Dear Friends: I hope that you are all well and taking good care of yourselves during the unexpected early hot weather. Thank you to all who contacted my office since the beginning of the regular session, which now seems so long ago. I also thank all of you for your positive and supportive e-mails during our three special sessions. A special thank you to everyone who made the special effort to come all the way to Olympia. It was such a … Continue reading
There’s exciting news for veterans: Gov. Jay Inslee has signed a law protecting your G.I. Bill benefits here in Washington. A glitch in federal laws meant up to 20,000 vets and their families could have lost their funding to get a college degree unless Washington state changed how we legally define “resident student.” It’s wrong that a technicality could have stopped brave men and women from using a benefit they earned through hard work and sacrifice while serving our country. I’m proud … Continue reading
“I want to congratulate my colleagues in the Legislature, and Gov. Inslee, for producing a bipartisan, compromise budget that fulfills the state’s responsibilities in so many important areas without requiring a general tax increase. “The good things that this budget does for healthcare, for foster children, for persons with mental illness – and their families – are tremendous. As a former educator, of course, I’m pleased to have been able to vote for a budget that includes the largest increase … Continue reading
OLYMPIA – The final budget agreed by the Legislature today enacts major priorities in the district pushed by Representative Steve Tharinger (D-Dungeness) including a reduced tuition rate for statewide universities and community colleges, expanded degrees in engineering and in cybersecurity at Peninsula College, and expanded computer science education statewide. “In our region, these four-year degrees will help fill open jobs in electrical engineering, computer science, and cybersecurity,” said Rep. Tharinger. “I want to thank my colleagues in the House for … Continue reading
The Senate likes to talk about its tuition plan, touting it as a “tuition cut.” But they leave out a few facts: First, the Senate tuition plan does almost nothing for the majority of Washington’s students. The majority (over 280,000, or around 60%) of Washington students attend community colleges. The Senate tuition plan does almost nothing for these students—zero cut in the first year of the biennium and a 1.8% cut (about $60) in the second year. It’s not difficult … Continue reading
Dear Friends, I hope that you are all well. Thank you to all who contacted my office since the beginning of session, and to everyone who made the effort to come all the way to Olympia. It was such a pleasure to see you! I apologize to the many of you who were unable to meet with me in person due to my heavy schedule. I do hope that should you travel down next year, we have a chance to talk, … Continue reading
OLYMPIA – House Democrats unveiled their 2015-17 operating budget plan on Friday – a budget that will add $3.2 billion in additional K-12 investments over the next two years compared to the 2013-15 budget. The HDC proposal is the first budget proposal on the table that puts the state in full compliance with the Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling, which mandates the state adequately fund basic education by 2018. “After seven years of cuts totaling more than $12 billion, we have … Continue reading
I am proud to be a Husky with a B.S. in Microbiology (1980) and an MBA in Operations Management (1983). My husband and all three of our children are also Huskies, as are all of my brothers. I wish all UW students a wonderful Spring Break and a great Spring Quarter!
OLYMPIA – Today a bill to expand computer science education in Washington passed out of the House of Representatives with an overwhelming majority vote. The bipartisan measure sponsored by Reps. Drew Hansen, D-Bainbridge Island, and Chad Magendanz, R-Issaquah, will help prepare students for jobs in the high-tech industry. “We have 20,000 open computing jobs in the state right now and yet our state produces only 1,200 computer science graduates each year. Who is going to fill those jobs?” said Hansen … Continue reading
OLYMPIA — The state House Thursday gave a unanimous thumbs-up to Rep. Carol Gregory’s bill that would make it easier for children of military personnel who are killed, go missing, or become disabled, to attend college in Washington. Gregory’s HB 1644 revamps current state law to align with a related federal statute, allowing students up to 31 years old to take advantage of a state tuition waiver while receiving a monthly stipend from the federal government. “These are young people … Continue reading
Watch Rep. Tina Orwall (D-Des Moines) respond to constituent emails on Breakfast After the Bell (House Bill 1295), and on investments in higher education: not increasing tuition and supporting State Need Grants, as well as other programs to help students.
