Podcast – Ibram X. Kendi on How to Be an Antiracist

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 Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and Founding Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research, contributing writer at The Atlantic, and CBS News correspondent, how we can be anti-racist ourselves, how, in Dr. Kendi’s words, he evolved from internalizing racist thoughts to being an anti-racist, and what we can do to create a more equitable, anti-racist society.

 

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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.

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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

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

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.

 

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Podcast – David Lewis on Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)

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 David Lewis, Director of Behavioral Health Services for Seattle 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 he would do to transform our education system if there were no budgetary constraints.

 

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2020 Legislative Priority: Supportive and Safe Schools

By League of Education Voters Policy Team

In the 2020 legislative session, League of Education Voters will prioritize policies to help lay the foundation of an equitable educational system that provides what students need, when and where they need it.

We believe students come first, and we are dedicated to designing an equitable education system that serves all students based on their strengths, supports their needs, and provides the resources they need to be successful.

We are dedicated to designing an equitable education system that serves all students based on their strengths, supports their needs, and provides the resources they need to be successful.

We are committed to 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.

We believe this will lead to all students experiencing greater success and reaching their full potential.

WHY STUDENT SUPPORTS AND SCHOOL CLIMATE ARE IMPORTANT

Students at Summit Atlas Public School

Students learn most effectively when their school feels safe, inclusive, supportive, and respectful (1). Creating positive school climates and providing student supports can mitigate the impact of trauma (2), mental health needs (3), and other non-academic factors that affect a student’s ability to engage in learning (4). It is instrumental in closing opportunity and achievement gaps in our system and improving student outcomes.

The creation of supportive and safe schools includes strategies such as Social-Emotional Learning (SEL), tiered systems of support, partnerships with families, partnerships with community-based organizations, and providing access to mental health services, among others. Between 50-80% of students in need of mental health services do not have access (5), and schools are likely the first point of access for many students that do seek services (6,7). School climate reform strategies have been shown to decrease school violence and bullying, increase academic achievement, and improve the school experience for students, staff, and families (8). The implementation of universal SEL programs have also been shown to result in significant academic gains (9,10) as well as a robust return on investment of $11 for every $1 spent (11). Read More

Podcast – RULER Curriculum Creator Dr. Marc Brackett

RULER Creator Dr. Marc Brackett - League of Education VotersIn 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 interviews Dr. Marc Brackett, Founder and Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and lead developer of RULER, an evidence-based approach to social and emotional learning that has been adopted by nearly 2,000 pre-K through high schools across the United States and in other countries, including many school districts in Washington state, such the Seattle school district where it was first introduced at South Shore PreK-8, a school in South Seattle that is a key partner of League of Education Voters.

 

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2020 Legislative Priority: Special Education Funding

By League of Education Voters Policy Team

In the 2020 legislative session, League of Education Voters will prioritize policies to help lay the foundation of an equitable educational system that provides what students need, when and where they need it.

We believe students come first, and we are dedicated to designing an equitable education system that serves all students based on their strengths, supports their needs, and provides the resources they need to be successful.

We are dedicated to designing an equitable education system that serves all students based on their strengths, supports their needs, and provides the resources they need to be successful.

We are committed to 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.

We believe this will lead to all students experiencing greater success and reaching their full potential.

HOW DOES FUNDING FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION WORK IN WASHINGTON?

Students at Summit Atlas Public School - League of Education Voters
Students at Summit Atlas Public School

Districts receive both state and federal funding to provide educational services and supports to students with disabilities, with state funding providing the biggest portion of funding. There are several factors that determine how much special education funding a district receives, but the three factors that most impact the level of state funding for special education for school districts are:

  • Special Education Enrollment: Each student regardless of disability or type of service received will generate the same amount of funding per student for a single district, but districts are capped at generating special education funding for a maximum of 13.5% of overall student enrollment. For example, if a district has a special education enrollment of 15.0% they will only generate special education funding for 13.5% of students.
  • Two-tiered Funding model: Starting in 2020-21, a two-tiered funding model will go into effect that will provide different levels of funding depending on what portion of the school day a student receiving special education services spends in a general education setting. Students spending 80% or more of their time in a general education setting will generate a slightly higher funding amount than students spending less than 80% of their school time in a general education setting.
  • District Teacher Salary Funding: The amount of funding each student generates differs by district and can vary by more than $1,000 per student across the state. There are several factors that go into each district’s per student funding amount, but the most significant is a district’s state-funded teacher salary amount. The higher a district’s state-funded teacher salary the more special education funding per student they will generate. (1)

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2020 Legislative Priority: Special Education

By League of Education Voters Policy Team

In the 2020 legislative session, League of Education Voters will prioritize policies to help lay the foundation of an equitable educational system that provides what students need, when and where they need it.

We believe students come first, and we are dedicated to designing an equitable education system that serves all students based on their strengths, supports their needs, and provides the resources they need to be successful.

We are dedicated to designing an equitable education system that serves all students based on their strengths, supports their needs, and provides the resources they need to be successful.

We are committed to 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.

We believe this will lead to all students experiencing greater success and reaching their full potential.

WHAT IS SPECIAL EDUCATION?

Students at Summit Atlas Public School - League of Education Voters
Students at Summit Atlas Public School

With the passage of federal legislation in the 1970s, students with disabilities were guaranteed legal rights to access a public education that would accommodate their specific learning needs. Prior to guaranteeing the right to access education, it was common practice for students with disabilities to be actively excluded from public education settings. Federal legislation was intended to ensure that all students have the ability to access the public education system through the program of special education. (1)

The program of special education serves over 150,000 students across 295 Washington school districts. Special education provides services and supports to students with disabilities to help students access a “free and appropriate education.” In order to qualify for special education services, students must have their school performance “adversely affected” by one of the following qualifying conditions: (2) Read More