Education

The great equalizer, but some are more equal than others

August 12, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

The great equalizer, but some are more equal than others

“Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance-wheel of the social machinery.”  –Education reformer Horace Mann “A family’s resources and the doors they open cast a long shadow over children’s life trajectories.”  –Sociologist Karl Alexander Former Gov. Gary Locke made Horace Mann’s famous pronouncement almost a catch-phrase during his two terms in office, and there’s no denying the impact that a good education can have on the arc … Continue reading

Legislative Scholar Program wraps up in Olympia

July 31, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Legislative Scholar Program wraps up in Olympia

While most students are out of school enjoying their summer break, many teachers are using this time to further develop their skills and create lesson plans for the upcoming school year. One of the many ways teachers can increase their state government knowledge and create new lesson plans is through the Washington State Legislative Scholar Program. The scholar program is a week-long workshop held every July for civics, social studies, history, and government teachers in Washington. The workshop provides hands-on … Continue reading

STEM grads finding varied job prospects

July 30, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

STEM grads finding varied job prospects

A report released earlier this month by the U.S. Census Bureau reveals that only about a quarter of recent STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) graduates wind up working in STEM jobs. Obviously, educators, legislators, and employers themselves ought to stop all this cheerleading for STEM courses and focus instead on more high-demand fields. Right? Not so fast. Like most things that appear simple on the surface, this bears a little additional scrutiny. It turns out that, yes, the headline … Continue reading

Get ahead of the curve in back-to-school prep

July 29, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Get ahead of the curve in back-to-school prep

Calling all moms, dads, and guardians – especially parents of kindergartners and first-graders eagerly awaiting the 2014-2015 school year. Most all of Washington’s public and private classrooms will reopen in a month or so. School and school-district websites, of course, are already accepting your clicks, and school offices should be taking your calls and welcoming your visits any day now. Rookie school-parents naturally have a ton of questions, the topmost generally involving age and immunization requirements. By midnight August 31, … Continue reading

Learning the Ropes: Rep. Monica Stonier returns to Capitol Ideas to talk about moving from the classroom to the Capitol

June 30, 2014 - Rep. Monica Stonier

Learning the Ropes: Rep. Monica Stonier returns to Capitol Ideas to talk about moving from the classroom to the Capitol

Rep. Monica Stonier (D-Vancouver) talked with Capitol Ideas a few days before being sworn in as a brand-new state lawmaker, after more than a decade as a classroom teacher and teaching coach. What was that transition like, and what did she learn in her first two years? Listen in and find out. You can subscribe to “Capitol Ideas” here, or on iTunes.  

Bilingual Education Day

June 23, 2014 - Rep. Cindy Ryu

Bilingual Education Day

Rep. Cindy Ryu (D-Shoreline) with students in a bilingual class in the Kent School District. Ryu and other lawmakers visited as part of Bilingual Education Day on June 9.

School is out, but nutrition shouldn’t go on vacay

June 23, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

School is out, but nutrition shouldn’t go on vacay

Washington children are enjoying the first few days of summer vacation, but for the many families that rely on free and reduced-price lunches during the school year, summer vacation can mean financial hardship. Without school breakfast and lunch programs, their children are at risk of not getting enough to eat. Fortunately, the Washington Summer Meals Program is here to fill the gap.  Administered by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), this program provides free meals and snacks … Continue reading

Open enrollment for GET ends Saturday

May 30, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Open enrollment for GET ends Saturday

It’s never too early to start planning and saving for a child’s college education. Washington state has a program to help families save money for their child’s future – the Washington State Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program. With the GET program, families purchase “units” that can be used for higher education expenses down the road. It’s like paying for a future college education at today’s prices. Because the units are already purchased, the tuition and fees are covered (up to … Continue reading

Seattle Times, Brookings Institute: to boost economy, put hard hats to work

May 19, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Seattle Times, Brookings Institute: to boost economy, put hard hats to work

#104629760 / gettyimages.com Rebuilding our state’s old, crumbling buildings and infrastructure would create thousands of jobs in Washington state today – and thousands more for generations to come. That’s the conclusion of Seattle Times economic columnist Jon Talton, who points out Washington state is still benefiting from things built during the New Deal back in the 1930′s. Talton sums things up this way: Last week I lamented that Americans seem stuck with a mostly 1970-era infrastructure and lack the political … Continue reading

No… Washington does not have the 2nd highest tuition in the nation

May 12, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

No… Washington does not have the 2nd highest tuition in the nation

Higher education is the doorway to better jobs, higher pay, and financial independence. States have always played a key role in funding the higher-education of their citizens, usually financing the majority of the cost of attendance at most publicly-funded colleges and universities. The Great Recession changed all of that. Higher-ed budgets nationwide were targeted as a way to help states fund critical operations.  The pressures that recession, brought on by the short-sighted deregulation of Wall Street, forced lawmakers to make … Continue reading

Schools struggle with population boom, need more classrooms

April 30, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Overcrowding is a growing problem at many local schools, according to a story by the Associated Press: More than a dozen Washington school districts have added at least a school worth of students over the past two years.     Finding enough classrooms for those children is becoming a challenge. The districts growing the fastest worry the problem will deepen as the Legislature makes good on its promise to require schools to shrink class sizes in kindergarten through third grade and … Continue reading

Statement from Rep. Reykdal regarding the NCLB waiver loss

April 24, 2014 - Rep. Chris Reykdal

Statement from Rep. Reykdal regarding the NCLB waiver loss

Washington State was informed today that the U.S. Department of Education has revoked our No Child Left Behind waiver. Under the terms of the revocation, Washington State will not lose resources; rather, we will lose some flexibility on how to use $40 million of the approximately $12 billion we spend in our K-12 schools per year (that’s 0.3% – three tenths of one percent). Below is a statement from Rep. Chris Reykdal of Tumwater regarding the waiver loss: As a … Continue reading

No excuse for ignoring students with no address

April 11, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

No excuse for ignoring students with no address

The Washington State Constitution emphasizes our “paramount duty” to see that every young person receives a solid basic education. There’s no equivocation in that constitutional mandate, either — no hedging, such as, “… that is, if the young person has an address.” Thousands of students in our communities have no address. In fact, if the 30,600 homeless students got together and formed their own school district, it would be the second-largest of our state’s 295 districts. Approved in the 2014 … Continue reading

New law a “three-for” for students, schools, accountability

April 8, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

New law a “three-for” for students, schools, accountability

Talk about a win-win-win. It’s not often that legislation comes along promoting better education for at-risk students, stronger accountability for schools, and increased efficiency for local governments — all in the same bill. Sponsored by Rep. June Robinson and newly signed into the law of the state, House Bill 2276 is just such a measure. The bipartisan bill will allow the state’s Educational Service Districts (ESDs) to contract directly with a county for education services for students who are temporarily … Continue reading

Peter Callaghan: Education bill’s unheralded details will need attention

March 28, 2014 - Rep. Ross Hunter

Peter Callaghan: Education bill’s unheralded details will need attention | Peter Callaghan | The News Tribune. Peter does a good job here exposing some of the hard work remaining in figuring out school funding details for 2015. He drills into a number of key issues: Local school levies being used for compensation. This is an unconstitutional shift of responsibility from the state to local taxpayers. Weird levy caps that treat different districts differently. Reliability issues with depending on local levies. … Continue reading

As 2014 legislative season ends, education funding remains key

March 21, 2014 - Rep. Kristine Lytton

As 2014 legislative season ends, education funding remains key

The short 60-day legislative session that concluded last week in Olympia was remarkable for a number of reasons. For one thing, we adjourned on time. As our state grows more complex and our population continues to increase – with corresponding demands for a range of government services – it becomes more and more challenging to neatly wrap up a full year’s worth of the people’s business in two months, or even in the 105 days allotted for odd-numbered years. While … Continue reading

The end of the 2014 legislative session

March 18, 2014 - Rep. Gael Tarleton

The end of the 2014 legislative session

Dear friends and neighbors, What a tragic start to the morning! As we all watch the news unfold on the Seattle Center helicopter crash, my thoughts and prayers are with the families and colleagues of the victims. I also want to share with you the results of the 2014 legislative session. Last Thursday, we finished just minutes before the deadline – the first year we’ve ended on time since 2008! I am thrilled that we finally passed the DREAM Act … Continue reading

Lawmakers pass 24-credit HS diploma; NCLB waiver bill dies

March 15, 2014 - Rep. Ross Hunter

Lawmakers pass 24-credit HS diploma; NCLB waiver bill dies

Lawmakers pass 24-credit HS diploma; NCLB waiver bill dies. The first in a series of notes on this year’s session. I can no longer write a summary of what happens during the actual session, particularly in short sessions where the budget negotiations take until the last !@#$%^&* minute. (I will be less testy about this in a week or so.) I have been working on the 24-credit graduation requirement bill for many years. It’s the foundation of our restructuring of … Continue reading

Win-win for students, schools is on governor’s desk

March 13, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Win-win for students, schools is on governor’s desk

Better education for at-risk students, stronger accountability for schools, and increased efficiency for local governments are objectives all wrapped inside successful legislation sponsored by Rep. June Robinson. The measure (House Bill 2276) unanimously passed both legislative chambers and now awaits only approval from Gov. Jay Inslee to become the law of the state. Robinson’s winning proposal would allow the state’s Educational Service Districts (ESDs) to contract directly with a county for education services for students residing in the county’s detention … Continue reading

Funding education with closed tax loopholes (Part 3 of 4)

March 12, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Funding education with closed tax loopholes (Part 3 of 4)

The House supplemental budget proposal included a package of education investments that will bring the state closer to meeting its McCleary education goals, drawing funds from the closure of four costly and unnecessary tax exemptions. Earlier, we focused on the elimination of the sales tax exemption for nonresidents, an arbitrary tax break that denies our state due taxes for Washington goods and services—taxes that could be used to fund our children’s education. Prescription drug resellers In 1998 the legislature wanted … Continue reading

Funding education with closed tax loopholes (Part 2 of 4)

March 6, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Funding education with closed tax loopholes (Part 2 of 4)

The House supplemental budget proposal includes a package of education investments that will bring the state closer to meeting its McCleary education goals, drawing funds from the closure of four costly and unnecessary tax exemptions. Yesterday, we focused on the narrowing of an outdated tax loophole for big oil companies—a loophole that hurts Washington and only benefits an industry that needs it least. Collect due sales tax to pay for our education House budget writers are looking to repeal the … Continue reading

Homeless and trying to learn

March 5, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Homeless and trying to learn

Homeless students have countless barriers to success: How will I do my homework in a tent? How can I clean my clothes when I live in a car? Are we going to have dinner tonight? These worries are difficult enough for adults to deal with, but for children they are traumatic. The stress of homelessness can make it impossible for students to focus and thrive in school. As we reported yesterday, the number of homeless students in Washington state is … Continue reading

Use of “economic models” to mislead the public

March 4, 2014 - Rep. Ross Hunter

Use of “economic models” to mislead the public

The Washington Policy Center, a right-leaning think tank, published a report today with a terrifying title: “Economic model shows Superintendent Dorn’s proposed tax increases would cost 18,500 jobs“. This is “truthy”, AN economic model did show this. Of course, THIS economic model ALWAYS shows job losses from proposed public policy proposals. Economic model shows Superintendent Dorn’s proposed tax increases would cost 18,500 jobs | Washington Policy Center Economic model shows Superintendent Dorn’s proposed tax increases would cost 18,500 jobs | … Continue reading