Gregory bill expands higher-ed for dependents of military personnel killed or disabled in action, MIA, POWsFebruary 17, 2015 - Washington House Democrats
It’s not the first bill sponsored by freshman state Rep. Carol Gregory, but for the children of military personnel who are killed, go missing, or are totally disabled in service to the country, it could be the most important. The House Higher Education Committee has given a unanimous thumbs-up to Gregory’s HB 1644, which adds hundreds, and possibly thousands, to the rolls of those who will qualify for state tuition waivers at Washington colleges and universities. “This is the kind … Continue reading
OLYMPIA – Late last week, the House Committee on Higher Education voted unanimously to move State Rep. Eric Pettigrew’s, House Bill 1704 out of committee. The bill will allow the Dept. of Corrections (DOC) to provide higher education to those who qualify within existing budgetary resources. “The average age of a prisoner in Washington state is 37 years old. That’s pretty young. And upon their release, many return home to my district,” said Pettigrew. “If we don’t allow these men … Continue reading
“Washington families deserve a higher education system that provides each and every student the opportunity to achieve their fullest potential without breaking the bank to do so. That is why I have championed legislation for the past three years to move the State to a goal that tuition should not exceed ten percent of the average family’s income in order for the opportunity of higher education to be affordable to every Washingtonian. I am happy to see that Senate Republicans … Continue reading
OLYMPIA—After receiving broad bipartisan support with 65 co-sponsors in the House and 17 co-sponsors in the Senate, legislation paving the way for a Washington State University medical school has passed its first major hurdle in the state House and Senate. House Bill 1559 and Senate Bill 5487 were voted out of House and Senate higher education committees Tuesday. “I am pleased but not at all surprised by the strong show of support from the Senate Higher Education committee today,” said … Continue reading
Rep. Goodman believes college should be affordable, and that parents should be able to plan for the cost of their children’s college. That’s why today, he dropped a bill called “Tuition Lock”. If the bill passes, students who finish college on time will pay the same tuition all four years.
Watch Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self respond to constituent emails on fully funding education, class size, teacher salaries and the rising cost of higher education.
Thank you, Pat, for those kind words. You are a tremendous leader and a great friend. To get started, please join me in welcoming all the new members to the People’s House. I look forward to working with each of you. We all have loved ones back home, making it possible for us to serve. Without my wife Nancy’s love and advice, I wouldn’t be here. And I am very grateful for the support of my son and daughter. So … Continue reading
Originally published in the Everett Herald, January 7, 2015. The U.S. student loan debt is almost $1.3 trillion. That’s trillion with a “T”! Students and families from Washington state own at least $18.3 billion of that debt, with $1.4 billion in additional borrowing last year alone. Graduates are facing the toughest job market in decades and they are doing it with unprecedented student loan debt. Over 771,000 Washingtonians now hold student loans. It’s time we address this bubble before it … Continue reading
Today, Rep. Pettigrew gave the keynote at Eastern Washington University‘s Get Connected Event. The conference puts underrepresented high school students on college campuses, examining career options and talking with other students in similar situations. Several hundred teens came out on their lunch to hear Rep. Pettigrew’s inspiring advice! Sharing his story with them, Rep. Pettigrew discussed six ideas that transformed his life – taking him from academic struggles and adversity to a local and state business and community leader.
Spokane lawmakers Michael Baumgartner and Marcus Riccelli announced their bipartisan support Tuesday for a new Washington State University medical school in Spokane, and said they will introduce legislation next year to make it a reality. Sen. Baumgartner, R-Spokane, and Rep. Riccelli, D-Spokane, said the WSU proposal offers an innovative way to extend medical education to underserved areas of the state and alleviate a growing shortage of doctors in Eastern and rural Western Washington. “I’m excited about WSU’s plan to establish an independent … Continue reading
On the one hand, you’ve got your “English Only” crowd. On the other, you’ve got most everyone else in the developed world, who realize that the ability to converse on at least a rudimentary level in more than one language is a pretty useful thing. And now, one of the fastest-growing courses of study on college campuses throughout the U.S. is Spanish for Heritage Learners. That’s exactly what it sounds like: advanced studies in Spanish for students who grew up in … Continue reading
Yes it is! And not just for Germans. All German universities are now free to Americans and all other international students. Just this week the last German state to charge tuition eradicated those fees. Countries like Norway, Sweden, Argentina, France, Greece and Finland are among several nations that offer free higher education to their students. German colleges had been tuition free up until 2006 when their supreme court ruled tuition could be charged. But that decision triggered a huge crush … Continue reading
Talk about “bursting at the seams.” So far this fall, record numbers of high-school students all over Washington are enrolling in college-level courses. The College Board also reports that students have been flocking to take the 2014 SAT, PSAT and AP college-entrance examinations. Further, ethnic subgroups across-the-board are contributing to this test-taking boom. Results from those student-performance tests are a bit of a mixed bag. While SAT and PSAT scores dropped slightly, AP scores of at least “3” increased … Continue reading
