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December 1, 2017 Policy Brief

Our policy brief will feature Stand’s three critical policy priorities for 2018 for the next 3 weeks before returning to regular content in the new year. Our goal is to ensure every kid in Washington graduates from high school career or college ready.

December 1: Academic Acceleration
December 8: Early Warning Systems
December 15: Early Literacy
December 22: 2017 highlights 

The Horizon: Key Dates

  • December 8: Bill prefiling period for 2018 begins
  • January 8: First day of 2018 Legislative Session

Policy Priority #1 – Academic Acceleration: every kid can advance on merit, not circumstances

  • Academic Acceleration is a policy that automatically enrolls qualified high school students into advanced coursework that allows them to earn credits toward a college degree.
  • State assessment scores indicate which students should be able to handle advanced classes (such as Advanced Placement and dual-credit) and earn credit for college while still in high school.
  • The automatic (opt-out optional) enrollment of Academic Acceleration is particularly critical because many students are more likely to miss the opportunity to take advanced coursework based on their race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and/or English proficiency, among other reasons.
  • Studies show that students who take advanced classes are more likely to graduate high school and attend college.

Key Numbers 

  • 41% - the percentage of underclassmen in the Federal Way School District signed up for advanced classes (and only 35% of students of color) as of the 2009-10 school year.
  • 67% - the percentage of students enrolled in advanced classes, including 61 percent of minority students, after academic acceleration programs were instituted in Federal Way School District.
  • 700,000 - job openings offered by Washington state by 2021. Most of those jobs will require a credential after high school, such as a degree, apprenticeship, or industry certificate. With such a credential, students can earn almost $1 million more over their lifetimes.

Social Media Chatter

@FWPS210 (Federal Way Public Schools): We’re #FWPSProud of our rising #GraduationRates. The class of 2017 brought us to the highest rates we’ve had in recent history, at 83.1 percent. http://bit.ly/2m7pMXy  #FWPSGoal5 

What We're Reading

An Education Week blog, “Four Ways to Build a Good Program for College Credit in High School” emphasizes the importance of the policies and approaches that strengthen academic acceleration programs.

The Seattle Times Editorial Board highlighted closing the achievement gap as one of the top priorities they recommend for education reform this session.

Thank you for reading our summary. Please share any questions or feedback you may have with Katie Gustainis, kgustainis@stand.org.

We look forward to hearing from you.


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