More homeless students in our state than ever before

March 4, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

More homeless students in our state than ever before

One would hope that the number of homeless students in our state would have shrunk, at least a bit, since the last time we posted the findings, but that’s sadly not the case. In fact, the number has been swelling at an alarming rate. From 2008 to 2013, almost 10,000 students in our state became homeless, bringing the total for 2013 to 30,609. OSPI reports that pinpointing the reasons for the increase is hard, but cites the lack of housing … Continue reading

Dunshee bill would put $700 million toward building schools

February 27, 2014 - Rep. Hans Dunshee

Dunshee bill would put $700 million toward building schools

Here’s more about the bipartisan Dunshee-MacEwen legislation, House Bill 2797. Front-page story in The News Tribune by Brad Shannon: State lawmakers consider borrowing against Lottery to build schools Radio story on Dunshee-MacEwen plan to build schools: State House announces $700-million bipartisan school-construction plan Capitol Record: Lottery money would back $700M bonds for school construction in House proposal HDC Advance: Just now: Capital budget committee unanimously passes school construction plan Dunshee-MacEwen release on school construction plan: Bipartisan school construction initiative introduced … Continue reading

Agreement in the works on teacher evaluations

February 27, 2014 - Rep. Gael Tarleton

I am pleased to hear Governor Inslee is working with leaders from the House and Senate on a solution to the teacher evaluation issue. Leaders in both parties are working diligently to ensure continued federal school funding that gives districts the flexibility they need to effectively and meaningfully evaluate teacher progress. I’m optimistic that the final proposal will satisfy federal requirements. While we are still waiting to see the bill that will outline potential changes, I will keep a close … Continue reading

House measure to address lower class sizes will alleviate severe overcrowding

February 27, 2014 - Rep. Gerry Pollet

Bipartisan school-construction legislation introduced in the state House of Representatives today will go a long way toward relieving severe overcrowding in Seattle schools, and meet our obligations to provide lower class sizes, according to state Rep. Gerry Pollet, who is a co-sponsor for House Bill 2797. The legislation authorizes the sale of $700 million in bonds to pay both for building new, full-day kindergarten classrooms and for reducing class sizes in kindergarten through third grade. Seattle Public Schools officials estimate … Continue reading

Education, child care, mental illness main focus of House budget

February 26, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Education, child care, mental illness main focus of House budget

House Democrats unveiled their 2014 supplemental budget proposal and education investment package on Wednesday. The proposal includes: $60 million in additional funds for basic education $10.4 million to improve community mental health services $20.5 million for child care providers To restore voter-approved (I-732) cost-of-living adjustments for teachers, which have been suspended since 2009, and fund the Early Start Act (improving quality in early learning), House Democrats are proposing to repeal or narrow four costly tax exemptions: Extracted Fuel                                              $31.7 million … Continue reading

House passes bill honoring Kip Tokuda

February 19, 2014 - Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos

House passes bill honoring Kip Tokuda

The House honored an inspirational leader on Tuesday with the passage of House Bill 2776, a bill that will rededicate an education program he was instrumental in creating as the Kip Tokuda Memorial Washington Civil Liberties Public Education Program. Kip Tokuda represented the 37th Legislative District in Seattle from 1994-2002 and was a civic and political leader among the Asian American community until his unexpected death on July 13, 2013. Tokuda was born in 1946, shortly after his American-born parents … Continue reading

Career and college readiness and tax exemption transparency

February 19, 2014 - Rep. Chris Reykdal

Career and college readiness and tax exemption transparency

Yesterday was a “cutoff” day at the state Legislature, meaning policy bills sponsored by House members must be approved by the full House to allow further consideration in the legislative process. We tackled several important issues like tax exemption transparency and career and college readiness. Below are clips from TVW of my floor speeches on these bills. Thank you again, for letting me be your voice on these important issues. – Chris House Bill 2383 “This saves us money and … Continue reading

Hunter bill to improve early learning quality clears House

February 19, 2014 - Rep. Ross Hunter

Hunter bill to improve early learning quality clears House

The state House of Representatives approved HB 2377 today by a vote of 64-33, which will substantially improve the quality of early learning for kids in Washington State. “If we want to improve school readiness outcomes for students, our best investment is in high-quality early learning,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Ross Hunter of Medina. “We now know how to assess the quality of pre-school programs and assess these outcomes. We just have to be serious about doing it. The … Continue reading

Pettigrew bills recognize that education is the springboard to success for all

February 17, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Pettigrew bills recognize that education is the springboard to success for all

Rep. Eric Pettigrew knows what it takes to succeed – hard work and a quality education. He’s not worried about ideologies or party lines, just what works.  If an education proposal has merit, he is ready to listen.  That’s why he sponsored HB 2553 and HB 2486 – both of which passed the House last Friday. A quality education is the key to success for everyone – even inmates. Almost half of those who go to prison will end up … Continue reading

Education, families bills pass the House floor

February 12, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Education, families bills pass the House floor

The House approved an array of legislation strengthening education, protecting families and helping veterans on Tuesday. Click here for the full list of bills from Tuesday’s floor action. Supporting tuition for veterans HB 1011 – The house voted unanimously to expand the definition of “resident student” to welcome veterans with residential tuition immediately after honorable discharge. Currently, the one-year waiting period for residential status makes it difficult for many veterans, who lived anywhere their country asked, to attend college. Sponsored … Continue reading

Statement from Rep. Eric Pettigrew on Washington’s first charter school

February 10, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Statement from Rep. Eric Pettigrew on Washington’s first charter school

As a long-time supporter of charter schools, I was honored to learn that the Washington’s first charter school, based on First Place School, currently a no-tuition private school in Seattle’s Central District, will make its transition to a public school in the 37th legislative district! Our regular public schools provide many children with a great education. But the system is not built to accommodate the unique needs of every student. Charter schools can provide students with the support, individualized attention … Continue reading

2014 Session Update

February 1, 2014 - Rep. Ross Hunter

2014 Session Update

Table of Contents Introduction DREAM Act Early Learning Quality Transportation K-12 Education 24-Credit Graduation Requirement Teacher and Principal Evaluation Changes Supplemental Budget Issues People are Writing in About Oil Tax Loophole Background Checks for Gun Purchasers Age Wave Study Hospital Mergers Contact Me   Introduction Thank you again for allowing me the opportunity to serve the community in the Legislature. This is my 12th year in this role and I am proud to have been elected by my peers to … Continue reading

Hansen bill lets sun shine on state college finances

January 30, 2014 - Rep. Drew Hansen

Students, parents and the public could take a look online at where state colleges get their income and what they spend it on, under a bipartisan bill introduced today by Rep. Drew Hansen, D-Bainbridge Island. “Parents and students deserve to know how our colleges are funded and how they’re spending the money,” Hansen said. “That’s important information for families making decisions on colleges.” The measure, House Bill 2651, requires state universities and colleges, including community colleges, to display prominently on … Continue reading

Haigh reform would help timber communities and schools

January 28, 2014 - Rep. Kathy Haigh

Haigh reform would help timber communities and schools

Legislation by Rep. Kathy Haigh (D-Shelton) would stop penalizing public schools in timber communities when it comes to basic education funding. “This is a common-sense reform that reflects our common values,” said Haigh, chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education. “It’s supported by Democrats and Republicans who agree that it’s wrong to let a quirk in the law punish students in timber towns.” The quirk comes from the fact that the state’s forests were picked by the state’s founders … Continue reading

Education: our paramount duty – and the key to our future

January 27, 2014 - Rep. Pat Sullivan

Education: our paramount duty – and the key to our future

Educating Washington’s children is not just our state’s paramount duty, it’s the most important thing we can do for our state’s economy.  Equipping students with the skills they’ll need to qualify for the jobs of tomorrow is key to their success and our thriving future. Two years ago this month, the Washington State Supreme Court found the state has not met its constitutional duty to fully-fund basic education.  Known as the McCleary decision, this ruling has brought to the forefront … Continue reading

Rep. Goodman knows your child’s class is too big

January 24, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Rep. Goodman knows your child’s class is too big

Yesterday, Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, held a news conference with Sen. Marko Liias, D-Mukilteo to discuss bills they have introduced in the House and Senate to reduce class sizes for all K-12 students in Washington state. Washington ranks 47th in the nation in class sizes.  With more than 30 students in a classroom, teachers cannot possibly give students the attention they deserve.  Many students can fall through the cracks. Compelling research shows that class size matters for every grade level. … Continue reading

Kindergarten-assessment data touts early learning

January 22, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Kindergarten-assessment data touts early learning

From the get-go, our youngest students need the right tools to get their school careers off on the right foot. For many years, educators, lawmakers and parents have stressed the need for children five- and six-years-old to hit the kindergarten ground running. In 2012, the legislature established WAKids, a transition process to help kids get a successful start in school and to assess the  learning readiness of each child. The  Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills results are now in. … Continue reading

McCleary, DREAM Act, health care

January 20, 2014 - Rep. Chris Reykdal

McCleary, DREAM Act, health care

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we wanted to share with you this video tribute in which House Democrats celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.     First week of the legislative session is complete We completed the first week of the 2014 Legislative Session and it included a rare first-day vote, Governor Inslee’s first State of the State address, and several public rallies. Looks like it’s going to be a jam-packed 60 days! Here are … Continue reading

ICYMI: Speaker Chopp & Rep. Sullivan on TVW’s Inside Olympia

January 20, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

ICYMI: Speaker Chopp & Rep. Sullivan on TVW’s Inside Olympia

Speaker Frank Chopp and Majority Leader Pat Sullivan spoke with TVW’s Austin Jenkins on Inside Olympia. They discuss issues that will be front and center for the 2014 legislative session like education, jobs, transportation, and health care.    

Reps. Kagi and Ryu tell students to keep dreaming!

January 20, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Reps. Kagi and Ryu tell students to keep dreaming!

Last week, Reps. Kagi and Ryu met with a group of students from LEAP (Latino/a Educational Achievement Project).  LEAP’s mission is ensuring all students graduate from high school with the skills they need to succeed for work or for college! On the first day of session the House passed of the Dream Act, allowing all deserving children, regardless of their immigration status, a fair shot at financial aid for college.   With this in mind, Reps. Kagi and Ryu offered … Continue reading

Bipartisan bills aim to improve quality in early learning

January 18, 2014 - Rep. Ross Hunter

Bipartisan bills aim to improve quality in early learning

Rep. Ross Hunter and Sen. Steve Litzow introduced bipartisan companion bills in the Legislature this week that aim to improve the overall quality of early learning by creating a mixture of incentives and requirements for child care providers. “Low quality care is actually bad for children,” said Hunter. “It’s not less good. It’s bad. Our state has done a great job creating an early learning system and expanding access to tens of thousands of children, but now it’s time to … Continue reading

Speaker Chopp’s opening day remarks

January 13, 2014 - Speaker Frank Chopp

Speaker Chopp’s opening day remarks

Opening Day Remarks (as written) Thank you. Before I begin my remarks, please let me introduce my wife, Nancy Long. With only 60 days, we have plenty of challenges and opportunities before us. Let me highlight a few: Last year, we made some progress in funding basic education. This year, we must take the next steps to meet our constitutional responsibility — the education of our kids, and to support those who work —day in and day out — to … Continue reading

Rumbling tummies make learning harder

January 10, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Rumbling tummies make learning harder

We all know how unfocused and annoyed we get at work when don’t eat breakfast. For children, hunger is more than a bad mood. Hungry children are more likely to repeat grades, exhibit aggressive, hyperactive or impulsive behavior, suffer from anxiety or depression, have lower math and reading scores or need special education services. It’s really that simple: for a child to be ready to learn, that child must first be well-fed. Here in Washington, one in four children live … Continue reading

Op-ed by Rep. Pat Sullivan: Washington’s future starts now – be a part of it!