This year, lawmakers passed the DREAM Act, to give hard-working students a fair shot at earning their college degree. It’s now the law. So this fall, the first Dreamers helped by this reform are getting financial aid and moving into dorms at UW, Western and other universities in Washington state. Here’s a great story by Kyle Stokes at KPLU taking a long look at what this really means to students like Carlos Escutia, his family and the state of Washington. … Continue reading
Community Colleges in Washington are bringing in new federal dollars – to the tune of more than $12 million – to strengthen and expand workforce training programs in the state. The majority of that money, $10 million, was won by an alliance of different community and technical colleges to fund the Washington Integrated Sector Employment program. The new endeavor will cross-train individuals in several emerging industries in the Pacific Northwest: advanced manufacturing, clean technology and construction. It will be offered … Continue reading
The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is reporting that Washington’s Class of 2014 have the right to brag about their American College Test scores (ACT). Our state’s average composite score is 23, which is the nation’s seventh highest. Four content areas make up the composite score: English, reading, math and science. Scores are scaled from 1 (lowest) to 36 (highest). Washington students have scored above the national average on the ACT for over a decade. And participation … Continue reading
“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
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
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
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
April 30, 2014 Statement from representatives of the Washington Legislature’s Members of Color Caucus in support of Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard’s call for increased diversity on campus: “Our state’s higher education system is responsible for educating students to face the challenges of our ever-changing global society. A diverse, inclusive student body helps prepare our future leaders to be productive public citizens in the real world – one comprised of people with different national, racial, religious, and cultural backgrounds. … Continue reading
While student debt is on the rise, locally and nationally, there is a little good news for the residents of Washington state – we have less debt than many other states. A report released by the Institute for College Access and Success analyzed the data on loans from 2012 and showed our state is doing comparatively well when it comes to combating the rising issue of debt among college graduates. A new infographic assembled by Wonkblog shows how we stack … Continue reading
Coalition of groups, Rep. Gerry Pollet praise WWU president’s call for increasing diversity at public higher education institutionsApril 28, 2014 - Rep. Gerry Pollet
A coalition of multicultural-awareness groups and state Rep. Gerry Pollet, vice-chair of the House Higher Education Committee, today offered praise for Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard’s recent call to diversify his school’s student-population. Pollet and the organizations are urging a public show of unity against the “disgusting intolerance of those displaying or supporting messages on a public campus such as ‘diversity = white genocide.’” Pollet said the broad coalition of organizations that work to increase access and equity through … Continue reading
The dream of a college education is now a step closer to reality for many students in Washington state. Before this year, students who’d grown up and graduated from state high schools, but didn’t have documentation, could apply and be accepted to state universities, and pay in-state tuition – but they couldn’t apply for state financial aid. With the passage of the Dream Act, now they can. “When we work together, when we dream together, we can do great things … Continue reading
While the new state budget holds the line against any tuition increase, it is worth looking at the cost of a college degree. Does it pencil out? Do you make more money, or do all the student loans outweigh the benefits? Slate.com has a great story about a national site that actually ran the numbers. For the vast majority of students, there’s good news: even if you borrow every dime of tuition, books, room and board, you should come out … Continue reading
In 2010, the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board found that seventeen percent of Washington businesses had difficulty filling vacancies. Eleven thousand employers reported there simply were not enough qualified job applicants for positions that require degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering & math) fields. To address the problem, the Legislature passed House Bill 2088 in 2011, creating the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship Program. This is a public-private partnership to help low- and middle-income Washington residents earn bachelor’s degrees and … Continue reading
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
Colleges would be connected more directly with high-achieving, low-income high schoolers to boost their admission rates under a bill by Rep. Drew Hansen that won approval from a state Senate committee today – the third Hansen higher-education measure to make that grade this week. “We believe, as a state and a nation, that every child should have the opportunity to succeed,” Hansen said. “Nothing is more critical to that opportunity and that success in the 21st century than a college … Continue reading
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
State Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self (D-Mukilteo) released the following statement on Governor Jay Inslee signing the DREAM Act into law this afternoon: “Washington has taken important steps over the past decade to grow our own well-trained, well-educated workforce and satisfy the demands of the business community. The DREAM Act is another strategic move in this endeavor toward prosperity. “The enactment of the DREAM Act does not make promises or guarantees, and it certainly does not grant anybody special rights or opportunities. … Continue reading
Sometimes, valentines come swathed in creative — and certainly unexpected — wrappings. Case in point: The Washington Student Association (WSA) on the recent Valentine’s Day here in the capital honored two state lawmakers with “Legislator of the Year” awards. In conjunction with the annual WSA rally, the recognition was presented to the two 2014 award-winners, Rep. Gerry Pollet and Rep. Marcus Riccelli The Washington Student Association represents 150,000 college and university students on campuses all across the state. Garrett Havens, … Continue reading
