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Activist of the Month: Miguel Lucatero

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 June: Miguel Lucatero. Read about his experience as a strong advocate for Latino parents in the Tri-Cities.

League of Education Voters June 2017 Activist of the Month Miguel Lucatero

June Activist of the Month Miguel Lucatero

Miguel Lucatero is a licensed home child care provider since 2001 who is participating in the Early Achievers program. He is also the parent spokesperson for Padres de Familia Preocupados por la Educacion y el Exito de Sus Hijos (Parents of Families Concerned for the Education and Success of their Children). In March 2016, a group of Tri-Cities parents met to exchange ideas and find out which kinds of problems they were experiencing in the education system. From there, the parent group Padres Preocupados por la Educacion y el Exito de Sus Hijos was born, and they have continued to meet monthly.

Last month, Mr. Lucatero wrote a letter to the Washington State Board of Education outlining the problems faced by his community, particularly the loss of tutoring services provided under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) when the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) planning stages began.

Miguel has been living in Washington State for 20 years. When asked what drives him, he says, “I am a person who likes to work because I am concerned for the future, the best interest of our children, and the well-being of the community.”

He and his wife have two daughters attending Stevens Middle School in Pasco. One is an 8th-grader and the other daughter is in the 7th grade. Mr. Lucatero says, “They still do not know want they would like to do, but they know they want to go to college.”

Although his community faces many challenges, Mr. Lucatero is inspired by trainings made available through the Early Learning Community on various aspects of early childhood education. “I like being able to take college classes about brain development,” he says. “That gives me ideas on how my wife and I can best teach the children in our care.”

If Miguel could design our education system, he would like to see teachers who are content experts developing curricula to ensure that students successfully finish high school with a focused, concrete foundation that would prepare them to achieve the college vision they want. “Think of how we build houses on concrete foundations,” Mr. Lucatero explains. “That way, our students could be successful in obtaining the careers they envision.”

Posted in: Activist of the Month, Advocacy and Activism, Blog, Closing the Gaps, ESSA

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Every Student Succeeds Act Public Comments

College and Career Ready - League of Education Voters

Parents, students, teachers, and community members can help shape the public education policy that will affect students for years to come.

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has created a draft Consolidated Plan that outlines how the state intends to implement the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). From now until mid-February 2017, OSPI is taking your comments on the Consolidated Plan. Submit your feedback HERE.

ESSA builds on key themes of the bill it replaces, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, while allowing states more say in how to address struggling schools. While NCLB brought focus to education gaps across the nation, the bill was punitive towards schools that weren’t succeeding. ESSA instead allows states to dictate what measures will be taken, working to improve schools by offering professional development opportunities, teacher recruitment and retention incentives, and more.

Sponsored by Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the U.S. Congress passed ESSA in December 2015. The bill will be implemented in America’s schools in the 2017–18 school year.

Learn more about the Consolidated Plan public comment period at www.k12.wa.us/essa.

 

Posted in: Blog, Closing the Gaps, ESSA, School Discipline

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Listen to the Superintendent of Public Instruction Candidates in Their Own Words

Superintendent of Public Instruction candidates Erin Jones (L) and Chris Reykdal

Superintendent of Public Instruction candidates Erin Jones (L) and Chris Reykdal

The League of Education Voters interviewed both candidates for Washington state Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

Listen to Erin Jones HERE

Listen to Chris Reykdal HERE

Note: The League of Education Voters did not promote or endorse either candidate.

Posted in: Blog, Closing the Gaps, Elections, ESSA, Funding, Higher Education, Media Clips, Podcast, School Discipline, Teacher Prep

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Education Advocate September 2016

ED Advocate, League of Education Voters Newsletter, September

Greetings

Chris Korsmo
Chris Korsmo, CEO

It’s hard to believe it’s back-to-school time already. It feels like just yesterday when our kids wrapped up the school year in June and now we’re back at it again. At least the NFL gets underway tonight.  And I’m ready for some football.

Here at the League of Education Voters, we’re drilling down on the opportunities and implications of the McCleary education funding lawsuit. We’re starting a blog series, so you can know where we’re leaning. Read the first installment here. And we want to know what you’re thinking, as well. This is a journey, so come aboard!