January 9, 2014 - Rep. Pat Sullivan

Op-ed by Rep. Pat Sullivan: Washington’s future starts now – be a part of it!

The 2014 Legislative Session starts next Monday and, although it is only a 60-day session, there are a lot of important issues on the table.  Among the most pressing are: Transportation – There is substantial need for infrastructure improvements at both the state and local levels, including SR 167. We also need to make sure our transit system is adequate for our communities. Additionally, there have been calls for policy changes to our transportation systems. How should the state move … Continue reading

How much do dropouts cost us? The real numbers behind ‘pay now or pay later’

January 3, 2014 - Rep. Ross Hunter

How much do dropouts cost us? The real numbers behind ‘pay now or pay later’

How much do dropouts cost us? The real numbers behind ‘pay now or pay later’ | Education Lab Blog | Seattle Times. Good piece about quantizing future costs of kids dropping out of school. Makes me want to read the study they reference. So many studies, so little time… It’s worth subscribing to the Seattle Times’ Education Blog. There’s a link in the story to get a daily email update on recent stories.

Reps. Van De Wege, Tharinger accepting page applications for 2014 legislative session

December 20, 2013 - Reps. Van De Wege and Tharinger

Reps. Van De Wege, Tharinger accepting page applications for 2014 legislative session

Do you know a young person interested in expanding their civic education or public service? Representatives Kevin Van De Wege (D- Sequim) and Steve Tharinger (D- Dungeness) are now accepting page applications for the coming legislative session that begins in January and runs until mid-March. “Students are learning about Washington state government and the legislative process in their classrooms each day,” said Rep. Van De Wege. “Taking part in the page program is a great way for young people to … Continue reading

Hurry! The current GED expires in two weeks

December 17, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Hurry! The current GED expires in two weeks

Time is running out for anyone who started taking the GED sometime in the past decade but has not completed it; the current version of the GED test will expire at the end of 2013 and the new 2014 GED test will begin on January 2, 2014. If you’ve taken the GED but have not passed all five parts, you have until December 31 to get it done, otherwise you’ll need to start all over again in 2014 to receive … Continue reading

Washington’s future prosperity might depend on abandoning a “cultural stereotype”

December 5, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Washington’s future prosperity might depend on abandoning a “cultural stereotype”

“First, as early as second grade, the children demonstrated the American cultural stereotype that math is for boys . . . .   Second, elementary school boys identified with math more strongly than did girls on both implicit and self-report measures. The findings suggest that the math–gender stereotype is acquired early and influences emerging math self-concepts . . . .” So begins Math-gender Stereotypes in Elementary School Children, a landmark study published in 2011 by a trio of University of Washington … Continue reading

Washington STEM investments hitting the field

November 19, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Washington STEM investments hitting the field

What does it mean when an elected official says they want to invest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education? A recent partnership between Washington state and Microsoft is a perfect example of words turned into action. Microsoft, the Redmond-based software giant and one of the largest employers in the state, runs an IT Academy to train students in computer programming. Courses are focused on jobs-ready skills and cover topics ranging from basic Web navigation to advanced programming and … Continue reading

Suicide prevention is a priority in our state

November 15, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Suicide prevention is a priority in our state

According to the Washington State Injury and Violence Prevention Guide, suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth ages 15 to 24 in our state. This translates to 25 percent of the deaths in this age group, which averages to about 2 youth dying by suicide each week. A Des Moines lawmakers is determined to change those statistics and has been working diligently on ways to identify the signs that lead to suicide. Rep. Tina Orwall began tackling … Continue reading

BEST grants go to 7 school districts

October 30, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

BEST grants go to 7 school districts

Nationwide, 50 percent of beginning teachers leave the profession within the first five years. In Washington state that number is around 25 percent. Why so many?  New teachers often report feeling overwhelmed and under-supported. But there’s good news for new teachers in seven of our state’s school districts that were just awarded a total of $800,000 in Beginning Education Support Team (BEST) grants to expand their beginning teacher assistance programs. The BEST program, established by the Legislature in 2009, is … Continue reading

More students, and more students of color, take SAT exam

September 30, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

More students, and more students of color, take SAT exam

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) reports that high-school 12th-graders here in our very own Evergreen State, especially students of color, did us all proud in the most-recent Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). Says a recent OSPI press release — “Washington Sees Rise in SAT Participation: More students with more diversity are choosing to take the college-entrance exam”: “Washington’s 12th-graders earned a combined average score of 1,526 on the 2013 SAT. This is the nation’s fourth highest score among … Continue reading

Federal grant designed to help teen parents stay in school

September 27, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Federal grant designed to help teen parents stay in school

Biology being what it is,  some number of teens are going to be sexually active. Always have, always will. And despite the best efforts of parents, schools, and government programs, some of that sexual activity is going to produce children. One unfortunate result is that many young moms – and dads – will drop out of school. Unskilled, undereducated teenaged parents have every strike in the book against them, and it’s a recipe for poverty that can continue for generations. … Continue reading

Session update from Ross

September 20, 2013 - Rep. Ross Hunter

Session update from Ross

Session Update As always, thank you for allowing me to serve you in the Legislature. It’s an honor and a privilege. This year the “privilege” part got a little weak towards the end of 6 months in Olympia, but the we finally got a budget done. It’s a budget I’m pleased with, mostly. This newsletter has a number of sections – I’ve included the top couple of paragraphs in this email, with the remainder of the stories on my web … Continue reading

Out with the sugar, in with the spinach!

September 20, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Out with the sugar, in with the spinach!

As Washington’s little ones head back to classroom, and the inevitably the lunchroom, fall is a good times to talk about fighting one of the toughest epidemics in our country – childhood obesity. So a child is overweight — why should we care? To start with, overweight children are more than 5 times as likely to be obese adults. And we know that leads to a multitude of problems for families whose loved ones die early, our economy through lost … Continue reading

Read All About It!

September 19, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Read All About It!

A pair of notable new books currently getting a good deal of press seem designed to pique the interest of lawmakers. One offers a unique take on the Legislature’s paramount duty, and the other focuses on foster care in America. Since about the time “Why Johnny Can’t Read” was published nearly 60 years ago, it seems not a week goes by without another new book on K-12 education. Many if not most are polemics: The Democrats did it. The Republicans … Continue reading

Rep. Hunter earns ‘Champion for Early Learning’ honor

August 16, 2013 - Representative Ross Hunter

Rep. Hunter earns ‘Champion for Early Learning’ honor

State Representative Ross Hunter of Medina earned the “Champion of Early Learning” honor yesterday from the Children’s Alliance, a statewide organization that advocates for ensuring all kids in Washington are safe and healthy. “I’m extremely appreciative of this honor from the Children’s Alliance,” said Hunter. “More investment in early learning, restoration of cuts to Apple Health, and our participation in Medicaid expansion were major victories for all Washington residents this year.” As chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Hunter was … Continue reading

States looking to SAT, ACT for K-12 standardized testing

August 8, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

States looking to SAT, ACT for K-12 standardized testing

The wave of standardized testing has caused concern as voters and policymakers attempt to strike a balance between tracking student performance and avoiding unintended consequences like disenfranchising students with learning disabilities and teaching to the test. In Washington, the McCleary decision has only magnified these concerns as lawmakers look to find a way to meet our $4.5 billion obligation to fully fund K-12 education. One means of striking a balance that is gaining traction in other parts of the country … Continue reading

How can we help foster kids succeed?

August 7, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

How can we help foster kids succeed?

Washington turns adversity into leadership – again. Kids aging out of foster care may have experienced years of abuse and trauma in troubled homes. They are more likely to have mental health and drug problems, to be involved in the criminal justice system, and to become homeless. Only a little over half graduate from high school or get a GED. Foster kids have very low rates of college attendance. These conditions all but sentence them to a life of poverty. … Continue reading

Rep. Stonier to oversee efforts to improve failing schools

August 5, 2013 - Rep. Monica Stonier

Rep. Stonier to oversee efforts to improve failing schools

Rep. Monica Stonier (D-Vancouver) has been named a charter member of Washington’s Education Accountability Oversight Committee. The bipartisan panel will monitor implementation of a new law (SB 5329) approved during the 2013 legislative session that is designed to help persistently failing public schools improve their performance through support, guidance and, if necessary, direct intervention by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). “Every child can be successful if we give them the right tools to learn,” said Stonier. … Continue reading

Join me August 6 for a town hall discussion

July 29, 2013 - Rep. Monica Stonier

Join me August 6 for a town hall discussion

Please join me on Tuesday, August 6th at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Room at the the Cascade Public Library for a town hall. (600 NE 136th Ave Vancouver, WA 98684) I’ll provide a recap of what happened – and what didn’t happen – during the 2013 legislative session. I’ll also share my thoughts on what the 2014 session looks like going forward. But most importantly, I want to hear from you. What did you like out of this session? … Continue reading

The Education Budget

July 26, 2013 - Rep. Ross Hunter

The Education Budget

I’m pleased to report that we were able to add just over a billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) in new money to education funding in Washington, or about a 12% increase. This is a step towards meeting the obligation to amply provide for the education of all children residing within our borders the constitution calls for and the Supreme Court is requiring us to do in the McCleary decision. My initial proposal was for significantly more. We believe the final bill will be … Continue reading

Rep. Lytton to help oversee efforts to improve failing schools

July 26, 2013 - Rep. Kristine Lytton

Rep. Kristine Lytton has been named a charter member of Washington’s Education Accountability Oversight Committee.  The bipartisan panel will monitor implementation of a new law approved during the 2013 legislative session that is designed to help persistently failing public schools improve their performance through support, guidance and, if necessary, direct intervention by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). The new law, largely drafted by former school director Lytton, directs OSPI to develop criteria to determine which schools … Continue reading

Landmark education investment already making a difference for kids

July 12, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Landmark education investment already making a difference for kids

​In January 2012, the Washington State Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision that found the state has not complied with its constitutional duty to fully fund basic education for the students of Washington. To fully comply with the court order, known as the McCleary decision, we must invest an additional $4.5 billion into basic education by the 2018-2019 school year. In order to meet that goal, House Democrats proposed allocating about $1.3 billion over the next two years. The … Continue reading

Education wins in final budget

July 8, 2013 - Rep. Ross Hunter

Education wins in final budget

A week has passed since the end of the second (and final) special session this year and I’ve finally put socks and shoes on and shaved. This was an exhausting exercise as the Senate Republicans figured out how they were going to make decisions. I’m pleased we were able to get it done at the end, but would have preferred to have not come so close to the deadline for shutting down most state services. The final budget addresses most … Continue reading

Pollet: Help on way for overcrowded Northeast Seattle schools

July 1, 2013 - Rep. Gerry Pollet

“Washington’s updated capital budget includes much-needed funds to help ease severe overcrowding in Northeast Seattle schools,” state Rep. Gerry Pollet said today about the 2013-2015 biennial-construction budget passed in the closing hours of the special legislative session. “Some of our youngest students are being taught to read on stages in cafeterias,” Pollet pointed out. “Frankly, it’s nothing short of scandalous that we have first-graders in portables without bathrooms — even as enrollment north of the Ship Canal is growing every … Continue reading

Vibrant communities require strong families

June 26, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Vibrant communities require strong families

Never forget the very real world behind raw budget numbers — always sound advice, especially in this day and age. House Democrats are keeping that reality in mind as we work with the Senate on a compromise budget. And even as these dollars-and-cents endgames play out in Olympia, hot off the press is an annual report on the national and statewide “state of the kids.” The 2013 KIDS COUNT Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation lists Washington No. … Continue reading