Fair’s fair. All Washington residents willing to work for a good education should have a fair and equal opportunity to earn it — regardless of their income, race, ethnicity, or where they live. Legislation (House Bill 2626) passed, 87-10, by the state House of Representatives is aimed at emphasizing that principle in official Washington policy. State Rep. Gerry Pollet is a co-sponsor for the measure. He’s also the vice chair of the House Higher Education Committee in which the bill … Continue reading
Most Americans see college education as the key to financial success, independence, and economic mobility. But, as the Great Recession deepened, legislatures around the country dipped into their higher education funds to plug gaping holes in their budgets… and Washington was no different. Reappropriation of these funds caused the cost of higher education to soar in Washington. In the ’06-’07 academic year, tuition at the two big public universities was a touch under $6000 per year. In ’13-’14, tuition at … Continue reading
DREAM Act moves to the Governor’s office Last night, the House voted to send the DREAM Act to the Governor’s desk in a truly bipartisan fashion. The bill makes a small change in public policy – opening up financial aid opportunities to all high school students in Washington – but it will have a huge impact on thousands of students. A constituent wrote a kind letter thanking me for supporting the DREAM Act, and his words are a powerful … Continue reading
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
I’m so proud of our state tonight. In a truly bipartisan fashion, the House voted to send the DREAM Act to Governor’s desk. The bill makes a small change in public policy, but it will have a huge impact on thousands of students across Washington. Expanding access to higher education is one of my top priorities and the DREAM Act gets us one step closer to that goal. It just goes to show, when we work together, we can do … Continue reading
Appleton’s bill giving veterans, military members and their families resident-tuition rates passes HouseFebruary 12, 2014 - Washington House Democrats
Members of the military are among the most mobile members of American society, moving where they’re needed, when they’re needed. One side effect of this government-directed nomadic lifestyle is that it can be difficult, if not impossible, for service members and their families to stay in one state long enough to qualify for the reduced college and university tuition rates granted to “residents.” That’s likely to change in Washington, thanks to legislation sponsored by state Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-Poulsbo), whose … Continue reading
We live in the Information Age, as a Google search will confirm, and a couple of bills that sailed through the House Higher Education Committee Feb. 5 deal with information from and about colleges and universities. Both of the measures, sponsored by Rep. Drew Hansen of Kitsap County, aim to better inform students and parents about the schools, and help them make good choices among them. House Bill 2694 actually relies on pre-Information Age technology: snail mail. It calls for … Continue reading
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
Yesterday afternoon, the state House of Representatives unanimously approved Rep. Brady Walkinshaw’s (D-Seattle) legislation to grant community colleges the ability to award honorary baccalaureate degrees. The bill was Walkinshaw’s first to clear the House of Representatives. “Honorary degrees play an important role – honoring those who have made a significant contribution to their communities,” said Walkinshaw. “Currently only four-year universities can grant these degrees. It only makes sense to extend this ability to our community and technical colleges.” When community … Continue reading
Like many other schools around the country, Washington’s colleges and universities are working to cut student-driving to, from, and around campus. Innovative transportation programs advanced in many Washington higher-education institutions are celebrated in a new report from the WashPIRG Foundation. The colleges’ driving-decrease tactics hailed in the foundation’s report are aimed at turning more personal-vehicle drivers into commuter-vehicle passengers. This new WashPIRG report praises strategies that work toward: Emphasizing the fact that we need a wider range of transportation options. … Continue reading
The US imprisons over 2.4 million people. According to a Pew study published in 2011, between 1973 and 2009, the nation’s prison population grew by 705%. We now imprison more people than any other country in the world – more than China or Russia.And locking all these people up doesn’t come cheap. We spend over $52 billion annually on prisons – that’s more than the annual GDPs of Jamaica and Nicaragua combined.If we are spending so much money that means … Continue reading
Although K-12 education gets most of the media attention, our state’s higher education and early learning systems are also vitally important to the success of our kids — and, ultimately, of our state. I am holding a Community Conversation tomorrow to hear what you think the legislature should be doing around these important issues. Please join me this Saturday, February 1. I will be in the Glacier Room at Green River Community College from 10:30 a.m. until noon. The address … Continue reading
“I’m happy the Senate has promised to allow a vote on the Dream Act. Education is a stepping stone towards achieving the American Dream. “Passing the Dream Act is the right thing to do for our young people, for our state, and for our economy. “It would be wrong to pit these good students against our brave veterans. So I applaud the Senate for passing both measures and not creating a false choice between kids and soldiers. “We are in … Continue reading
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
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
Watch Rep. Tina Orwall talking with Cristina Martinez Montano, a senior at Kent Meridian, about how the Washington DREAM Act could change her life.
