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. (more…)
The College Bound Scholarship Program was established by our Legislature eight years ago. College Bound provides scholarships to low-income and foster care students who enroll in middle school, keep their grades up, and stay out of trouble.
More than 212,000 students have signed up, and the program has had a huge impact. Enrollment has shown to positively impact high school academic performance, graduation rates, as well as college going rates and persistence. Of students enrolling in higher education, College Bound students are almost 50 percent more likely to attend a four-year college than low-income students statewide.
We strongly support College Bound and were proud to serve on the state’s College Bound Task Force last year. During the past few years, we have worked with many partners, including the College Success Foundation, Washington State Student Achievement Council, and the Road Map Project, to amplify College Bound’s impact and success and advocate for ongoing state support.
This program changes lives.
We were fortunate to hear the stories of two College Bound students this morning at our annual breakfast. We heard from Kaysiana Hazelwood, a senior at West Seattle High School, and from Midheta Djuderija, a student at the University of Washington.
Below are their incredible stories, told in their own words. (more…)
A child’s education should be a continuum with seamless transitions from early learning through postsecondary education. The League of Education Voters (LEV) is pleased to release its vision for an expanded definition of basic education.
Washington’s policymakers have spent much time, money, and intellectual capital trying to overhaul our state’s education funding system—multiple task forces, studies, work groups, legislative efforts—and yet, we lack a plan for ample, equitable, and stable funding. In addition, our definition of “basic education”—what this funding system is supposed to pay for—doesn’t go far enough to prepare our kids for college or career.
A Way Forward
The Washington State Supreme Court found that the state was violating its constitutional obligation to amply fund basic education in the McCleary v. State of Washington funding case. Lawmakers were given a 2018 deadline to fix how we fund basic education. The passage of Initiative 1351 to lower K–12 class sizes statewide magnifies the intense pressure on the Legislature to determine a viable funding plan for public education. Though the 2018 deadline looms, the Court found the Legislature in “contempt of court” last fall, giving them until the end of the 2015 legislative session to make significant progress on a funding plan. While the funding issues are paramount to the Court, this time frame provides a unique opportunity to reflect on what our kids really need from our public education system to succeed. (more…)