Rep. Cody talks health care reform, gun control and education

June 23, 2013 - Rep. Cody

Rep. Cody talks health care reform, gun control and education

On June 20th, Rep. Eileen Cody (D-West Seattle) spoke with the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce. Rep. Cody brought the group up to speed on the ongoing budget negotiations – as well as some of the highlights from the legislative session. “We’ll have a budget by June 30. It’s been a question and it’s not done yet … but it’s going in the right direction and everyone believes we’ll get it accomplished at this point.” Follow the link to read … Continue reading

It doesn’t have to be this way

June 17, 2013 - Rep. Roger Goodman

It doesn’t have to be this way

In my latest video update I discuss the special session budget stalemate. House Democrats, understanding the importance of passing a budget that fully funds education, recently released a new compromise proposal very close to the Senate Republicans’ Budget. Currently, the Senate is holding the budget hostage until the House passes several right-wing policy bills including: lifting restrictions on payday lenders, school changes that make it easier to fire teachers and altering our state’s worker compensation program so it has complete … Continue reading

Rep. Sharon Wylie’s letter in the Columbian: LEGISLATURE’S DUTY IS CLEAR

June 16, 2013 - Rep. Sharon Wylie

Rep. Sharon Wylie’s letter in the Columbian: LEGISLATURE’S DUTY IS CLEAR

Most people agree that it is the job of state government to educate our children and build infrastructure that strengthens our economy. As a representative of the 49th District, I find these are not partisan issues. Our state constitution and state Supreme Court could not be more clear about our duty to fully fund education. Late Thursday night, the Legislature passed a bill that moved beyond one piece of the partisan gridlock that has put us in this second special … Continue reading

Republicans bring D.C.-style politics to our Washington

June 11, 2013 - Rep. Gael Tarleton

Republicans bring D.C.-style politics to our Washington

Well, Olympia has just had its second Sine Die. But nothing is finished. Senate Republicans need to hear from the public that everyone’s tired of this strategy of holding a budget hostage to ideologies. It is our duty to fund kids. Our paramount duty. Everything else might be nice to have. But kids must come first. We still need a biennium budget, a transportation revenue package, and a capital budget. Just like our wi-fi technologies, all three budgets depend on … Continue reading

The reality of budget negotiations

June 11, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

The reality of budget negotiations

This morning, Governor Inslee held a press conference and shared some hard truths about the reality of budget negotiations. It’s time for all sides to set aside their policy wish lists and ideology, and move towards a budget compromise that fulfills our paramount duty. Passing the same budget as before is not compromise. Governor Inslee: Here’s what is clear to me today: The Senate majority is trying to leverage our obligation to Washington’s school children to pass its ideological agenda. … Continue reading

Cut tax preferences for Oregon shoppers and send that money to Washington students

June 7, 2013 - Rep. Jim Moeller

“We all need to pay our fair share of taxes, including out-of-state shoppers. To level the playing field, we need to close some of Washington’s tax loopholes. One such loophole allows thousands of Oregonians to escape paying our sales tax when they shop in Vancouver. “But no, it doesn’t have to be that way. “We passed House Bill 2036 last night (Thursday, June 6, 2013) to convert the nonresident sales-tax exemption to a remittance program. What this means is that … Continue reading

VIDEO: Compromise budget highlights

June 6, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

VIDEO: Compromise budget highlights

With six days until the end of special session, House and Senate budget leaders rolled out a modest, compromise budget plan that will complete the work of the 2013 legislative session and move our state forward. We have more details here, here, and here. Our hope in January was a bold investment in education. This bill is more modest but does allow us to move forward in reducing class size, funding all day kindergarten, and supporting college students. Our budget … Continue reading

House and Senate lawmakers propose “significant compromise”

June 5, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

House and Senate lawmakers propose “significant compromise”

Leading lawmakers from the House and Senate united today behind a budget compromise that makes increased investments in education without shredding the safety net. “We’ve been meeting every day and working hard, in good faith,” said Majority Leader Pat Sullivan (D-Covington). “To finish our work and avoid a Washington D.C.-style shutdown of state government, it’s time to start voting. This proposal is a significant compromise” The base proposal adds a minimum of $704 million to our state’s K-12 schools and … Continue reading

School funding in jeopardy without estate tax bill

May 30, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

School funding in jeopardy without estate tax bill

Washington state has had some form of an estate tax since 1901. Currently, taxes are imposed on estates of $2 million or more, which is assessed on roughly 300 wealthy families each year. By a landslide vote of 62 percent in 2006, Washington voters reaffirmed their support for the estate tax to provide much-needed funding for our public schools. The revenues from the estate tax go into the Education Legacy Trust account, which pays for things like lower class sizes, … Continue reading

Rep. Tina Orwall’s E-Newsletter for May 20, 2013

May 20, 2013 - Rep. Tina Orwall

Rep. Tina Orwall’s E-Newsletter for May 20, 2013

Dear Neighbors, Our top budget leaders are in Olympia this week trying to reach an agreement on the budget while most of us have returned home and are reconnecting with family and friends, working hard to respond to all of our constituents’ emails and calls from session, and for many us,  attend to a second career. Once budget writers reach agreement on most outstanding issues, the rest of the lawmakers will return to finish work on the 2013-15 operating budget, … Continue reading

Rep. Mike Sells – Legislative Update for May 20, 2013

May 20, 2013 - Rep. Mike Sells

Rep. Mike Sells – Legislative Update for May 20, 2013

Budget negotiations are continuing in Olympia this week. Most legislators are back at home, however, resuming their jobs and a normal family life. Once budget writers reach agreement on most outstanding issues, lawmakers will return to finish work on the 2013-15 operating budget, capital budget, transportation budget and any other issues that can’t wait until next January.   Budget negotiations: Do we spend our money for educating our kids or tax exemptions? That’s one of the choices lawmakers are discussing … Continue reading

Teachers, students, Microsoft execs turn out for approval of computer-science bill

May 16, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

There are bill signings, and there are bill signings. The one for House Bill 1472 was one of the grander affairs of its kind, held “off campus” at Rainier Beach High School in Seattle and bringing together teachers, students and high-tech execs (and Gov. Inslee, of course: he brought the pen). All those folks wanted to demonstrate their support for the bill, sponsored by Rep. Drew Hansen, which calls for school boards to approve an Advanced Placement computer-science course as … Continue reading

McCleary NOT about education reform

May 16, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

McCleary NOT about education reform

Senate leaders held a media availability this week to outline what’s on their table for discussion during the special session. According to a tweet from Melissa Santos with the News Tribune, the Senate argues that the McCleary decision is a mandate for education reform as well as an education funding mandate. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reforms “talked about” in McCleary are funding reforms, not policy reforms. There are 56 references to “reform” in McCleary. The vast … Continue reading

Reps. Mike Sells and Hans Dunshee op-ed in the Everett Herald

May 11, 2013 - Reps. Mike Sells & Hans Dunshee

Reps. Mike Sells and Hans Dunshee op-ed in the Everett Herald

Funding education: Closing tax loopholes is not increasing taxes Corporate tax breaks or your children’s and grandchildren’s future. The ability to grow jobs and compete economically with a well-trained and educated workforce, or continuing outdated tax loopholes to special interests with highly paid lobbyists. Those are our choices. A tax break is an advantage the government gives to a business so it can employ more people. We’re talking about a two-way street, an agreement with the same goal in mind: … Continue reading

Pettigrew’s nominee wins Legislature’s Civic Educator of the Year Award

May 9, 2013 - Rep. Eric Pettigrew

During Civic Education Day at the state capitol, South Lake High School teacher Web Hutchins received the state’s top honor for civic education. Hutchins was nominated for the award by State Representative Eric Pettigrew (D-Seattle). “Hutch’s teaching model exemplifies how innovative techniques and civic engagement can reach our students in new ways – even those who are struggling most,” said Rep. Pettigrew. “It’s why I nominated him, and it’s why the Civics Consortium selected him as this year’s Civic Educator … Continue reading

Governor signs Bergquist bill encouraging community service

May 9, 2013 - Rep. Steve Bergquist

Governor signs Bergquist bill encouraging community service

With two high school students at the ceremony, Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation by Rep. Steve Bergquist (D-Renton) that’s meant to strengthen the bonds between students and their local community. “Everybody who gets a high school diploma should be a good student, a hard worker – and also a good citizen,” said Bergquist, a teacher in the Renton public schools. “Lighting a spark in our students, that sense of community, the joy of making connections with neighbors and new friends … Continue reading

2013 Regular Session Victories

April 29, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

2013 Regular Session Victories

Education – Early Learning through Higher Education Integrating early learning (HB 1723) – Creates a framework for developing an integrated, high quality early learning continuum for low-income children ages birth to 5. Reforming Working Connections Child Care (SB 5595) – Develops user-friendly customer service and creates a legislative task force to develop recommendations to transition the program to a high quality, integrated, early- education oriented service. State-Tribal education compacts (HB 1134) – Allows OSPI (rather than the State itself) to … Continue reading

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update for April 28, 2013

April 28, 2013 - Rep. Brian Blake

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update for April 28, 2013

The Legislative Session ends today, but we will be going into overtime to continue budget negotiations and reach consensus between the House, Senate and Governor Inslee.   As we move through special session, I’ll continue to fight for a responsible budget that funds our state’s priorities such as education, health care, jobs and economic opportunity. Watch my latest Legislative Update for a quick summary of what we’ve done so far and what lies ahead. Closing Tax Loopholes The looming special session … Continue reading

1,000 teachers rally in Olympia

April 27, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

1,000 teachers rally in Olympia

Over 1,000 teachers from the Washington Education Association rallied in Olympia today in support of public schools. Several members of our caucus were on hand to show our support for fully funding education. Negotiators from our caucus, the Senate Republican Caucus, and the Governor’s office are meeting daily to develop a compromise operating budget. Rhetoric aside, all budgets need at least 25 votes in the Senate and 50 votes in the House before they can be sent to the Governor … Continue reading

Rep.Mike Sells Legislative Update for April 26,2013

April 26, 2013 - Rep. Mike Sells

Rep.Mike Sells Legislative Update for April 26,2013

The session is scheduled to adjourn on Sunday, April 28. However, we will be going into overtime to continue budget negotiations and reach consensus between the House, Senate and Governor Inslee. Are certain tax exemptions more important than educating our kids?  On Wednesday, we answered that question when we approved a bill that closed or modified ten outdated and ineffective tax loopholes in order to fund our children’s education. This generated about $900 million for smaller class sizes, full-day kindergarten … Continue reading

Applications available for Legislative Youth Council

April 23, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Applications available for Legislative Youth Council

If you’re a teen, chances are you can’t afford a lobbyist to represent your interests in Olympia, but laws passed under the Capitol dome have an impact on your life just the same. Wanting to hear from Washington’s young residents, legislators passed SB 5254 in 2005, which created the Legislative Youth Advisory Council (LYAC) to: Examine issues of importance to youth, including but not limited to education, employment, strategies to increase youth participation in state and municipal government, safe environments … Continue reading

Encouraging high-schoolers to study computer science

April 19, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

The demand for computer programmers exceeds the supply available to businesses in Washington that want to hire them. That’s an opportunity that high-school students should take advantage of as they think about their future careers. But at the same time, they need to make sure they complete all the courses required for a high-school diploma. Thanks to a bill by Rep. Drew Hansen that’s nearing final legislative approval, it could soon be easier for high-schoolers to satisfy both those goals. … Continue reading

Greetings From Olympia: An Update from Representative Marcus Riccelli

April 17, 2013 - Rep. Marcus Riccelli

Greetings From Olympia: An Update from Representative Marcus Riccelli

House Budget Proposals Released There are only 11 days left in the legislative session, and we have a lot to accomplish before we can head back home. At the top of that list is finalizing the three budgets that keep the wheels turning in Washington and invest in our future: the operating, capital, and transportation budgets. When the transportation budget passed out of the House yesterday, I brought forward an amendment to ensure that savings on the North South Corridor be retained … Continue reading

Clean energy solutions coming to a school near you!

