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The 2014 Legislative Session

The 2014 legislative session may have been short, but there were significant policy accomplishments in improving public education in Washington state. These accomplishments expand access to financial aid for higher education for all Washington students, pave the way for all students to graduate from high school ready for college or career, and make steps toward reducing the opportunity and achievement gaps. (more…)

Posted in: Blog, Career and College Ready Diploma, Closing the Gaps, Higher Education, Legislative session, LEV News

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Parent and Family Summit: Access, Equity, & Excellence

The League of Education Voters (LEV) is holding a parent and family summit in Sunnyside, Washington, on Saturday, February 8. We recently sat down with our Yakima-based community organizer Micaela Razo, to learn more about the event. Micaela has been an advocate for parent involvement and education for over 12 years. Micaela resides in Yakima County with her husband, her son, and two daughters. She is also the Region 11 Director for the Washington State PTA and is the PTA President for her local Smith School.

Access, Equity, & Excellence Parent & Family SummitWhat is a parent and family summit, and how did it get started in Sunnyside?
Our parent and family summit is similar to the activist training LEV held in the Puget Sound area on January 25th. Even though LEV has held an activist training near Seattle for the past four years, there is a need for a training summit in the Yakima/Lower Valley region because so many families want to know how they can support their child’s education. This will be LEV’s first training east of the mountains.

What’s the goal of the parent and family summit?
Many of the parents in the Yakima area do not know how to advocate and so they don’t know how to speak up or have their voice be heard. Many of the parents are migrant workers and there are students here who barely speak English and as a result, they have to do twice the amount of work as their non-ELL counterparts because they don’t speak the language well. Both the parents and students need a lot of help and coaching to be prepared to advocate.

The goal of the summit is to empower the parents and students with the right tools so that they have a voice and so that they have the connections to work with the district—and beyond—to improve public education in their schools.

As a community organizer, I support, mentor, and organize parents and community members to give them hope and confidence that they can help their children in school and in their careers. (more…)

Posted in: Advocacy and Activism, Blog, Higher Education, LEV News

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High-quality instructional time

A number of bills are being heard this week in the House and Senate related to instructional time—the amount of time students are in school engaged in learning activities. In Washington, instructional time includes any time from the first bell of the day to when students are released at the end of the day, minus the lunch period. Included in this definition are passing times, recess, and parent-teacher conferences.

At the League of Education Voters, we believe high-quality instructional time:

  • Actively engages students in learning
  • Provides students with the knowledge needed to meet academic goals
  • Helps develop social emotional or other non-academic skills that contribute to academic success
  • Enables students to demonstrate their knowledge by completing tasks, assignments, or tests
  • Is inclusive of teacher/parent-guardian conferences that discuss a student’s educational needs
  • Minimizes the amount of days teachers aren’t in the classroom due to other professional responsibilities

The League of Education Voters anticipates that with the full funding of McCleary v. Washington, there will be more, not less, K–12 instructional time for our students. Professional development time for teachers is critically important, but it must not come at the expense of student instructional time. Teachers must be paid for a full work day, like any professional, and this time must include state-funded, principal-directed professional development. (more…)

Posted in: Blog, Legislative session

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