Activist of the Month: Linda Lozano

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: Linda Lozano. Read more about her experience as an activist and advocate for her community, her family, and everyone around her.

Linda Lozano testifies to the Office of the Superintendent of Public InstructionIt’s something of an understatement to say that the odds were against Linda Lozano from the very beginning. Born to a teenage mother, Linda essentially raised her younger sister after she was born—and Linda was just seven years old.

Linda learned a “culture of abandonment” from an early age, and she says she was angry for a long time. Linda openly admits that she made a lot of bad choices as a young adult, some of which landed her in jail, and some of which caused her kids to be taken by Child Protective Services.

“Sometimes in life, the stage is set for us. We know we want something different but don’t know how to achieve it,” says Linda.

So Linda set out to learn how to achieve something different. Read More

Making the College and Career Ready Diploma a Reality

By Kelly Munn, State Field Director

A meaningful high school diploma. (Image of graduating students.)The College and Career Ready Diploma became law with the passage of SB 6552 this past legislative session. That was a huge win, and it took many of you to make it happen.

Thank you. Thank you for the emails, the calls, the testimonies, for the late nights you spent working to get the College and Career Ready Diploma passed.

Now we need your help to make sure the diploma works the way it’s supposed to. Read More

Andaiye Qaasim: A Strong Voice for Equity in Education

Andaiye QaasimAndaiye Qaasim joined the League of Education Voters (LEV) in 2011 as a community organizer. Her last day at LEV is today. She is taking a position as Assistant Director of the South King County College Access Network.

In her time in LEV’s Field department, Andaiye worked in South King County. LEV State Field Director Kelly Munn describes Andaiye as “bringing an enthusiasm and passion to her work, making it both compelling and fun.”
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Activist of the Month: Carol Solomon

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 May: Carol Solomon. Read more about her experience as an activist and advocate for her community and for Washington students.

Carol Solomon first became involved with LEV through LEV Field Organizer Andaiye Qaasim, who describes Carol as a “lifetime advocate” and the “backbone” of her community. Read More

Activist(s) of the Month: Sarah Butcher, Jennifer Karls, Beth Sigall

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 Activists of the Month for April: Sarah Butcher, Jennifer Karls, and Beth Sigall. Read more about their experiences as strong advocates for special education.

Sarah Butcher, Jennifer Karls, and Beth Sigall are strong advocates for public education in Washington state. Sarah and Jennifer formed the Bellevue Special Needs PTA in 2012, where Jennifer serves as President and Sarah as co-Vice President. Beth serves as the Vice President of Advocacy for the Lake Washington PTSA Council. Read More

Beth Richer: Advocate for the Underserved

Beth RicherBeth Richer first worked with the League of Education Voters (LEV) as a consultant with the Youth & Families Initiative. She returned full-time in 2010 after managing Rep. Marcie Maxwell’s (successful) re-election campaign to help LEV grow and build relationships with Washington legislators. While at LEV, Beth’s work focused primarily on issues that directly correlate with closing the opportunity and achievement gaps for Washington’s students.

Beth recently left our organization to take a position as the Senior Advocate Engagement Manager at Health Advocacy Strategies, an organization that focuses on bringing in patients as advocates and emphasizing an authentic patient voice in biotechnology and pharmaceutical marketing. Read More

Transforming School Discipline: The Next Step

Transforming School Discipline: The Next Step [image of children running]During the 2013 legislative session, many of you helped us pass a law (SB 5946) that makes school discipline data public and limits the number of days that students can be removed from class.

That was the first step in transforming school discipline policies. Now it’s time to take another.

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is inviting public comment on its implementation of the new law.

There are a few ways you can get involved. Read More

Celebrating World Autism Day with an extraordinary accomplishment

By Beth Sigall

Beth Sigall with her family. Clockwise from top left: Beth, Anthony, Jule, Thomas, and Joseph.
Beth Sigall with her family. Clockwise from top left: Beth, Anthony, Jule, Thomas, and Joseph.

Today as we observe World Autism Day, there is much to celebrate in our 14-year-old son Anthony’s life. Our journey began in 2002 with an autism diagnosis a few days shy of his third birthday. Like many parents, we were filled with more questions than answers, lots of anxiety, but a singular determination that together, somehow, we would figure this out so that our son could live a meaningful, productive, and enriching life.

We’ve faced many challenges since then. Learning to communicate, to do basic living skills, attend school, be part of a family, and just be a kid—all these things required countless hours of work by and with Anthony. Today he is an energetic teenager who loves to play Minecraft, take long and rigorous hikes with anyone who can keep up with him, do comedy improv, play piano, and hang out with his brothers and cousins.

Just a few weeks ago Anthony learned to do something ordinary, but for him and for many people with autism, it was extraordinary: he learned how to take public transportation. Read More

Activist of the Month: Paulina Zepeda

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 March: Paulina Zepeda. Read more about Paulina’s experience as an advocate and activist.

Paulina Zepeda (right) with LEV Community Organizer Micaela Razo
Paulina Zepeda (right) with LEV Community Organizer Micaela Razo

Paulina Zepeda is a high school student in the Grandview School District. That sounds pretty straightforward, until you learn that Paulina had to advocate to be allowed to attend school.

Paulina immigrated to Grandview from Colima, Mexico, two years ago. She was in high school in Colima, but because she was 18 years old when she arrived in Washington, she was told that she could not continue high school despite having transfer papers with class and grade information.

Paulina kept fighting to be able to attend school, and the school district eventually allowed her to attend but ignored her transcript from Colima and enrolled her in elective classes rather than core credits that would allow her to graduate. Read More

Activist of the Month: Betsy Cohen

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 February: Betsy Cohen. Read more about Betsy’s experience as an education activist.

Betsy CohenBetsy Cohen testified in Olympia for the first time two weeks ago in favor of the college and career ready diploma (HB 2181). That might come as a surprise to those who know her, since Betsy has been involved in education advocacy for years—since moving to Washington state when her children were young.

Betsy joined her children’s elementary school PTA and, with her background as a law professor, was quickly appointed as their legislative representative. Over the years, she has organized dozens of trips to Olympia and helped others testify (but she never had the opportunity to testify herself). Read More