April 17, 2013 - Rep. Gael Tarleton

Clean energy solutions coming to a school near you!

The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction announced today that 28 school districts around the state will collectively receive $20 million to improve energy efficiency in public schools. Seattle Public Schools will receive $500,000. From today’s news release: The award is part of a $40 million commitment by the state Legislature to help schools produce long-term energy and operational savings, improve the indoor environmental qualities of schools and help stimulate construction-industry jobs in the state. “We’re pleased with the … Continue reading

Boost for computer-science education gets green light in Senate

April 17, 2013 - Rep. Drew Hansen

Boost for computer-science education gets green light in Senate

High-school students would gain an added incentive to take computer-science courses and prepare for 21st-century jobs under a bill by Rep. Drew Hansen that won overwhelming bipartisan approval Tuesday in the state Senate. “This bill will help students train for high-paying jobs in the technology industry and start addressing our state’s computer programmer shortage,” Hansen, D-Bainbridge Island, said. House bill 1472 calls for school boards to approve an advanced placement (AP) computer-science course as equivalent to a math or science … Continue reading

Youth-suicide prevention plan gets boost from Senate approval

April 17, 2013 - Rep. Tina Orwall

Youth-suicide prevention plan gets boost from Senate approval

Bill by Rep. Orwall strengthens efforts to aid troubled teens A comprehensive plan to help troubled teens and reduce youth suicide won approval in the state Senate earlier this week as House Bill 1336 moved closer to final legislative passage. “This bill is about making sure our educators have the tools they need to recognize warning signs and identify students with emotional issues so they can refer them for the help they need,” said Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines, the … Continue reading

Senate Budget – Unconstitutional Fund Transfer?

April 10, 2013 - Rep. Ross Hunter

In the Senate Republican budget they transfer $166 million of the “Common School Construction Fund” into the operating budget. The Treasurer does not believe he has the constitutional authority to make this transfer and has said so publicly. The Senate Republicans are waving a letter from their staff attorney that says it’s all right. I’m not a lawyer, but the arguments from the Senate staff sounded like counting angels dancing on the head of pins. The constitutional language in question … Continue reading

Week 12 Legislative Update from Rep. Farrell

April 10, 2013 - Rep. Jessyn Farrell

Week 12 Legislative Update from Rep. Farrell

Greetings from Olympia! Week 12 of the 2013 legislative session is behind us, and what a week it was! The Senate released a budget proposal, following Governor Inslee’s roll-out of his plan the week before. With these two budgets out, it’s now the House’s turn, and we introduced our proposal today. In the next few weeks budget writers from both chambers will work toward a compromise budget that will support schools, public safety, and other vital state services for the … Continue reading

House budget proposal best for schools

April 10, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

House budget proposal best for schools

The state will step up to its responsibility to educate public-school students and will make sure college graduates are ready for high-demand jobs under the budget proposal released by the House Democratic majority on Wednesday. The budget proposal authored by House Appropriations Chair Ross Hunter, D-Medina, dedicates more new funding to education than either of the budget plans released earlier by the Senate Republicans or Gov. Inslee. “This is an honest, straightforward budget that meets our constitutional obligation to our … Continue reading

House doubles up on education

April 10, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

House doubles up on education

House Democrats unveiled a state budget that funds education without shredding the safety net for kids, seniors, the blind, and disabled – and without resorting to accounting tricks or one-time spending. Education The budget set the high-water mark for education spending, adding $1.3 billion over predicted spending on public schools. If you compared total education spending to the current budget, the House proposal spends $1.9 billion more than the status quo. Gov. Jay Inslee proposed putting $1.2 billion more toward … Continue reading

Senate Budget: Bad for Kids, Families, and Our Future

April 8, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Senate Budget: Bad for Kids, Families, and Our Future

Top 10 Reasons the Senate Budget is bad for Kids, Middle Class Families and Our Future 15 NEW tax loopholes; zero eliminated – The Senate plans to add 15 new tax breaks while not eliminating even one existing corporate giveaway.

Rainier Beach Basketball Team Visits Legislature

April 5, 2013 - Rep. Eric Pettigrew

Rainier Beach Basketball Team Visits Legislature

Last week, the Rainier Beach basketball team, led by their coach, Mike “Falcon Eddie” Bethea, came to accept a resolution honoring their team,  their winning record and their academic success! Rainier Beach High School is in the 37th Legislative District, represented by Eric Pettigrew and Sharon Tomiko Santos. The team won the 2013 3A State Championship Title, scoring 62-59 against Lakeside High School.  The House Democractic Caucus congratulated the team on their State Title and outstanding sportsmanship.  In a school with many academic … Continue reading

War on middle class families continues in Senate budget proposal

April 5, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

War on middle class families continues in Senate budget proposal

Throughout the fall we heard about the Republican “War on Women” and the middle class. On Wednesday that battle continued with the roll out of the Republican Senate’s proposed $33.2 billion operating budget. Though there were some highlights, thanks to the work of Sen. Jim Hargrove and Sen. Sharon Nelson, the proposal still cuts millions from vital state services while protecting loopholes for powerful corporate interests. Touted as a “no new taxes” budget, Republican budget writer Sen. Andy Hill (R-Kirkland) … Continue reading

Let’s tell the truth: taxes are low — and education creates jobs

April 2, 2013 - Rep. Tami Green

Let’s tell the truth: taxes are low — and education creates jobs

by Rep. Tami Green Some myths never die. Unlike urban legends about what happens when you put a Twinkie in a microwave, myths about government and taxes actually do real damage to real people. There’s a good post here (The $2 billion budget myth) that’s worth reading to understand what the fight about the budget is about. It’s misleading to say that everything is fine because state revenues are up $2 billion. Revenues are only up from the depths of … Continue reading

Columbian: Highest success rate out of all freshmen House Democrats

April 2, 2013 - Rep. Monica Stonier

Columbian: Highest success rate out of all freshmen House Democrats

House Democrats were pleased to welcome nine new members to the Legislature this session, and they didn’t waste any time getting to work. A story in today’s Columbian highlights freshman Rep. Monica Stonier’s near perfect success record for moving her bills out of the House. Although as she states in the article, near perfect isn’t good enough for her. Rep. Stonier’s goal is to go nine for nine by the end of the session. From Lucas Wiseman with The Columbian: … Continue reading

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update – March 11, 2013

March 11, 2013 - Rep. Brian Blake

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update – March 11, 2013

Dear neighbors, These last few days have been long with late evenings and even Saturday working to pass bills on the Floor. But we have to do it this way. If we stuck to a 9-5 schedule, chances are we’d run out of time and many bills would die.  While it may seem like many of the bills we pass are unimportant to some people, they are vital to the folks who are affected by those legislations.  Passage of some … Continue reading

Reykdal measures heading to the Senate

March 11, 2013 - Rep. Chris Reykdal

Reykdal measures heading to the Senate

The House of Representatives has approved a batch of bills introduced by Rep. Chris Reykdal (D-Tumwater) ahead of Wednesday’s critical House of Origin cut-off. Covering a range of issues with statewide significance, the measures will now head to the Senate. On Friday, the House approved Rep. Reykdal’s innovative approach to drop-out prevention. The bill creates a pilot program partnering community based organizations, like food banks and small farms, with school districts to target at-risk youth. Under the direction of the … Continue reading

Stonier education bills approved by the House

March 8, 2013 - Rep. Monica Stonier

Stonier education bills approved by the House

The state House of Representatives devoted much of the Friday’s floor schedule working on education bills. State Representative Monica Stonier (D-Vancouver) was successful in getting three of her education bills approved by the House. “I am honored to be working on behalf of kids in schools across the state,” said Stonier. “I am working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to improve our schools and making higher education more affordable.” The Stonier bills approved today in the … Continue reading

Rep. Tina Orwall’s e-newsletter for March 8, 2013

March 8, 2013 - Rep. Tina Orwall

Rep. Tina Orwall’s e-newsletter for March 8, 2013

Dear Neighbors, House policy committees did not meet last week, but legislators were busy hearing bills in the House fiscal committees.  Bills were required to pass out of these committees by Friday, March 1, if they were to remain in play this year – unless they are budget-related. This week we’ve been on the floor of the House voting on legislation every day, potentially including Saturday and Sunday.  It’s the only way we can get as much done as possible … Continue reading

Rep. Luis Moscoso’s Legislative Update – March 8, 2013

March 8, 2013 - Rep. Luis Moscoso

Dear Neighbors, Since my last update the legislative process has progressed past two sets of deadlines that bills must survive to continue being considered. Now, my colleagues and I are spending our days (and many nights) on the floor of the House debating and voting on amendments and bills. I’d like to take this opportunity to go over some of the more noteworthy legislation we’re discussing during these long days. Education My House colleagues and I are focused on improving schools to build a better … Continue reading

House approves another round of education bills

March 8, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

House approves another round of education bills

Education was the main focus of the Legislature this week. While the Senate was passing bills that would grade schools, hold back third-graders, and reform the recently-reformed teacher/principal evaluation system, the House is taking a student-centered approach to education policy. “Our priorities are clearly best for all kids and our public schools,” said Rep. Marcie Maxwell (D-Renton). “The House is focused on support for quality teaching and learning. We’re working on strategic policy and budget decisions that make significant investments … Continue reading

House approves package of Haigh bills

March 8, 2013 - Rep Kathy Haigh

House approves package of Haigh bills

As a critical deadline approaches, the House of Representatives has approved a number of measures introduced by Rep. Kathy Haigh (D-Shelton). Covering issues ranging from high school dropouts to local cemeteries – the bills target growing problems not only in the 35th Legislative District, but across the state. On Friday, the House took action on Rep. Haigh’s landmark dropout prevention bill. The legislation would provide families, schools and communities with the tools they need to increase the number of on-time … Continue reading

Washington schools could suffer under sequestration

March 5, 2013 - Rep. Larry Seaquist

Washington schools could suffer under sequestration

Automatic federal budget cuts kicked in on Friday as a result of Congress’ failure to reach a compromise spending plan. While programs like Social Security and Medicare will largely go untouched, many other areas of federal spending could see spending reductions. According to White House estimates, Washington state could lose $11.6 million in funding for primary and secondary education as a result of sequestration. More specifically: The Federal Funds Information for States estimates higher education assistance programs like Work Study … Continue reading

House OKs continuation of the Urban School Turnaround Initiative

March 4, 2013 - Rep. Eric Pettigrew

House OKs continuation of the Urban School Turnaround Initiative

In last year’s supplemental budget, the legislature allocated funds to accelerate student learning and target the achievement gap through research-based techniques in two Seattle schools. Aki Kurose Middle School Academy and Rainier Beach High School, both located in Seattle, received $1 million grants to be spent in the 2012-2013 school year. Each school was required to submit a spending plan for the grant funds, and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction was charged with monitoring the activities of … Continue reading