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
Note: Moses Chege came to the state capitol on the first day of session in support of House Bill 1817, the DREAM Act, by Rep. Zack Hudgins (D-Tukwila). In his opening day speech, Speaker Frank Chopp (D-Seattle) introduced the story of Moses and fellow Dreamers. “In the fall of 2001, my family and I emigrated from Kenya to the United States, on my father’s student visa. Later on, my mother was able to secure a green card but unfortunately, due … Continue reading
Spokesman-Review Dream Act clears Washington House on first day House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, used part of his welcoming speech to recognize immigrant students in the gallery and talk about his ancestors who immigrated from Croatia. “This is not only personal to me, it is fundamental to our state and nation,” he said. “Life is short and so is the session. Let’s get to work.” Yakima Herald-Republic Dream Act clears state House “Nobody can remember a bill leaving the chamber on the first … Continue reading
The Washington House wasted no time getting down to business today: the gavel dropped at noon, and before 1:00 pm, the Washington Dream Act was once again on its way to the Senate! Passing legislation on the first day of session is virtually unheard of; in fact, nobody we could find today can ever remember it happening before. In his opening day remarks, Speaker Frank Chopp told the story of a 17-year-old student named America Yorita-Carrion from Davis High School … Continue reading
Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos speaking in favor of HB 1817, The DREAM Act.
Click here for the story in The Seattle Times. Also, here’s an audio clip of Rep. Zack Hudgins talking about the Dream Act.
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
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
It’s not news that tuition at Washington’s public colleges and universities has been rising at a dizzying rate for years. This is the first time since 1986, in fact, that in-state rates have not increased. What might be news is that all those years of tuition hikes have given Washington the dubious distinction of being the 10th most expensive state for higher education. Most of the increases in the last three decades were relatively small and steady, essentially reflecting minor … Continue reading
Recently a number of people have written to me about the “Pay it Forward” concept for funding higher education in Washington. The basic idea as described on the Economic Opportunity Institute website: (www.eoionline.org) Pay It Forward: A Debt-Free Degree Students attend college with no upfront tuition or fees. Instead, students contribute a small, fixed-percentage of their income for a predetermined number of years. Contributions are placed in a public higher education trust fund that funds education for the next generation of students, giving … Continue reading
I’m in Olympia today at the behest of Governor Inslee. He called us in to, in his words: “I am asking lawmakers to pass a package of legislation that will guarantee that the Boeing 777X and its carbon fiber wing are built in Washington state,” Inslee said at a press conference today where he was joined by a bipartisan group of legislators, Boeing’s Ray Conner, chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. In addition, Machinist union officials Tom Wroblewski, president, … Continue reading
College tuition prices will no doubt be a hot topic for the 2014 session. Just in the last five years, the cost of attending a public college or university in Washington has nearly doubled. So what’s with the increase? Is it more expensive to run a school these days? Not really. In fact, just like all other government agencies during the recession, higher education institutions have found ways to become leaner and more efficient.
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 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
Perhaps just as you were thinking it unsafe to read anything about tuition price tags for colleges and universities: Along now comes excellent news for higher-education students — and especially for the folks who pay the bill for same.Unit-prices for the state’s Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program, contrary to predictions (Washington prepaid tuition cost likely going up again), will stay at $172 apiece this year. Overall, GET’s financial health is on the upswing, according to State Actuary Matt Smith‘s recent … Continue reading
It’s a rite of autumn – maybe not as deeply ingrained in the culture as the trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond that accompanies the freshman dorm move-in, but a much-commented-on phenomenon nonetheless: It’s the annual release of U.S. News’ rankings of American colleges and universities, pored over by parents, alumni, prospective students and school administrators. The University of Washington ranks No. 52 and Washington State University No. 128 on this year’s list of “National Universities,” both public and private. … Continue reading
The Washington Student Association (WSA) has honored state Rep. Gerry Pollet with its “Legislator of the Year Award” for 2013. Pollet was hailed for his work toward lifting Washington out of its dismal national ranking in college and university funding, and for strengthening the voice of students in the legislative process. WSA is comprised of representatives from 11 Washington college and university campuses. More than 120,000 students pursuing a degree at the associate, baccalaureate, graduate, or professional level are served … Continue reading
Our 36th district’s Seattle Central Community College Maritime Academy acquired a former Navy vessel, a great opportunity to expand the school’s training program for merchant mariners and help us secure the workforce for Seattle’s working waterfront. From the Seattle Times: The ship called Vigorous began its career as a Navy vessel at the end of the Cold War, working the North Atlantic Ocean and listening for signs of enemy submarines. Later, it was re-christened the Bold and retrofitted for marine … Continue reading
The Washington Student Association (WSA), which represents students from Washington State’s public colleges and universities, has named Representative Marcus Riccelli as one of two “Legislators of the Year” for 2013. The award is offered to legislators who “exemplify student advocacy in Washington State,” and is the highest distinction given by the WSA each year. Student leaders noted in the announcement that even in an all-around banner year for public higher education – with no tuition increases for the first time … Continue reading
Nowadays many college students are juggling two or three jobs to pay for school, on top of student loans. The Great Recession has led to deep cuts in higher ed, sending tuition prices into the stratosphere and knocking many students off the ladder of opportunity. The result? An even wider divide between the Charlie Bucket’s and the Mr. Burns’ of the world. Legislators in Olympia are exploring solutions to this growing problem. One proposal that’s gained traction in Oregon is … Continue reading
Rep. Reykdal will apply his interest and experience in higher education and career development via participation in two state policy committees, as announced this week by House Speaker Frank Chopp. Reykdal was reappointed to the Legislative Advisory Committee to the Committee on Advanced Tuition Payment, which provides input on the popular GET program. GET allows parents to purchase tuition credits for the future use of their children. Reykdal also was named an alternate member of the Legislative Task Force on … Continue reading
In the past few years the recession brought huge cuts to our higher education system Recently, to attend a public university in Washington a family contributed about 30% of a student’s cost and the state 70%. Over the past 5 years this percentage has flip-flopped. So, it was quite an accomplishment to come out of this legislative session with no tuition increases for public universities. How did they do it?