In the meantime, I invite you to read our September newsletter to learn more about our activist of the month, Col. Felix Vargas, and an upcoming free Lunchtime LEVinar on Expanded Learning Opportunities, featuring our partners from School’s Out Washington.

Also, I would like thank everyone who sent in questions for our podcast interviews with state Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) candidates Erin Jones and Chris Reykdal. We will post the interviews by the end of the month and continue to publicize OSPI candidate forums on the LEV website.

Lastly, I’d like to let you know that you can now support the LEV Foundation when you shop online through Amazon Smile. Every time you shop, Amazon will donate 0.5 percent of what you spend to the LEV Foundation. Visit Amazon Smile to learn more today and select LEV Foundation as the charity you support.

Thank you, and thanks for all you do for kids.

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Chris Korsmo

LEV’s Activist of the Month

Felix Vargas is LEV's September Activist of the Month At the League of Education Voters, 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 September: Felix Vargas.

Read more about Col. Vargas’ work advocating for public education—especially when it comes to equity in education around the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Read more

Lunchtime LEVinar: Expanded Learning Opportunities

LEVinar: Expanded Learning OpportunitiesEducation does not stop when the school bell rings. So young people’s access to high-quality expanded learning opportunities—afterschool, in the summer and throughout the year – should grow.

Join Stephanie Lennon and David Beard from School’s Out Washington to learn more about expanded learning, its role in helping students succeed and grow, and how you can help make this happen. This 30-minute Lunchtime LEVinar will take place on Thursday September 22, at 12:30 p.m. Learn more or register

OSPI Candidate Forums

OSPI Candidate ForumsWashington Superintendent of Public Instruction candidates Erin Jones and Chris Reykdal are continuing to speak at forums around the state.

See them September 20 in Tacoma and September 28 in Seattle. Also, watch for LEV-exclusive podcast interviews later this month at educationvoters.org and on LEV’s Facebook and Twitter pages!
Learn more

LEV’s vision for McCleary

LEV's vision for McClearyWhat is required of our educational system will continue to change over time. We need to develop a program of basic education that can evolve based on current and future student needs and a funding mechanism that is flexible enough to support that shifting program. Let’s envision a program of basic education that is aspirational and that creates a new path forward for Washington state. Read more

Get Involved

LUNCHTIME LEVINARS

September 22, 2016 | Expanded Learning Opportunities, Online webinar


HELP SUPPORT THE LEAGUE OF EDUCATION VOTERS
| Donate online


League of Education Voters

League of Education Voters2734 Westlake Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109
206.728.6448
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Posted in: Education Advocate, ESSA, LEV News

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Activist of the Month: Felix Vargas

League of Education Voters - September 2016 Activist of the Month

September Activist of the Month Col. Felix Vargas

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 September: Felix Vargas.

Retired Colonel Felix Vargas of Pasco, Washington, has taken on the charge of helping the League of Education Voters understand the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) at a local level so that we can ensure that children who need additional support are not denied tutoring services promised by the federal government. Col. Vargas advocates with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), and speaks regularly with Senator Patty Murray’s representatives and the local Pasco School District, which has not yet provided in writing the district’s plans for tutoring services.

About a year ago, Col. Vargas met LEV Community Organizer Ruvine Jiménez at a Pasco Citizens for Better Schools forum to support a school levy and he now meets with Ruvine at least once a week. He has since invited Ruvine to participate in two meetings with Congressman Dan Newhouse. These sessions have provided an opportunity to explain to the Congressman why it is important to maintain ESSA funding for the Tri-Cities region. Col. Vargas is working on what ESSA means for the community, such as adding resources for early learning programs like a pre-K learning center, and looking at how schools provide information and how they are evaluated.

Thanks to his work, the Tri-Cities community now has access to senior levels of leadership in government and education. Deputy State Superintendent Gil Mendoza has recently spoken on two occasions to the community on ESSA. Col. Vargas participated in an OSPI candidate forum in July and is helping to organize another similar forum this fall.

