2018 Legislative Priorities
League of Education Voters will be pursuing a legislative agenda in 2018 that reflects our values. Students come first, and we are focused first and foremost on meeting the needs of every student. We believe in creating an equitable education system that serves all students based on their needs and assets and provides the resources they need to be successful. We are working to close gaps experienced by historically and systemically underserved students—including students of color, students in poverty, students qualifying for special education services, students learning English, and students impacted by trauma—while raising the bar for all. We believe the following priorities will help move us towards that more equitable and just education system.
Early Childhood Education
Early learning is a vital part of a student’s educational experience that ensures students arrive at Kindergarten with foundational knowledge and skills, ready to learn and make friends. State investments in early learning can close opportunity and achievement gaps by focusing on students who would not have otherwise had access to high-quality, early learning opportunities. In 2018, LEV will prioritize:
- Continuing to increase access to high-quality programming through:
- Funding more slots and space to learn for the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP).
- Restoring Early Achievers resources to enable providers to implement high-quality early learning programming.
Increased state funding alone will not improve student outcomes—improvement also depends on how the state, districts, and schools deploy these resources. Accessible and comparable spending data from districts and schools allows us to follow where new state investments are targeted, and evaluate if our system is effectively meeting student needs. This will help guide our lawmakers to make the necessary changes to create a more equitable funding system. In 2018, LEV will prioritize:
- Successful implementation of HB 2242 with the creation of additional investment monitoring, including:
- Increasing available data on district-to-school spending and use of dedicated funds, including Transitional Bilingual, Special Education, Learning Assistance Program, and Career and Technical Education funds;
- Assessing the impact of the regionalization factor and new high-poverty concentration factor investment in the Learning Assistance Program on districts, schools, and students; and
- Other opportunities to provide clarity and target investments, such as special education funding.
- Ensuring fair district access to local levy and local effort assistance revenues.
Expanded Learning Opportunities
A student doesn’t stop learning when the afternoon bell rings—learning happens through activities, interactions, and experiences throughout a student’s day. Students need access to high-quality, expanded learning opportunities after-school and in the summer to deepen and enhance their learning in and out of the classroom. In 2018, LEV will prioritize:
- Increasing student access to high-quality expanded learning opportunities (ELO) by investing $2.25 million in the ELO Quality Initiative, allowing triple the number of programs to participate—and 11,600 more youth to be served.
In order to learn, students need to feel like school is a place where they belong, are respected, and are believed in. Creating positive school climates for every student is instrumental in closing opportunity and achievement gaps in our system and improving student outcomes. In 2018, LEV will prioritize:
- Enabling school climates in which every student receives the supports they need to be successful, including:
- School staff trained in addressing trauma and supporting social emotional learning;
- Access to mental health services;
- Support staff, such as social workers, nurses, and counselors; and
- Connecting students and families with services and community resources.
Career Connected Learning
In order to deliver on the promise of preparing every student for college and career, we need to provide guidance and opportunities in the K-12 system to explore the universe of career options, and the various academic pathways to pursuing career interests. In 2018, LEV will prioritize:
- Assessing the issues in access to programs that provide career connected learning opportunities, including dual credit, Career and Technical Education, and work-based learning.
- Improving student access to advising and mentoring through investment and guidance on the implementation of the High School and Beyond Plan, student learning plan, and transition planning for special education students.
A credential after high school—either a certificate, two-year, or four-year degree—will be necessary for 70% of Washington jobs by 2020. In order to prepare students for family-wage jobs, we need to increase access to, enrollment in, and completion of postsecondary programs—particularly for students that are historically and systemically underserved and underrepresented in our postsecondary institutions. In 2018, LEV will prioritize:
- Continuing to expand access to postsecondary opportunities through the State Need Grant.
- Protecting and expanding financial aid for undocumented students, including making all
undocumented students eligible for the College Bound Scholarship, in addition to the State