House passes Orwall’s troubled youth legislation

March 4, 2013 - Rep. Tina Orwall

House passes Orwall’s troubled youth legislation

This afternoon, on a 90-8 vote, the Washington State House of Representatives passed a measure that would increase the capacity for school districts to recognize and respond to troubled youth.  “This bill will give our schools basic skills and tools to identify early signs of troubled students and make sure they get referred for help,” said Rep. Tina Orwall  (D-Des Moines) the bill’s prime sponsor, who authored another suicide prevention measure last year. “This bill will ensure that our schools … Continue reading

Maxwell earns “Legislative Advocate of the Year” award

March 4, 2013 - Rep. Marcie Maxwell

Maxwell earns “Legislative Advocate of the Year” award

State Representative Marcie Maxwell (D-Renton) was recently honored as the Legislative Advocate of the Year by the Washington School Counselor Association (WSCA). Maxwell serves as the Deputy Majority Leader for Education & Opportunity in the House of Representatives. The organization, which represents the certificated professional school counselors who work in public and private schools, cited Maxwell’s “tireless advocacy” for improving public education for all students and efforts to allocate more resources for school counseling. As a member of the Joint … Continue reading

My position on education funding

March 2, 2013 - Rep. Gerry Pollet

Funding education is the single most important investment we can make in our state’s future. In recent years, due in part to our state’s budgetary woes, we have failed to adequately fund education, and our public schools have been the target of devastating cuts. The current funding crisis was highlighted by our state Supreme Court in the McCleary decision, which identified Washington’s failure to fulfill its constitutional duty to adequately fund basic education. Our children have a constitutional right to … Continue reading

Rep. Sam Hunt’s Electronic Newsletter – February 22, 2013

February 25, 2013 - Rep. San Hunt

We began this week at the Legislature by celebrating Children’s Day, a yearly tradition in the House of Representatives that usually coincides with the Presidents’ Day holiday. With many children out of school for the holiday, we invite them to join us as we recognize the special place children hold in our communities, and the hopes and dreams they symbolize for a better future.  That future depends on the work we do here in the Legislature, and Children’s Day reminds us that … Continue reading

Rep. Mary Helen Roberts’ e-newsletter for Feb. 25, 2013

February 25, 2013 - Rep. Mary Helen Roberts

Rep. Mary Helen Roberts’ e-newsletter for Feb. 25, 2013

Last week the Legislature celebrated Children’s Day, a yearly tradition in the House of Representatives that usually coincides with the Presidents’ Day holiday. With many children out of school for the holiday, we invite them to join us as we recognize the special place children hold in our communities, and the hopes and dreams they symbolize for a better future. That future depends on the work we do here in the Legislature, and Children’s Day reminds us that every decision we make affects future generations. … Continue reading

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update – Feb. 25, 2013

February 25, 2013 - Rep. Brian Blake

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update – Feb. 25, 2013

What are you doing this Wednesday evening? If you’re home and have the time, I hope you will join our telephone town hall. Households across the 19th Legislative District will receive a phone call at around 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 27 from me, Representative Dean Takko and Senator Brian Hatfield, inviting you to join our one-hour town hall-style discussion. We held a similar one last year and 7,500 of you participated, so we decided to repeat the experience. If … Continue reading

Rep. Wylie’s e-newsletter for February 22, 2013

February 22, 2013 - Rep. Sharon Wylie

Rep. Wylie’s e-newsletter for February 22, 2013

It’s been a busy week in the Legislature.  Today is our first cut-off, which is the last day a policy bill can be considered in committee in its house of origin.  Fiscal bills get an extra week beyond that – the fiscal bill deadline is next Friday, March 1st.   The session follows a cut-off calendar, which determines the deadlines for public hearings and executive action on bills, as well as floor action in both the House and Senate. Watch my … Continue reading

Rep. Luis Moscoso’s Legislative Update – Feb 22, 2013

February 22, 2013 - Rep. Luis Moscoso

Rep. Luis Moscoso’s Legislative Update – Feb 22, 2013

Dear Neighbors, The last two weeks have been busy here in the legislature, but these weeks were not without moments of reflection and remembrance.  On February 13, members of the House and Senate held a Joint Session to honor former legislators who have passed away in the last two years. I took the opportunity to remember former Representative Jeanne Edwards, who I knew and worked with when she was in the House. You can read about her in this June … Continue reading

Rep. Orwall’s E-Newsletter for February 22, 2013

February 22, 2013 - Rep. Tina Orwall

Rep. Orwall’s E-Newsletter for February 22, 2013

Dear Neighbors, It has been another busy week in the legislature, but also a week with moments of reflection and remembrance.  On February 13, members of the House and Senate joined together for a Joint Legislative Session in the Senate chambers to honor former legislators who have passed away in the last two years. A poignant moment for me was memorializing my friend and former colleague, Sen. Scott White, who passed away in 2011.  It was a time to contemplate … Continue reading

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update – Feb 19, 2013

February 19, 2013 - Rep. Brian Blake

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update – Feb 19, 2013

Mark your calendar: 19th Legislative District Telephone Town Hall on February 27 at 6 pm. You may get a call from us around 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 27, inviting you to join our telephone town hall.  State Representative Dean Takko, Senator Brian Hatfield and I will host a one-hour town hall-style discussion with those of you who choose to stay on the line and participate. The last time we did one of these, around 7,500 of you joined the … Continue reading

Rep. Mike Sells – Legislative Update, Feb. 15, 2013

February 15, 2013 - Rep. Mike Sells

Rep. Mike Sells – Legislative Update, Feb. 15, 2013

What’s Important This Session I was on TVW’s “Inside Olympia” last week. We discussed the injured workers insurance that Republicans want to cut, which have no effect on the Operating Budget.  I stressed that we should concentrate on funding education and supporting families in time of need. Focusing on the 27,000 homeless students in our state, families struggling to make ends meet, and our employers getting the skilled workers they need should not be a partisan issue. Instead of working … Continue reading

Rep. Kagi discusses early learning on KUOW’s The Conversation

February 15, 2013 - waldrefj

Rep. Kagi discusses early learning on KUOW’s The Conversation

What’s up with early learning funding here in Washington, and how do we measure up against other states?  Why should the state invest in early learning programs?  Rep. Kagi talks with KUOW’s Ross Reynolds on The Conversation, and mentions her proposal to create a birth-to-five early learning continuum funded by money from Initiative 502.  That proposal has a public hearing today at 1:30 p.m. in the House Early Learning and Human Services committee. You can read the article and hear … Continue reading

Week 4 Legislative Update from Rep. Farrell

February 14, 2013 - Rep. Jessyn Farrell

Week 4 Legislative Update from Rep. Farrell

Dear Friends: Greetings from Olympia! It is such a privilege to represent you, and I’d like to update you on some of the work I’ve been doing. I serve on the Early Learning and Human Services Committee, the Environment Committee, and the Transportation Committee, and I’m working hard to provide great educational opportunities for our kids, protect our environment, and ensure we have a strong economy. I’m the prime sponsor on bills that will protect children’s privacy, help make more land available … Continue reading

Haigh dropout prevention bill receives support in House hearing

February 12, 2013 - toyrab

Haigh dropout prevention bill receives support in House hearing

Members of the House Education Committee heard testimony from students, parents and educators alike in favor of Representative Kathy Haigh’s (D-Shelton) landmark dropout prevention legislation. “No school in Washington has been immune from the dropout epidemic,” said Rep. Haigh. “Rural or urban, east or west, small or large- every school in Washington has seen a student fall through the cracks.” Rep. Haigh pointed to data from her own district. Last school year Shelton Senior High School’s adjusted on-time graduation rate … Continue reading

Reykdal bill partners school districts, communities to curb dropouts

February 12, 2013 - toyrab

State Representative Chris Reykdal (D-Tumwater) was joined by students, educators and community leaders in support of House Bill 1276 at a public hearing on the measure in the House Education Committee today. The bill creates a pilot program partnering community based organizations, like food banks and small farms, with school districts to target at-risk youth. Under the direction of the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the groups would develop an alternative high school program to complement traditional schooling. … Continue reading

Legislative Update from Rep. Dawn Morrell

February 11, 2013 - toyrab

Legislative Update from Rep. Dawn Morrell

I can’t tell you how exciting it is to be back down in Olympia fighting for 25th district families on the issues important to us. Believe it or not, we are already one month into the 2013 legislative session and I have much to bring you up-to-speed on! I was sworn-in back on January 14th and it’s been a whirlwind of committee meetings, constituent appointments, caucus meetings and floor action since. This session I serve as chair of the Appropriations … Continue reading

Opportunity for all

February 11, 2013 - Rep. Steve Bergquist

Opportunity for all

by Rep. Steve Bergquist As a teacher in our public schools, I know that money doesn’t solve every problem – but a severe lack of funding for Washington schools is standing in the way of what our students need. Wealthy special interests have an army of lobbyists and think tanks pushing hard for their paramount duty: protecting tax breaks for the rich. Sick, hungry and homeless kids can’t learn Let me tell you about one of my students. Jonathan went … Continue reading

Rep. Orwall’s E-Newsletter for February 8, 2013

February 8, 2013 - nietol

Rep. Orwall’s E-Newsletter for February 8, 2013

Dear Neighbors, Believe it or not, we are already one month into the 2013 legislative session.  Only 11 more weeks to go!  The session follows a cut-off calendar, which determines the deadlines for public hearings and executive action on bills, as well as floor action in both the House and Senate. We are coming up on our first cut-off, February 22, which is the last day a policy bill can be considered in committee in its house of origin.  Fiscal … Continue reading

Rep. Mary Helen Roberts’ e-Newsletter for Feb 8, 2013

February 8, 2013 - nietol

Rep. Mary Helen Roberts’ e-Newsletter for Feb 8, 2013

Dear neighbors, It’s hard to believe we are already one month into the 2013 legislative session. Only 11 more weeks to go! The session follows a cut-off calendar, which determines the deadlines for public hearings and executive action on bills, as well as floor action in both the House and Senate. We are coming up on our first cut-off, February 22, which is the last day a policy bill can be considered in committee in its house of origin. Fiscal … Continue reading

Moving testimony on Orwall’s Troubled Youth bill

February 7, 2013 - nietol

Moving testimony on Orwall’s Troubled Youth bill

Click on the image to watch the hearing on Rep. Tina Orwall‘s Troubled Youth legislation (HB 1336) in the Education Committee on February 7, 2013.  Moving testimony was given from survivors of suicide, and family members of suicide victims, including Kurt Cobain’s aunt, Mary Earl, stressing the need for Orwall’s legislation.

Rep. Morris’s Week 4 E-Newsletter

February 6, 2013 - Rep. Jeff Morris

We’re already in the middle of Week Four of the 2013 session, and it has been a week packed with activity here on the capitol campus.  One way that you can keep up with what’s going on in the House is to check out the House Hot Sheet, which is updated weekly.  It lists the time and location of public hearings in the House on bills of interest. We get thousands of visitors on the campus each week.  Some are … Continue reading

Rep Hunter to House: Don’t mistake form for substance

February 1, 2013 - robertsg

The attempt by Republicans to change House rules on budgeting is misleading and disruptive, Rep. Ross Hunter says on the House floor.  

