Washington State House Democrats


House votes to close education opportunity gap. Again.

OLYMPIA – Not all students are the same. That point was clear today as the state House of Representatives approved a bill to close the education opportunity gap in Washington.

The opportunity gap refers to structural problems within the education system that disproportionately affect students of color and reduces their opportunities to excel academically. More than 400,000 of Washington’s one million public school students are students of color.

“One size in education does not fit all,” said Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-Seattle). “It does not work for all students. Unfortunately right now the system is designed with this ‘one size fits all’ approach. No matter what their needs, our paramount duty as a legislature is to meet students where they are.”

According to the Education Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee (EOGOAC), there’s a consistent 20-30 percent gap in student achievement between students of color and White and Asian students.

HB 1541 adopts the recommendations put forth by the EOGOAC. Those recommendations address three main areas:

  • The cultural disconnect between educators and students of color.
  • The disconnect between schools and the families of students of color.
  • The lack of quality data on student demographics that enable policymakers to make better informed decisions.

The complete committee recommendations can be found here.

This is the fifth time the House has voted to close the education opportunity gap since 2013.