Col. Vargas also meets with a Latino parents’ group monthly to discuss why students are under-performing. He explains, “Beyond the obvious factors of language, culture and socioeconomic standing, we believe that the quality of instruction and teaching credentials have to be assessed and weighed as well. Our parents want a 360-degree review.” He listens closely to what the Latino parents say, and then holds quarterly meeting with the Pasco School District’s Parents Advisory Committee.

Col. Vargas is not shy about talking to anyone. He held concurrent careers in the U.S. Government as a military and civilian officer. He served as a Foreign Service officer with the U.S. State Department and as a U.S. Army Reserve officer. Col. Vargas served two tours of duty as an Army Ranger and Special Forces officer in Vietnam. After retiring from the U.S. government, he entered the corporate world, serving as manager of sales and marketing for an American helicopter company in Mexico City, where he sold helicopters to the Mexican government and the private sector.

From 2006 – 2010, Col. Vargas returned to Washington, DC, to champion education and training opportunities for the newest generation of U.S. military veterans returning from wars in the Middle East. He received a White House appointment as member, then chairman, of the U.S. Advisory Committee for Veterans Business Affairs during this time. In April 2010, he accepted an assignment to work with U.S. and international agencies assisting Haiti following the catastrophic earthquake in January 2010. Col. Vargas lived in Haiti for a year.

In 2012, he returned to his hometown of Pasco, Washington, where his focus now is on his community in the Tri-Cities. He hit the ground running, forming the Consejo Latino (Latino Council) to serve as a discussion group on issues of interest to a diverse and dynamic Hispanic community, getting involved in community policing and economic development of Latino businesses.

Two years ago, Col. Vargas added advocacy for voters’ rights, rights for injured agricultural workers, and education. He started reading and learning about the local education landscape. He recalls, “I was surprised to find out that two of our elementary schools have 98 percent Latino students, and the schools overall are 70 percent Latino in the Pasco district. Times sure have changed.” Col. Vargas was the only Latino in his high school graduating class, and the only other Latino(a) in the school at the time was his younger sister.

Education has now become a core issue for Col. Vargas. He recently met with the superintendent of Educational Service District 123 in Pasco to discuss developments and approach in such areas as early learning and bilingual education. He always expects and looks forward to civil and productive conversation. He says, “I will continue to collaborate with community providers and other partners at the State and Federal levels to seek solutions to the many challenges of education for all students. Let’s keep up the drumbeat.”

Posted in: Activist of the Month, Advocacy and Activism, Closing the Gaps, Early Learning, ESSA, School Discipline

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Education Advocate July 2016

ED Advocate, League of Education Voters Newsletter, July 2016

Greetings

Chris Korsmo
Chris Korsmo, CEO

Summer is in full swing and hopefully you’re able to enjoy the Great Northwest and beyond with your family.  Here in LEV land, we’re gearing up for the upcoming legislative session and thought you might like a glossary of key education terms, which you can read here.

Looking ahead, we are hosting free Lunchtime LEVinars on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) July 19 and 21, featuring longtime Tukwila School Board Member and education guru Mary Fertakis. Join us to learn more about what this important federal law means for our kids.

One of the most important elections this year is for the next Superintendent of Public Instruction.  LEV is involved in two candidate forums – Seattle July 19 and Pasco July 25.  Take advantage of a great opportunity to meet and ask questions of the people who want to run Washington’s schools.

I am pleased to announce the release of our 2015 annual report, Finding a Way Forward. 2015 was a successful year as we worked to improve public education throughout Washington state, and we couldn’t have done it without your support. 

Finally, I would like to extend a big thank-you to all of our second quarter donors. You make our work possible. 

Thanks for all you do for kids.

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Chris Korsmo

Finding a Way Forward

2015 Annual Report: Finding a Way ForwardAt the League of Education Voters, we believe a student’s education should be a continuum with seamless transitions. 2015 was a successful year as we worked to improve public education throughout Washington state. We are pleased to release our 2015 annual report, Finding a way forward, and we invite you to read highlights from the past year. Read more

Free Lunchtime LEVinars July 19 and 21

ESSA LEVinars July 19 and 21

The new Every Student Succeeds Act, which takes full effect in the 2017-18 school year, rolls back much of the federal government’s big footprint in education policy, on everything from testing and teacher quality to low-performing schools. And it gives new leeway to states in calling the shots. That’s a big change from the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which ESSA replaced and updated.

