Watch our LEVinar on Raising Antiracist White Kids – Steps on Parenting for Racial Justice

Real challenges exist when it comes to raising white children in a society that is full of racial injustice. Talking about race means naming white privilege and hierarchy. How do we do this honestly, without making children feel bad about being white?

In this webinar, award-winning educator and public speaker Dr. Jennifer Harvey, author of Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America, talks about how to teach white children to notice race and how to address racism when they encounter it. She also answers your questions.

Moderated by League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman.

Watch Now

Read More

Ways to Take Action to Support the Black Community

By Lauri Hennessey, League of Education Voters CEO

 

Students at South Shore PreK-8 in Seattle

Today, our offices are closed in solidarity with the Statewide Silent March and General Strike led by Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County. Our closure today will provide a dedicated opportunity for everyone at League of Education Voters (LEV) to focus on the inward and outward work of dismantling racism, ending police brutality, and supporting Black lives. Everyone will engage in different ways, whether that is through reading books, watching documentaries, or participating in the statewide protest. For some, it may just mean thinking deeply or talking to friends and family. For others, it may be taking time for quiet reflection. No matter what, today is only part of a longer and deeper journey, as we dedicate ourselves to learning from our collective racist history and taking action.

One way you can take action is to help organizations making a profound difference in the Black community. Here are just a few: Read More

Podcast – Joy Sebe of Open Doors on Racial Equity and the Impact of COVID-19 on Communities

In our podcast, we interview policymakers, partners, and thought leaders to spotlight education policies, research, and practices so that together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.

In this latest episode, League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman asks Joy Sebe, Advocacy and Civic Engagement Program Manager and Director of the Community Parent Resource Center at Open Doors for Multicultural Families, what the community served by Open Doors needs right now in this time of COVID-19, what we can do to provide support, what worked in her personal education journey, and what she would like to see schools prioritize as they plan for re-opening.

 

Listen:

Read More

North Kitsap School District Guest Blog: Our Experience with Continuous Learning

By Dr. Laurynn Evans, Superintendent, North Kitsap School District
Guest Blogger

Dr. Laurynn Evans

I often tell my team that vulnerability is at the heart of strong leadership. And so, I will begin by being very honest and vulnerable about our experience with continuous learning. We were caught squarely behind the 8-ball when March 13th came along. We were nowhere near ready to stand up learning at a distance or a virtual continuous learning model. While our voters supported us in 2018 with the passage of a Capital Levy, much of which has been devoted to technology improvements, we were digging out of a very serious technological hole. The prior ten years had seen year-over-year cuts to technology, which had left our district short on devices and devoid of instructional technology integration/implementation.

In the days following the Governor’s directive to close all schools, we stood up childcare for our front line healthcare workers and we set up grab-and-go meal service, ultimately serving well over 10,000 meals/week, to ensure we met basic needs for our families. Fortunately, we had devoted a significant portion of our 2018 capital levy dollars to purchasing student devices, which meant we were able to issue almost 1,000 devices out to students, meeting every single request we received. This significantly helped ensure that all students had the opportunity to continue their learning at home. We partnered with our utilities district and internet providers to establish access to broadband services for all families who identified this need. Read More

We Stand in Solidarity with the Black Community

The staff and board of League of Education Voters grieve the lives lost in the Black community. George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. Tony McDade. David McAtee. And too many others in our country’s recent and distant past. We stand in solidarity with our students, families, teachers, friends and neighbors against the continued injustices they face. We hear and echo the call for justice. We will not be silent, as it carries a brutality of its own.

League of Education Voters believes that education is a tool for justice. The project of dismantling the systems that perpetrate the violence and oppression experienced by communities of color begins in schools. We believe every child deserves an excellent public education that provides an equal opportunity for success. In order to achieve this, we must pursue radical change in our school systems for equity, justice, and liberation. We must build schools and systems that honor the humanity in every student.

To create the permanent change our students deserve, we at LEV know that we have much to learn and work to do as an organization and as individuals. We commit to:

Starting with the self — We will work to uncover and dismantle the racism within ourselves and the racist structures and practices within our own organization.

Listening and amplifying — The voices of the Black community and people of color are the center of this movement, and we must listen, learn and amplify their messages in our own circles.

Supporting — We will actively seek opportunities to support the work of organizations led by and serving communities of color, contributing our capacity and resources to support their work in dismantling unjust systems.

Being Accountable — We also call upon our networks to hold us accountable. We know we will take missteps and are grounded in our dedication to doing better for the students of Washington.

The urgency of this work requires us to seek solutions that challenge the status quo. We must ensure that no more names are added to the list of lives claimed by police brutality and systemic racism. And we must fight for a world in which true educational and economic equity exists.