Yesterday, at the University of Washington, Rep. Eric Pettigrew, D-Seattle, along with UW Regent Herb Simon and UW Alumni President-Elect Mike Egan spoke at a conference for Public Higher Education Legislative Advocacy Professionals. The panel was on effective higher ed legislative advocacy. The attendees were government affairs representatives from universities all over the country: Illinois, South Dakota, California, Florida, and many more states. Rep. Pettigrew, in his OSU orange and black gave a shout-out to all the Beavers in the room. … Continue reading
“Call it a decent first step both toward meeting our children’s constitutional right to lower class sizes — and toward improving funding for schools, in general,” observed state Rep. Gerry Pollet. “The new budget adds $1 billion in education funding, and it assures health care for an additional 300,000 Washington people who would otherwise go without it. “And you bet, I’m very happy that the new budget is the first in five years to hold the line against tuition hikes. … Continue reading
When you hear the words “education reform,” you picture elementary and high schools, not colleges and universities. Yet innovation happens in higher education, too. Our medium-sized square state on the West coast is a national leader, with 20 other states looking to copy our program (I-BEST – Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training) to make sure college students are ready to learn and succeed. The traditional approach to making sure every student is ready for their college coursework is this: … Continue reading
It’s not every legislator who can deliver the keynote address for a college graduation and also perform on the piano at the commencement. But Rep. Cyrus Habib is no ordinary legislator, and he demonstrated that at Benaroya Hall in Seattle May 18 when he discharged those dual duties at the second annual graduation ceremony of Western Governors University – Washington. More than 500 graduates received degrees, nearly twice the number in the Class of 2012. Visit the school’s Facebook page … Continue reading
State Rep. Gerry Pollet has worked diligently — both to help citizens fund pursuit of appropriate graduate degrees for public-service careers, and to help improve the way Washington appropriates funding for public colleges and universities. And for his labors, the University of Washington Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) just recently named Pollet the recipient of the organization’s “2013 Legislator of the Year” award. Pollet received the award in a UW GPSS ceremony last night, May 22. “I’m very honored … Continue reading
Governor Inslee has signed legislation that will allow Washington’s four year public colleges and universities to establish student advisory committees. The student advisory committees were a top priority for both Representative Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane) and the Washington Student Association this legislative session. The committees will provide students with an avenue to discuss tuition and other important issues with university administrators.
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
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
As we bounce back from the worst recession since the Great Depression, it’s encouraging to see people getting back to work in Seattle. However, we’re not out of the woods yet, especially compared with the rest of the nation, as this post from a Seattle Times blog illustrates. Seattle’s skyline is growing, cranes are nesting, and the jobs situation here is much better than in the rest of the state. But by one widely watched barometer, the metropolitan area is … Continue reading
Three pieces of legislation that Representative Roger Freeman has worked in support of this session have been approved by the House of Representatives “I am passionate about these bills, and I believe they will have a strong, positive impact on our community. It is an honor to have been able to work with my colleagues to guide them through the legislative process,” said Freeman. HB 1552 helps crack down on metal theft, which is increasingly a problem in Federal Way … Continue reading
Rep. Gerry Pollet: Statements on providing funding to reduce tuition and increase support for higher-education in response to Senate Republican bill announcementMarch 20, 2013 - Rep. Gerry Pollet
“The House Higher Education Committee, acting in a bipartisan manner, adopted House Bill 1624, which would commit our state to increasing our investment in higher education and set a long-term goal for affordable tuition and access to our state universities. The goal for affordable tuition should be for tuition to not cost more than 10 percent of median household income in Washington. Just five years ago, tuition at the University of Washington was 10 percent of median household income – … Continue reading
Higher Ed Chat with Rep. Larry Seaquist
McCoy’s measures salute veterans and military families: Armed-forces training, experience recognized in legislation sent over to SenateMarch 14, 2013 - Washington House Democrats
OLYMPIA — Here’s a definitive “no-brainer” we can all recognize: Men and women who have come out of the Armed Forces honorably should certainly receive respect and recognition for their service when they are pursuing a college education or professional licensing. The House of Representatives has passed House Bill 1858 and House Bill 1859, sponsored by state Rep. John McCoy, to write this recognition into state policy. “Colleges and universities should have a policy in place by December 31, 2014, to … Continue reading
I’d like to invite you to a Live Chat session I’ll be hosting on Monday, March 18 from noon to 1 p.m. The focus of this chat session will be higher education, so I’d like to have a dialogue with students, parents, faculty, administrators, and anyone else with an interest in higher education issues. During the live chat session, I’ll provide updates on what’s going on with higher ed in the Legislature, especially now as we begin the next phase … Continue reading
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
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.”