In this two-part LEVinar series, Tukwila School Board Member (and LEV June Activist of the Month) Mary Fertakis will answer your questions on how ESSA will affect education in Washington state and what it could do for civil rights and equity. Moderated by our State Field Director, Kelly Munn. Register here

OSPI Candidate Forums July 19 and 25

OSPI Candidate ForumsCandidates who want to lead Washington’s school system as its next superintendent will speak at forums around the state. LEV is co-sponsoring a candidate forum in Seattle at 5:15pm Tuesday, July 19 and we’re hosting a candidate forum in Pasco at 6:00pm Monday, July 25. Learn more

Celebrating our donors

Thank you!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’d like to take a moment to celebrate our supporters who donated to LEV or the LEV Foundation between April 1 and June 30 of this year. Thank you!

Get Involved

COMING UP

July 19, 2016 | OSPI Candidate Forum, New Holly Gathering Hall, Seattle
July 25, 2016 | OSPI Candidate Forum, LEV Pasco Office, Pasco

LUNCHTIME LEVINARS

July 19 and 21, 2016 | Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): What You Need to Know, Online webinar


HELP SUPPORT THE LEAGUE OF EDUCATION VOTERS
| Donate online


League of Education Voters

League of Education Voters2734 Westlake Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109
206.728.6448
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Posted in: Blog, Education Advocate, ESSA, LEV News

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Education Advocate June 2016

ED Advocate, League of Education Voters Newsletter, June 2016

Greetings

Chris Korsmo
Chris Korsmo, CEO

As yet another school year ends with blinding speed, work is heating up for team LEV.  The new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), replacing No Child Left Behind, gives states more leeway in a wide range of areas.  Our state is figuring out how to modify our accountability system and fully implement other parts of the law.  If you’re curious how ESSA will work here in Washington, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction is holding forums around the state.  Get all the info here.

And speaking of the state Superintendent, watch for OSPI candidate forums from now until the November election.  LEV is keeping track of upcoming forums here.

Looking ahead, we’re taking a hard look at how to best fund our state education system as the McCleary debate will be front and center in the next Legislative session.  If you would like more info on what the McCleary Task Force is up to, check out our recent Lunchtime LEVinar on the topic here.

May you and your family enjoy a glorious summer.

Thank you, and thanks for all you do for kids.
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Chris Korsmo

ESSA Regional Community Forums

ESSA regional community forums are scheduled around the stateBeginning June 14, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is holding forums across the state to provide an overview of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) implementation in Washington. Each forum is open to the public and there is no registration required. Read more

LEV’s Activist of the Month

Mary Fertakis is LEV's June 2016 Activist of the MonthThe work that we do to improve public education is only possible thanks to the support of our activists and advocates – the parents, community members, students, and teachers who stand up and speak up.

Congratulations to longtime Tukwila School Board Member Mary Fertakis, June 2016 Activist of the Month, who has spent more than two decades fighting for people who have been marginalized – denied opportunity by race, place of birth, or government. Read more

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Candidate Forums

OSPI candidate forums are happening now until the November electionCandidates who want to lead Washington’s school system as its next Superintendent will speak at forums around the state. Current OSPI candidates include: Robin Fleming, Ron Higgins, Erin Jones, Chris Reykdal and David Spring. Learn more

The McCleary Task Force: What to Expect

LEVinar: The McCleary Task ForceThe Washington Supreme Court is fining the Legislature $100,000 a day for not fully funding public education. During this year’s session in Olympia, the Legislature passed a bill that created a task force to determine how to end the state’s over-reliance on local levies to pay teacher salaries and other components on basic education. But will the Court be satisfied? Watch here

Get Involved

COMING UP

July 19 and 21 | Every Student Succeeds Act: What You Need to Know, Online webinar

HELP SUPPORT THE LEAGUE OF EDUCATION VOTERS FOUNDATION | Donate online


League of Education Voters

League of Education Voters

2734 Westlake Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109
206.728.6448
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