OLYMPIA — State lawmakers approved a long list of measures today that will increase access to educational opportunities for all Washington students, from birth to career.
“We are building a strong foundation for success by preparing today’s students with the skills they will need to qualify for the jobs of tomorrow,” said Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos (D – Seattle) chair of the House Education Committee.
Paving the way for a prosperous future from the start, the House approved Rep. Ruth Kagi’s (D – Lake Forest Park) House Bill 1510 to strengthen early learning by increasing accountability, promoting parent engagement and helping teachers assess student needs. House Bill 1510 integrates a preschool-to-kindergarten transition program broadly across the state to every all-day state-funded kindergarten program by the 2012-13 school year.
“Kindergarten is a critical transition time for young children and can make a big difference in their school success. WaKIDS brings together parents, teachers and early learning providers at this important time to assess a child’s strengths and challenges,” said Kagi, chair of the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee. “It will give teachers the tools they need to help every child succeed. ”
House Bill 1443, sponsored by Rep. Marcie Maxwell (D – Renton), moves education reform forward in Washington state. It strengthens instruction and support for Washington students, helps close the opportunity gap and supports education professionals. The legislation includes recommendations from the Quality Education Council, which was created and charged with recommending solutions for implementing reforms by House Bill 2261, the major education reform bill passed during the 2009 session.
“Especially in these tough times, it is important that we look to the future for our children,” said Maxwell, Deputy Majority Leader for Education and Opportunity. “Education is our link to Washington’s thriving future.”
Rep. Kristine Lytton’s (D –Anacortes) House Bill 1808 also passed the House today, opening the door to higher education for more high school students. The measure creates a ‘Launch Year’ program, allowing students to earn a year’s worth of higher education credits while still in high school, reducing time and tuition spent in college. Community, technical and four-year institutions will also coordinate and publish qualifying class lists and credits toward a degree.
“The ‘Launch Year’ bill creates a pathway for high school seniors to their future,” Lytton said. “By encouraging high schools to offer more rigorous and relevant courses, we’re helping to maximize students’ opportunities, so they can have a productive senior year and earn post-secondary credits for their hard work.”
Additional education-related legislation approved by the House today includes:
HB 1491, aligns membership of the Early Learning Advisory Council with federal requirements for State Advisory Councils by specifying categories for four of the Governor’s seven appointed leaders in early childhood education. The adjusted alignment will allow DEL to access federal funds. (Goodman, D – Kirkland)
HB 1776, requires the director of the Department of Early Learning to establish a unified set of licensing requirements for child care centers operated in publicly owned or operated buildings, such as schools, to provide a more seamless before- and after-school experience for children. (Frockt, D – Seattle)
HB 1903, requires more thorough background checks, including fingerprint testing, for childcare providers, and streamlines the process by reducing paperwork and allowing screened workers to keep their background check for up to three years. (Orwall, D – Des Moines)
HB 1128, provides support for eligible foster youth up to age twenty-one. (Roberts, D – Lynnwood)
HB 1364, orders a departmental review of child care center subsidies. (Pettigrew, D – Seattle)
HB 1756, authorizes implementation of a non-expiring license for early learning providers. (Roberts, D -Lynwood)
HB 1599, the PASS program, creates the pay for actual student success program to provide a financial award for high schools that demonstrate improvement in certain dropout prevention indicators. (Probst, D – Vancouver)
HB 1163, creates a work group on preventing bullying, intimidation, and harassment and increasing student knowledge on mental health and youth suicide. (Liias, D – Edmonds)
HB 1849, establishes the Washington state education council to increase advocacy and efficiency in the public education system by working toward a student-focused system to provide a seamless service delivery across all sectors. (Haigh, D – Shelton)
HB 1519, makes reasonable and appropriate accommodations regarding assessments for students with cognitive disabilities. (Hope, R – Lake Stevens)
HB 1829, creates an office of Native education within the office of the superintendent of public instruction. (Billig, D – Spokane)
HB 1593, creates a residency provisional principal certification. (Carlyle, D – Seattle)
HB 1703, addresses fiscal notes for legislation that uniquely affects school districts (Dammeier, R – Puyallup)
HB 1522, expands and improves state policies for awarding college credits for skills and knowledge learned through military training, private sector training and other educational opportunities. (Kenney, D – Seattle)
HB 1909, promotes innovation at community and technology colleges. (Reykdal, D – Tumwater)
HB 1089, allows students purchasing educational materials in specialized formats, to keep them if they are valued below $100. (McCoy, D – Tulalip)
HB 1631, provides salary increment ability to academic employees at community and technical colleges. (Reykdal, D – Tumwater)
HB 1586, enables the University of Washington, and Washington State University, to develop doctoral degree programs at their branch campuses. (Seaquist, D – Gig Harbor)
HB 1650, makes permanent a program allowing students enrolled for at least three credits to still be eligible for the State Need Grant. (Hasegawa, D – Seattle)