Greetings from Olympia! Last week was our second major cut-off – bills had to get through their committees by last Friday (unless they are considered “necessary to implement the budget”) to stay in play. This next week is a flurry of activity on the House floor as we rush to get bills passed off the floor and on to the Senate before our next cutoff – March 13th. This week I want to get you up to speed on the … Continue reading
As our state faces a challenging budget this session, with a $2 billion shortfall and additional $1 billion commitment to fund basic education due to the McCleary decision, we must also remember that our state funding for higher education has been slashed in half. While public funding for universities used to be as high as 75% in the ‘80s, with tuition covering the remaining 25%, we have now almost fully reversed that trend, with students paying 70% and state funding … Continue reading
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.
Dear Friends and Neighbors, We appreciate all of you who have come down to Olympia. It helps me keep in touch with how things look to all of you at home as we grapple with hard choices: fully funding K-12 education; creating a transportation system that sustains a clean economy; finding dedicated state funding for affordable and accessible higher education opportunities; and restoring and protecting critical services for mentally ill, developmentally disabled, and our poorest citizens. On Presidents’ Day, many … Continue reading
OLYMPIA – Rep. Gerry Pollet is no stranger to elections issues. As a case in point, one needn’t look any further than his work “to get more citizens hooked on voting.” His advocacy for elections-measures is exemplified by Pollet’s continuing a mission he took on last year, namely supporting the placement of ballot-dropboxes on college and university campuses.
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. Marcus Riccelli (D – Spokane), passed his first piece of legislation in the state House of Representatives today. Riccelli is the 3rd Legislative District’s newest House member. His bill, HB 1331, authorizes the formation of student advisory committees at the state’s public four-year colleges and universities. These advisory committees would provide students a voice within the school administration on issues affecting their educational access and success, like the setting of tuition and fee levels. Rep. Riccelli released the following … Continue reading
Representative Tarleton gave her first floor speech as a member of the House in support of HB 1043, a key piece of legislation needed to save the Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program. Under higher education reforms enacted in 2011, the Legislature gave colleges and universities the authority to charge different tuition rates for different areas of study. Unfortunately, this would make it impossible for the GET program to accurately project future costs of tuition – a negative side effect no … Continue reading
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
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
This is a critical week regarding the future of the GUARANTEED EDUCATION TUITION (GET) program and higher education in general. The GET program faces some fiscal challenges ahead. But rather than addressing these challenges to strengthen the program, some lawmakers are pushing to end GET. That’s a mistake. Maintaining a higher education system that’s affordable and accessible to students is critical to building a strong middle class. GET is a key piece of keeping post-secondary opportunities affordable for middle class … Continue reading
Today was “Potato Day.” The Potato Farmers of Washington hand out baked potatoes larded with condiments. The line stretches down the stairs of the rotunda and almost out the door. I passed on this opportunity and had a sandwich in my office. I’ll stand in line for the BBQ beef sandwich on “beef day” but not a baked potato, despite how tasty they are. Tomorrow (2/13/13) is “Gun Day,” with several bills being heard in the Judiciary committee at 8:00 … Continue reading
Gerry’s work to restore affordable access to the opportunities of higher education is highlighted in a UW Daily editorial: “UW students find an ally in Rep. Gerry Pollet.” Click here to read.
Dear Neighbor, We’re about one month into this year’s legislative session and my focus is simple: good jobs and a strong economy. The key to good jobs and a strong economy is a quality public education system that is accessible to all. Recently, I spent some time visiting Green River Community College meeting with faculty, staff and students. One of the students I met was the student body president, Ty Somerville. Turns out that Ty is one of our state’s … Continue reading
State Rep. Gael Tarleton (D-Ballard) introduced legislation this week that would create a Tuition Support Fund within the state’s Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program. House Bill 1725 aims to protect students from being priced out of a college education before they graduate. “We all have a common stake in ensuring our students succeed,” said Tarleton. “By creating a tuition safety net, students can enter college without having to fear a 40 percent tuition increase by the time they graduate.”