Litzow, Pettigrew announce efforts to close opportunity gap, accelerate student achievement

January 28, 2013 - toyrab

Sen. Steve Litzow and Rep. Eric Pettigrew today announced two bills aimed at improving persistently low-achieving schools and encouraging academic progress with advanced high school-placement options. “In Washington we have many students and teachers doing some remarkable things and learning at a high level. However, we also have schools that repeatedly fail to adequately educate students,” said Litzow, of Mercer Island, who is chairman of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee. “The Office of the Superintendent of Public … Continue reading

Six STEM Lighthouse Schools and One District receive funds

January 24, 2013 - nietol

Six STEM Lighthouse Schools and One District receive funds

The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction announced today that six schools and an entire school district were awarded $19,000 in grants and will serve as Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) mentors to other schools in the state.  Known as “Lighthouse” schools, the seven entities will promote and develop STEM education, including technical assistance and advice for other elementary, middle and high schools that are creating their own STEM environments.  STEM Lighthouse schools originated in 2010 with the … Continue reading

Rep. Hunter looks to curtail abuses of alternative school program

January 22, 2013 - robertsg

Rep. Hunter looks to curtail abuses of alternative school program

It’s called Alternative Learning Experience, and it’s a state-sanctioned program that allows school districts to set up non-traditional educational programs for students who are ill-suited to conventional classroom instruction. But the way some districts run the program has raised concerns with state school officials and some legislators, including Rep. Ross Hunter, who said this to a reporter from KPLU FM: We’re going to have to do a thoughtful discussion on how the system works this year. We want a system … Continue reading

Rep. Pettigrew tours South Seattle schools

January 22, 2013 - toyrab

Rep. Pettigrew tours South Seattle schools

During the 2012 session, the Legislature allocated funds in support of creative and innovative programs designed to boost student achievement in a handful of struggling schools in South Seattle. On Friday, January 11th Rep. Pettigrew took some time out of his schedule to check-in on two of the schools that received funding and to see how they’re putting the dollars to work in the classroom. First up was Rainier Beach High School. RBHS is using the dollars in a wide-variety of … Continue reading

Legislative Update

January 21, 2013 - Rep. Ross Hunter

We’ve gone through the first week. The governor and the state-wide officials have all been inaugurated, I fit into the same tuxedo I got married in 23 years ago for the inaugural ball, the Senate is in uproar about Senator Tom’s defection and the consequent change in partisan control, the sun came out (briefly) in Olympia, and we are back to work. The only real surprise to me was the tuxedo fitting. The Senate is controlled by Republicans due to … Continue reading

“I’m in for a whirlwind for sure”

January 17, 2013 - mcvicara

“I’m in for a whirlwind for sure”

It’s been a busy week for the newest member of the House of Representatives from the 17th Legislative District. Rep. Monica Stonier (D-Vancouver) was officially sworn into her new role on Monday. After a week of House orientation and getting moved in to her new office, she’s ready to get to work. “Legislators make the best decisions they can with the information they have at the time,” said Stonier. “But sometimes their policy decisions can miss the mark. As someone … Continue reading

Welcome to the 2013 Legislative Session

January 17, 2013 - mcvicara

Friends, I am excited to be back in Olympia for the 2013 Legislative Session. As our state continues to climb out of the recession, I look forward to advocating for the policies and funding necessary to realize our shared visions of Washington’s future. Education Funding One of the biggest challenges facing the Legislature this session will be figuring out how to fully fund basic education. From its earliest days as a state, Washington has emphasized the importance of basic education … Continue reading

What’s in “McCleary?”

January 15, 2013 - Rep. Ross Hunter

In 2012 the Washington State Supreme Court found that Washington State is not funding our education system at anything close to the level the constitution requires. Just before the holidays the court opined again, that “the overall level of funding remains below the levels that have been declared constitutionally inadequate.” (Washington State Supreme Court, 2012) On the Legislative side the Joint Task Force on Education Finance report issued in December 2012 detailed an eventual cost of about $4.5 billion dollars … Continue reading

Budget Outline 2013-15

January 13, 2013 - Rep. Ross Hunter

In 2013 the Legislature has three big budget problems to address. It may be that there are other issues for the Legislature (gun safety, mental health, transportation…) but as the budget chair I have an odd focus on what I’m responsible for. Balance the 2013-15 budget, plus make sure that the 2015-17 budget is structurally sound. We start with a $904 million shortfall and have to address the two issues below, plus comply with the strongest 4-year balanced budget requirement … Continue reading

“Our caucus is organized and energized”

January 12, 2013 - Speaker Frank Chopp

<em>“Our caucus is organized and energized”</em>

Legislative leaders from each caucus spoke with reporters earlier this week during the annual Associated Press Legislative Preview. The leadership panel answered questions from reporters on several issues that will face the Legislature over the next 105 days. After opening his remarks by stating, “Our caucus is organized and energized,” Speaker Frank Chopp outlined the top five priorities for House Democrats this session: Support basic education Expand health care through the Affordable Care Act and the Basic Health Plan Strengthen … Continue reading

Rep. Reykdal on education, tax reform, and the 2013 session

January 12, 2013 - toyrab

Rep. Reykdal on education, tax reform, and the 2013 session

Representative Chris Reykdal has an opinion piece featured in The Olympian. Among other things, Rep. Reykdal shares his thoughts on the McCleary decision and what it means for lawmakers as they begin to draft a budget for the coming biennium. The Supreme Court repeated what some of us have been saying for years: Education should be the Legislature’s highest priority. I, however, reject the idea that we should somehow abandon our other moral obligations to score political points. The fund-education-first … Continue reading

Testing, testing, testing: Balancing accountability and cost

December 20, 2012 - robbinsc

Testing, testing, testing: Balancing accountability and cost

What price, assessment testing? As to reviewing the academic standing of our students, in other words, when is enough enough? “Frankly today, already,” maintains State Rep. John McCoy (D-Tulalip). “We have more yardsticks for measuring accountability in our education system than we know what to do with. I want our schools to determine the testing that isn’t effective — and then get rid of it. “Certainly, I’m encouraged by (Superintendent of Public Instruction) Randy Dorn’s comments the other day,” continued … Continue reading

Santos reappointed chair of the House Education Committee

December 17, 2012 - Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos

Santos reappointed chair of the House Education Committee

Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos was reappointed to chair the House Education Committee for the 2013 legislative session by the House Democratic Caucus. Santos is entering her eighth term as a representative from Seattle and her third year chairing the House Education Committee. “The incoming Legislature must focus on resolving the problems identified in the McCleary decision that was handed down by the Supreme Court earlier this year,” said Santos. “While the court acknowledged the critical reforms we enacted during the … Continue reading

Fitzgibbon reappointed to vice-chair role, elected to caucus leadership post

December 12, 2012 - mcvicara

Fitzgibbon reappointed to vice-chair role, elected to caucus leadership post

Earlier this week, the House Democratic Caucus announced its committee structure for the upcoming session. State Representative Joe Fitzgibbon (D-Burien) will continue to serve as vice-chair of the House Local Government Committee. The Local Government Committee considers issues relating to operations and financing of counties, cities, and certain special districts. The committee also considers matters relating to the State Environmental Policy Act, Growth Management Act, and land use issues. “Making sure we keep our strong environmental protections in place will … Continue reading

Maxwell receives committee assignments, re-elected to leadership post

December 12, 2012 - Rep. Marcie Maxwell

Maxwell receives committee assignments, re-elected to leadership post

Rep. Marcie Maxwell (D-Renton) received her committee assignments this week for the 2013 legislative session. Maxwell will serve on the coveted House Appropriations Committee where decisions on budget allocations are made. Maxwell will also serve on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education for K-12, early learning, and higher education. Stable and ample education funding is a top priority for Maxwell. She has led work since 2009 to improve the state’s basic education program which must be supported with funding. Earlier this year, the state Supreme Court ruled … Continue reading

Pettigrew receives committee assignments, retains leadership position

December 11, 2012 - toyrab

Pettigrew receives committee assignments, retains leadership position

The House Democratic Caucus has approved the committee structure for the upcoming legislative session. State Representative Eric Pettigrew (D-Seattle) has once again been appointed to several key committees. Rep. Pettigrew will serve on the Agriculture and Natural Resources, Public Safety, Rules, and Appropriations Committees. In addition to his appointment to the Appropriations Committee, Rep. Pettigrew will serve on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education. That subcommittee will be tasked with making funding recommendations for early learning, K-12, and higher education following … Continue reading

Rep. Timm Ormsby elected vice chair of House Appropriations Committee

December 11, 2012 - frizzelld

Rep. Timm Ormsby (D-Spokane) will serve as vice chair of the budget-writing House Appropriations Committee during the upcoming legislative session, which begins Jan. 14. His election to that position by his fellow majority House Democrats comes as lawmakers prepare for what is widely predicted to be the most challenging budget session in memory.  Despite continuing signs of modest improvement in Washington’s economy, legislators will open the 105-day session between a rock – a projected gap of $900 million between expected … Continue reading

Dunshee picked to lead jobs effort again

December 11, 2012 - Rep. Hans Dunshee

Will chair committee that controls state construction budget After creating 20,000 jobs statewide – including 1,700 in Snohomish County – House Democrats elected Rep. Hans Dunshee (D-Snohomish) once again to continue that effort as chair the Capital Budget Committee. “We’re not out of this downturn yet, and the way to strengthen families and communities is to focus on jobs,” Dunshee said of his role as chair of the committee that controls the state’s construction budget. “That is what I will … Continue reading

Education: Going from fully funded to fully functional

December 4, 2012 - mcvicara

In this video, Rep. Larry Seaquist shares his ideas on how to fully fund K-12 education, early learning, and higher education in Washington state.

Rep. Lytton on the radio

November 30, 2012 - frizzelld

Lawmakers look at teacher-principal evaluation progress

Boring post about Joint Education Financing Task Force

August 23, 2012 - Rep. Ross Hunter

For those who are interested the state is maintaining a website with information about the meetings the task force is holding. You can sign up at this website for notifications of meetings, perhaps the most interesting part of what is, for now, pretty empty and forlorn. http://www.leg.wa.gov/jointcommittees/EFTF/Pages/default.aspx

Rep. Lytton appointed to Joint Select Committee on Education Accountability

June 26, 2012 - frizzelld

Olympia –State Rep. Kristine Lytton (D-Anacortes, 40th district) has been appointed by Speaker of the House Frank Chopp to serve on the Washington State Joint Select Committee on Education Accountability (JSCEA).   The JSCEA is a bipartisan House-Senate panel charged with, according to the Legislature’s website, Identifying and analyzing options for a complete system of education accountability, particularly consequences in the case of persistent lack of improvement by a required action district; Identifying and analyzing appropriate decision-making responsibilities and accompanying consequences … Continue reading

Maxwell receives highest education honor

May 25, 2012 - mcvicara

Olympia – State Representative Marcie Maxwell (D-Renton) received the Washington Education Association’s highest honor last Saturday at the organization’s 2012 Representative Assembly in Spokane.   The proclamation that accompanied Maxwell’s Friend of Education award acknowledged her work as a prominent figure in addressing critical issues facing public education and for her work aimed at ensuring a better life for public school students in Washington state.   A former Renton school board director, Maxwell is a tireless advocate for improving the … Continue reading

Legislature takes aim at $9 billion textbook industry

March 5, 2012 - mcvicara

Olympia – The House of Representatives approved a measure that will provide school districts with a cheaper alternative to expensive textbooks. House Bill 2337, sponsored by Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle), is designed to fix two major problems with K-12 textbooks: they are extremely expensive and out-of-date. “This is structural, systematic reform that is meaningful for taxpayers in this state,” Carlyle said on the House floor. HB 2337 directs the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to create an open … Continue reading

Haigh saves vital funding for small high schools in House budget

February 27, 2012 - mcvicara

OLYMPIA – Earlier this week, it seemed a done-deal; high schools with less than 300 students would have their budget cuts to a point that many of them would be unable to provide students the credits needed to meet state graduation requirements. Schools with these smaller student numbers are ineligible, under the basic education funding formula, for the funding level needed to provide a full high school program. Currently, these high schools receive additional state money that makes sure they … Continue reading

Career Pathways Act, expanding career guidance in middle school and high school

February 11, 2012 - mcvicara

Rep. Carlyle gives a passionate speech on the House floor in support of HB 2592, which will expand educational opportunities for foster youth

February 10, 2012 - mcvicara

Speaker Chopp gives opening day remarks to kickoff the 2012 legislative session

January 12, 2012 - mcvicara

Speaker Chopp addresses the House Floor on issues such as job creation, education funding, and marriage equality on the opening day of the 2012 segislative session.