 

The Board and Staff of League of Education Voters

Everett Public Schools Guest Blog: Adjusting to Remote Learning

By Dr. Ian Saltzman, Superintendent, Everett Public Schools
Guest Blogger

 

Dr. Ian Saltzman

The first American school, Boston Latin School, was established in 1635 and is both the first public school and oldest existing school in the United States. What school looks like has changed gradually over the last nearly 400 years. Until 2020. The spring of 2020 saw rapid change and development of what “going to school” looks like. When Everett Public Schools had the first positive COVID-19 result at the end of February, there was immediate work to change how schools would be teaching and how students would be learning.

In the subsequent month, we developed processes and implemented plans to serve emergency meals, provide childcare to first responders and distribute additional Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots so students could start school from home. (All high school students and most middle school students already had Chromebooks thanks to the district’s 2016 Technology Levy.) We have distributed over 14,000 Chromebooks and 900 hotspots in addition to serving over 17,000 meals weekly because our first priority is the well-being of our students and then making sure they have the tools they need to stay engaged with learning. Read More

Podcast – Chief Justice Debra Stephens on Equity and COVID-19

In our podcast, we interview policymakers, partners, and thought leaders to spotlight education policies, research, and practices so that together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.

In this episode, League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman asks Washington state Supreme Court Chief Justice Debra Stephens how COVID-19 has impacted Washington courts, how the court system can support students in an equitable way, what worked in her personal education journey, and what she would do to transform our education system if there were no budgetary constraints.

 

Listen:

Read More

UPDATED – 2020 Washington Legislative Session Recap

By League of Education Voters Policy Team

The end of the 2020 legislative session saw the legislature and other state leaders working rapidly and tirelessly to address the spreading COVID-19 pandemic in our schools and communities. We are incredibly grateful for the efforts of our public officials and public servants in these uncertain times to ensure that our communities are safe, and our most impacted students and families get the support they need.

The 2020 legislative session was a short, 60-day session, where legislators worked on a supplemental budget to the 2019-2021 biennial budget passed in 2019. While there were many robust debates and promising proposals regarding education investments leading up to the end of session, the need to prioritize investing in the response to COVID-19 and prepare for potential impacts on our economy, families, and healthcare system took precedent in the final budget. You can read our summary of the final 2020 supplemental budget here. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 crisis and growing economic impacts by the time of budget signing, the Governor had to make the difficult decision to veto a number of budget items that were passed by the Legislature.

During the 2020 session, League of Education Voters pursued policy priorities in four issue areas: early childhood education, student supports, special education, and local K-12 funding. Read More

UPDATED – 2020 Supplemental Budget Summary

By League of Education Voters Policy Team

UPDATE: Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 crisis and growing economic impacts by the time of budget signing, the Governor had to make the difficult decision to veto a number of budget items that were passed by the Legislature.

The Washington state legislature released their budget compromise on March 11 for the 2020 supplemental budget. The 2020 supplemental budget makes adjustments to the 2019-21 biennial budget that will impact the remainder of the biennium, ending in June 2021.

The highlights include increases in both the Working Connections Child Care ($41 million) and ECEAP, the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program ($9.1 million), to increase access to childcare for families and increase funding rates for providers.

One of the most notable additions to the K-12 education budget is funding for high-poverty elementary schools to hire additional counselors ($31.8 million). This marks the first time in which high-poverty elementary schools will receive funding to staff their schools at higher levels than non-high poverty schools through the base funding formula. Currently, this increased funding will be in effect for the 2020-21 school year, but will need to be renewed in future budgets to continue beyond that.

The legislature made an increase of $1.9 million to the special education Safety Net program. Unfortunately, no other investments or changes in the special education funding formulas made it through the 2020 legislative session.

Other important investments in supporting families include $150,000 for the Office of Education Ombuds (OEO) to increase capacity and develop training in diversity, equity, and inclusion and $133,000 for the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) to develop a family engagement framework.

With the passage and subsequent funding of the Workforce Education Investment Act (House Bill 2158) during the last legislative session, which made significant increases to state-funded financial aid, there were no substantive changes made to higher education funding or financial aid.

See how the 2020 supplemental budget agreement compares with the House, Senate, and Governor Inslee’s 2020 supplemental budget proposals. Strikethrough text indicates items that were vetoed by Gov. Inslee on April 3, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Read More

Podcast – Rachel Madding on Multi-Tiered System of Supports

In our podcast, we interview policymakers, partners, and thought leaders to spotlight education policies, research, and practices so that together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.

In this episode, League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman asks Rachel Madding, School Mental Health Program Manager for Highline Public Schools, to describe what a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is, how students, parents, and educators can get MTSS in every local education agency (school district, charter public school, and tribal compact school) across Washington state, and what she would do to transform our education system if there were no budgetary constraints.

 

Listen:

Read More