Dear neighbors, This is the fourth week of session and things are happening very quickly. As you know, our focus is on balancing the budget as well as fully funding education, as required by the courts. I hope you find my e-newsletters informative, I will try to keep you frequently updated.
Friends and neighbors, Today begins the fourth week in Olympia as your legislator from the 36th District! First there was the swearing-in ceremony on January 14th. Then we went right to work in our committees. I’m serving on Higher Education, Rules, Transportation, and Technology and Economic Development. Last week I took my first votes to move bills out of committees. The schedule is demanding… and it needs to be. We’re trying to fulfill our constitutional duty to amply provide for … Continue reading
A new report from the state actuary illustrates how the state’s Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program, which currently has a projected $631 million unfunded liability, can move quickly from red to black. The report, and subsequent testimony from State Treasurer Jim McIntire and State Actuary Matt Smith, illustrates how holding the line on tuition increases for the next two years and increasing state support for instructional costs will quickly lead to a healthy GET reserve. Rep. Larry Seaquist, (D-Gig Harbor), … Continue reading
The second week of the 2013 legislative session began on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, and legislators honored the slain civil rights leader with a resolution on the House floor. While his birthday is celebrated each year as a federal holiday, Dr. King’s message of equality for all is relevant every day of the year. As he once famously said, “No one is free, until everyone is free.” Representative Roger Freeman gave a moving speech, which I encourage you to … Continue reading
The Ballard News Tribune recently spoke with the newest lawmaker from the 36th Legislative District – Rep. Gael Tarleton. In the interview, Rep. Tarleton discusses her goals of making college more affordable for students, the need for a new transportation package, and moving our state away from fossil fuels. Here’s a brief snippet of the conversation. Incoming Freshman Rep. Gael Tarleton’s first official week in the 2013 legislative session was intense, but nothing new. After all, she’s had plenty of … Continue reading
Keeping up with the latest advances in one’s field simply makes excellent common sense, especially in fields packing a potentially huge impact on public health, safety and peace of mind. State Rep. Derek Stanford maintains that licensed engineers should continue learning just like other professionals who are licensed by the state, such as architects and land surveyors. “Continuing professional development is a basic and very important requirement for many professions,” Stanford emphasized.
Lowering the costs of a college education and easing the burden of student debt are two top legislative priorities for Representative Larry Seaquist (D-Gig Harbor), chair of the House Higher Education Committee. Rep. Seaquist wants to hear from students who are struggling with student debt. Students can submit their videos or photos in several ways: Videos – Post a video with your story on Rep. Seaquist’s Facebook page, send him a link via Twitter, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. … Continue reading
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.
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
State Representative Chris Reykdal (D-Tumwater) received his committee assignments for his sophomore term in the House of Representatives when the House Democratic Caucus released their committee structure this morning. Rep. Reykdal, a longtime proponent of tax fairness, will serve on the newly-created Finance Committee. The House Finance Committee will be charged with considering issues of state and local revenues, including tax increases, decreases and exemptions. “The creation of a finance committee in the House is a signal of our caucus’ … Continue reading
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.
Olympia – Responding to years of concern by the Washington business community, the House passed a bill that would completely overhaul the management of the state’s higher education system of six public universities and 34 community and technical colleges. House Bill 2483 creates a ten-member “Student Achievement Council” that will design and implement a ten-year roadmap for the state’s higher education system. Five governor-appointed citizen members, including one student member, will serve on the Council along with members from the … Continue reading
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.
In this edition of the Washington White Board, Larry discusses the important connection between higher education and unemployment. Investing in education is critical to getting our economy moving forward.
Rep. Hansen’s floor speech on SHB 2503 giving veterans and National Guard members early course registration so they can train for new careersFebruary 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 youthFebruary 10, 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.
OLYMPIA – A package of bills signed into law today will help the state and its higher education system to continue providing quality education under ongoing state budget cuts. Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, is the prime sponsor of House Bill 1795, which will allow public four-year institutions to set tuition rates to meet local demand, while also increasing financial aid for low and middle-income students. Performance measures and reporting requirements will allow lawmakers and the public to monitor how tuition … Continue reading
OLYMPIA – The Legislature has passed a comprehensive higher education bill focused on keeping quality and access high, while also addressing reduced support from the state due to ongoing budget cuts. Under House Bill 1795, significant increases in financial aid are made for low and middle-income students as four-year institutions are given the authority to set tuition at levels that meet local needs. The Higher Education Opportunity Act passed the House on Monday with a 79 to 17 vote, and … Continue reading