Rep. Hunter describes his plan to reform basic education financing in a presentation at Educational Service District 113

January 11, 2012 - mcvicara

And the winner is…

December 16, 2011 - mcvicara

And the winner is…

House Democrats applaud the news announced today that Washington state will receive $60 million in early learning grant dollars from the federal government. Check out the details on our blog.

Everett Herald: Suggestion to cut length of school year gaining grudging support

November 23, 2011 - mcvicara

The Legislature will convene for a special session on November 28 to address the looming $2 billion budget shortfall. Earlier this week, Governor Gregoire announced her 2012 supplemental budget proposal that included both spending cuts and new revenue options. One of the options being discussed is cutting the school year from 180 days to 176 days. Reducing the school year could save the state nearly $100 million. Below is an excerpt from a recent Everett Herald article that outlines the … Continue reading

Lawmakers to hold public discussion on education

October 3, 2011 - waldrefj

Lawmakers to hold public discussion on education   OLYMPIA – Members of the House Education Committee will travel to Davenport, Washington for a roundtable discussion with the public on Wednesday, October 5 at 4:30 p.m.   Amidst challenging economic realities, the legislators will continue discussing issues related to a wide-range of educational topics including dropout prevention, teacher preparation, family involvement and more.   What: This will be a roundtable discussion on education with legislators and the public. Topics will include … Continue reading

Rep. Reykdal named the American Federation of Teachers’ Legislator of the Year

May 18, 2011 - paribelloj

With (nearly) one session under his belt, freshman state representative Chris Reykdal (D – Tumwater) is already making a positive impact on both our state’s students and working families, according to the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), which named Reykdal their Washington Legislator of the Year. The Washington Chapter of the American Federation of Teachers represents 6,000 members, predominantly in the Higher Education workforce. The national organization is an umbrella group representing, preK-12 teachers; paraprofessionals and school-related personnel; higher education … Continue reading

Governor signs Probst’s PASS Act into law

May 16, 2011 - bergstromg

Reform aimed at cutting high-school dropout rate OLYMPIA — Everybody talks about fixing the high school dropout rate. Now Washington State has a new law that will use proven tactics to make sure more students graduate from high school. “After years of high school dropout rates remaining fairly unchanged, I truly believe this bill will mark the beginning of a new era for high school graduation rates all across Washington state,” said Rep. Tim Probst (D-Vancouver) after Gov. Chris Gregoire signed … Continue reading

PTA honors Rep. Maxwell with “Friend of Children” Award

May 10, 2011 - waldrefj

OLYMPIA – Education advocate Rep. Marcie Maxwell (D-Renton) was recently honored with the Washington State PTA’s “Friend of Children” Award at the 2011 Annual Convention in SeaTac. “I’m deeply honored to be recognized by such a hardworking and selfless community of parents and teachers,” Maxwell said. “I look forward to continuing strong support and creating educational opportunities for all Washington students.”  The PTA awarded both Reps. Maxwell and Dammeier in recognition of their exemplary work on behalf of children. In … Continue reading

GPS for secondary education gets governor’s autograph

May 5, 2011 - nietol

OLYMPIA – This morning, stressing that Career and Technical Education (CTE) continues to play an increasingly significant role in preparing students for work and life, Gov. Chris Gregoire signed House Bill 1710, which creates a statewide strategic plan for CTE. “Imagine you’re on a long road trip to a place where you’ve never been before and you need to get there in the shortest amount of time; chances are you’ll take a few wrong turns and you may end up … Continue reading

Bill helps close ‘opportunity gap’ for Native American students

May 5, 2011 - waldrefj

OLYMPIA – Of the 295 school districts in Washington state, 270 have Native American students enrolled in them.  Now action is being taken to ensure that these students, as well as their non-Native American peers, can benefit from the Office of Native Education at the state level. This morning, Governor Gregoire signed House Bill 1829, which puts the Office of Native Education into state statute.  The measure was sponsored by Rep. Andy Billig (D – Spokane), who serves on the … Continue reading

Probst’s PASS Act passes in last hours of session

April 25, 2011 - bergstromg

New law aimed at boosting high school graduation rates OLYMPIA — The Pay for Actual Student Success (PASS) Act passed the Senate in the last hours of the legislative session with a strong bipartisan vote of 40-6.  It is now on the governor’s desk awaiting her signature. Sponsored by Rep. Tim Probst (D-Vancouver) and a bipartisan collection of 14 other legislators, House Bill 1599 creates a statewide reform to make high school graduation rates go up. The bill is designed … Continue reading

Video: Clips from public hearing on Jinkins’ education funding bill

April 21, 2011 - waldrefj

The House Ways and Means Committee on April 21 held a public hearing on Rep. Laurie Jinkins’ HB 2078, which would repeal two tax breaks to generate $170 million for K-3 class-size reduction. Check out some key moments from the hearing: Rep. Jinkins makes her case: Rep. Timm Ormsby asks banking industry representatives how many banks would be affected by removing the tax break for mortgage interest earnings: Rep. Ross Hunter asks banking industry representatives to explain how mortgage rates … Continue reading

House sends Rep. Maxwell’s music education bill to Governor

April 20, 2011 - waldrefj

OLYMPIA – Rep. Marcie Maxwell (D-Renton) continues her efforts to support Washington students by partnering with the nonprofit community to provide an innovative solution to help fund music education. In the face of one of the most fiscally challenging times in our state’s history, budget cuts are near inevitable. That’s why Maxwell teamed up with Music Aid Northwest, a local non-profit organization, to provide a new stream of revenue to help supplement funding for music education statewide. “We must acknowledge … Continue reading

Rep. Pettigrew works to keep effective teachers in classrooms

February 16, 2011 - waldrefj

  OLYMPIA – In an effort to keep the best teachers in our schools and improve educational opportunities for our ethnically and economically diverse students, Rep. Eric Pettigrew (D-Seattle) introduced House Bill 1609. “We must do our best to fill classrooms with teachers who go above and beyond to help all Washington students succeed,” Pettigrew said. “Effective teachers improve student achievement, and right now the achievement gap shows us that the chance of graduating our young people of color is … Continue reading

Rep. Maxwell recognizes and encourages innovation in Washington schools

February 9, 2011 - waldrefj

  OLYMPIA – Education advocate Rep. Marcie Maxwell (D-Renton) continues her efforts to support innovation in Washington’s local public education systems with her House Bill 1521. “We can and do have innovative schools in Washington state,” Maxwell said while testifying on behalf of HB 1521 during Tuesday’s House Education Committee hearing. “This bill is about providing an opportunity and an important message to share and do more.” House Bill 1521 directs the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to develop … Continue reading

Lawmaker introduces measure to increase oversight and advocacy of public education system

February 8, 2011 - waldrefj

Rep. Kathy Haigh proposes establishing the Washington State Education Council   OLYMPIA – In an effort to improve the accountability, efficiency and advocacy of Washington state’s public education system, Rep. Kathy Haigh (D-Shelton) is sponsoring House Bill 1849. “As we continue to manage the fallout of the national recession, we must also find ways to continue providing our young people with a quality education,” Haigh said. “This is a way to incorporate vital input while moving forward with improving our … Continue reading

Lighthouse Schools for STEM instruction announced

February 2, 2011 - nietol

OLYMPIA — Three schools will offer guidance on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) instruction, Rep. Tina Orwall and State Superintendent Randy Dorn announced Feb. 1. The announcement was made as part of the state’s ongoing efforts to ensure that K-12 students are prepared to succeed in the 21st century economy. In 2010, Orwall sponsored, and the Legislature passed, House Bill 2621.  The law calls for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to designate up to three schools … Continue reading

Education bill to give flexibility to school districts facing budget challenges

January 27, 2011 - waldrefj

OLYMPIA — Legislation was introduced this week to help school districts that have been hit hard by budget cuts due to less state aid. During the current school year they would have the option to seek the state Superintendent of Public Instruction’s (SPI) approval of a school program with up to three fewer days (or the hourly equivalent) than the standard 180 days. Rep. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, sponsored House Bill 1607, and Sen. Phil Rockefeller, D-Kitsap County, sponsored its … Continue reading

Rep. Probst: Clear connection between education and jobs

January 11, 2011 - bergstromg

I found the attached graph revealing.  It is one more indicator of the clear connection between the economy and education.  I hope you find it interesting, as well. Our old economy relied too much on debt and consumption, and it failed.  With your help, we will build a new economy on a solid foundation.  Talent, job skills, and a strong work ethic are the keystone to a production-based, export-driven economy. Please feel free to use this graph or forward it … Continue reading

Impact of Early Learning

September 15, 2010 - Rep. Ross Hunter

The New York Times had an article this weekend on the impact of Kindergarten teachers on student success later in life. It’s worth reading for lots of reasons, but perhaps the title is good enough: “The Case for $320,000 Kindergarten teachers.”  The conclusions of the article are pretty useful: Successful early learning matters: “Students who had learned much more in kindergarten were more likely to go to college than students with otherwise similar backgrounds. Students who learned more were also … Continue reading

Education Financing Update

February 21, 2009 - Rep. Ross Hunter

For the entire 6 years I’ve been in the legislature I’ve worked on school funding. I’ve tried to improve the amount and the efficacy of use of the money. This year a bipartisan group of six legislators introduced a package of reforms coming from the Basic Education Financing Task Force report. I’ve written about it in this blog before (http://www.rosshunter.info/?cat=3) and will in the future. We’re in the middle of a tumultuous period in the evolution of the bills. Our … Continue reading

Open Letter to Teachers about HB 1410

February 15, 2009 - Rep. Ross Hunter

I’ve had a lot of questions from teachers on HB 1410 that seem to indicate some misunderstanding of our intent and I believe a misreading of the bill. 1410 is a serious attempt to address school funding inadequacies and the structural problems that have built up over 30 years since the last major revision.  The worst structural problem affecting teachers is the legislature’s inability to give raises to teachers without bankrupting school districts. This occurs due to the interaction between … Continue reading

Seat Belts in School Buses

December 13, 2008 - Rep. Ross Hunter

I reacted the same way many of you did when I heard from my son about the Bellevue High School football team bus rolling over – I was horrified. We followed the news all afternoon via phone from the Tacoma dome where he was waiting to photograph the game. (Check out his pictures at www.jackhunterphoto.com. I don’t do many commercial plugs in my newsletters or blogs, but hey, it’s my kid!) The players all had their pads on and thankfully … Continue reading

Basic Education Funding Task Force

December 13, 2008 - Rep. Ross Hunter

I’m a member of the Basic Education Financing Task Force (BEFTF,) a group appointed by the legislature and the governor to try to re-write how K-12 education is funded in Washington. This is the reason I originally ran for the legislature in 2002, and has been a very long term project for me. The current system is dysfunctional – it’s so complex that very few legislators actually understand it, increases in teacher salaries from Olympia cause huge financial problems for … Continue reading