Education Day in Olympia
January 25, 2016 | By Washington House Democrats
Rep. Pat Sullivan Update: Education WINS in WA House of Representatives
Today is a big day for education in Washington state. Your House of Representatives in Olympia voted to achieve excellence in our schools and give our 1.1 million kids in public schools greater opportunities to learn. Among the bills we approved today:
Fully Funding School Employee Compensation: I voted in support of HB 2366 – the bipartisan plan for a solution to the state’s education funding problem.
The Legislature must end reliance on local levies to pay teachers. It’s a 30+ year problem, and is the next goal we must reach to keep our promise of fully funding education and complying with the Supreme Court’s “McCleary” decision.
Teacher Shortage: Washington state has a teacher shortage crisis. It’s not a problem. It’s not a dilemma. It’s a crisis.
I voted for a bipartisan bill to adjust our retire/rehire policies to help get more qualified substitute teachers into our classrooms. It’s a commonsense approach, one of many being considered this session, to address a growing crisis.
High Stakes Testing: Washington state, like many other states, requires students to take and pass high-stakes tests before they can graduate. But we’ve reached the point of over-testing. I voted for a bipartisan bill to fix the state’s broken student assessment system. Students should be spending more time in the classroom learning and less time taking standardized test after test.
But that’s not the end of our efforts. Over the next week, the House will likely consider other important education policies such as:
Closing the Opportunity Gap – Nearly half of Washington’s 1.1 million public school students are students of color. For too many of them, education opportunities simply aren’t there.
It doesn’t have to be this way. It’s shouldn’t be this way. I look forward to sending this bill over to the Senate so that every child has the opportunity to learn.
Family Engagement Coordinators – This legislation increases family involvement in their kids’ education.
What Lies Ahead?
Today’s votes on the House floor are steps in the right direction toward reaching our goals and ensuring our education system is running on all cylinders.
I was proud to take these votes today. Unfortunately, the fate of these bills is unknown in the Republican-controlled Senate.
What do you think? Do you believe every student should have an opportunity to learn and succeed? Do you think the state should fully fund education? If so, contact your state legislators (1-800-562-6000) and urge them to support Washington’s 1.1 million public school students.
As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions, concerns or ideas. My phone number is (360) 786-7858; my e-mail address is Pat.Sullivan@leg.wa.gov.