awards, including more than 10,000 associate’s degrees and nearly 300 applied baccalaureate degrees (four year degrees that are directly applicable to a graduate’s career aspirations).

Sixty five percent of all new jobs created in the next few years will require some form of a post-secondary credential. Not just a high school diploma and not necessarily a baccalaureate degree, but somewhere in-between. An associate’s degree, or a certificate backed by industry need, or an apprenticeship. Providing relevant, nimble, and industry connected workforce education is at the core mission and talent of the community and technical colleges.

 Even with the strong mission of our colleges, it’s becoming more difficult to close the skills gap, because community and technical colleges are not constitutionally protected in the same way as K12. Unfortunately, our colleges have not been financially supported through the Great Recession to the present day. In fact, today, community and technical colleges are funded per student at pre-2007 levels. Think about if you paid your employees, vendors and partners at 2007 levels. There would be gaps in service. The community and technical colleges are no different.

Those who work in the community and technical colleges system are advocates for the full funding of K12 and early learning, and work very closely with secondary partners to expose students, at an early age, to the two-year colleges. This partnership creates direct routes for students into career opportunities and earning potential that comes with technical preparation.

With that said, we believe most of us would agree that a “basic education” in the 21st century, must include early learning, a fully funded K12 system, and a post-secondary credential.

Through the support of the League of Education Voters, and the unmatched advocacy for K12, early learning, and higher education, especially the community and technical colleges, we will ensure that all Washingtonians can take full advantage of our growing economy and fully participate in the workforce.

We can’t do it alone. We need your help. Work with us to bridge the skills gap by engaging with a community or technical college. Our colleges have expert faculty who come from, and work in, industry, in addition to teaching. Programs have advisory committees that are comprised of business leaders from all different types of industry from aerospace and engineering, to game design and computer security, to welding and machine technology. Give to college foundations so that students have financial support through scholarships. And most importantly talk to your legislators about the value of our state’s community and technical colleges.

By partnering with advocates like the League of Education Voters, you will help send the message that we must fund K12 and stop the disinvestment in higher education. By doing this, we will all be able to give our state a fighting chance to bridge our growing skills gap.

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