While the news lately has been all about budget negotiations which are still ongoing, I want to share good news about some education policies that may have flown below the radar: computer science education, financial literacy, and physical restraint and isolation.
HB 1813 – Computer Science Education
The single fastest-growing sector for job opportunities in our country and our state are those in information technology and computer science fields. Right now, tens of thousands of jobs are left unfilled because of a lack of skilled workers. I was proud to co-sponsor HB 1813 which expands computer science education in our state to ensure that our students graduate with the skills they’ll need to participate in the new economy. This legislation will adopt new standards in our state for computer science learning and create endorsements and scholarship programs for teachers to encourage more computer science in the classroom. The bill has passed both the House and Senate, and now awaits the Governor’s signature. I’ve recorded a short video on the computer science education bill and included it below. Feel free to watch and share!
SB 5202 – Student Financial Literacy
Another important policy bill we passed this year concerns financial literacy among students. Financial literacy is an area that students nationwide continue to struggle with. As the Legislature, one of our major goals is to ensure that all Washington students graduate with the best opportunity for success; and this cannot be done without expanded financial education in our classrooms. Through the Financial Education Public-Private Partnership we have designated standards and strategies for improving financial education, reviewed procedures to endorse financial education curriculum, and designed assessments and outcome measures for schools. When we passed SB 5202 this year, we continued improving financial education in Washington by creating more opportunities for teachers to have the tools and training they need in the classroom and added online instructional materials and resources. Our school districts can now also receive private and federal grants through the Partnership to help certify our teachers to be certified in financial education.
HB 1240 – Physical Restraint in Schools
Stories in the media about the use of physical restraints and other measures that physically limit students with special needs or behavioral issues opened my eyes to the need for serious changes in how we develop individualized education plans. Isolation and restraint should always be a last resort, used when that behavior creates an imminent risk of harm. The legislature passed HB 1240 to end the regular use of restraint and isolation for special needs students and for all other students, unless absolutely necessary for their own safety and the safety of others. This will result in better educational and behavioral outcomes for students and removes the risk of injury and detrimental effects on a student’s mental well-being.
Local School District Gets Education Update
Lastly, to those of you who had the opportunity to attended the Mercer Island School District’s legislative update on education a few weeks ago, I’d like to say thank you for your advocacy and questions. For those who were unable to attend, or are simply interested in learning more, please click: here.
As always, thank you for the opportunity to serve the 41st legislative district. If you have any questions, comments, or would like to arrange a meeting during interim, please don’t hesitate to let me know!