Frequently Asked Questions
Who are you?
Stand for Children is an education advocacy organization. We work to ensure that all children, regardless of their background, graduate high school prepared for, and with access to, college and career training. We do this by supporting policies that improve outcomes for students, ensuring those policies outcomes are implemented in the classroom, educating and organizing parents to speak up for the needs of their students and electing education champions who will consider every kid in Washington’s education system.
Who is a part of Stand for Children?
Stand for Children is a membership-based advocacy organization comprised of parents, educators, and community members. Our Washington chapter has a headquarters and staff based in Seattle, as well as organizers in Tacoma and Spokane. We also have a Washington State Advisory Board comprised of volunteers with backgrounds in education system activism and policy.
In 2012, a survey of our supporters showed that:
- 29% are members of a union or have a family member who is;
- 37% are current or former educators (teachers or principals);
- 66% are active in community organizations such as the PTA, NAACP or church groups;
- 38% are the parent of a child currently enrolled in K-12 school
When/why were you formed?
Our national organization was started by Jonah Edelman in 1996 with a historic founding rally in Washington, D.C., which was attended by more than 300,000 people on behalf of kids. Jonah continues a long family line of service to community. His parents, Marian Wright Edelman and Peter Edelman, have stood up for civil rights, equal opportunity, and children's well-being their whole careers. Marian Wright Edelman was the first African American woman admitted to The Mississippi Bar and founded the Children’s Defense Fund. Peter Edelman has served as an aide to Robert Kennedy and Bill Clinton.
Our Washington chapter was started in 2007 with a goal of working in coalition with others to craft a new definition of Basic Education in our state. Because of our coordinated efforts, Washington’s Basic Education now includes increased instructional hours, enhanced high school diploma requirements, a new transportation funding formula, and funding for all-day kindergarten.
What does Stand do?
Every year we develop an agenda that reflects specific policies we will support based on research available at that time, and the needs of students across the state. Sometimes, there may be national policies we will be involved in to ensure Washington’s families voices are heard and considered across the country. In 2018, our three main priorities are:
- Early Warning Systems: Identify which students need help sooner rather than later and create a plan to support their success.
- Academic Acceleration: Require every school district to automatically enroll qualified students into college-level courses based on assessment scores. Shift to an opt-out system for advanced coursework so that students who didn’t realize they were qualified, which tend to be students of color and from low-income families – can earn credits toward a college degree.
- Early Literacy: Standardize and expand learning assistance program (LAP) funding to strengthen early literacy services, measure student progress more frequently and support community-based organizations for Readiness to Learn.
Why are these specific priorities important?
One critical and motivating factor in all that we do is the fact that Washington State is ranked 41 in the country when it comes to graduating students out of high school (Department of Education). We believe our kids deserve more and that we can do better.
- Early Warning Systems because research shows that if a student is on track at the start of 9th grade then they are 4X more likely to graduate.
- Academic Acceleration because of its track record of success. When Federal Way S.D. implemented Academic Acceleration, there was a 1,400% increase in multiracial students taking rigorous classes.
- Early Literacy because research shows that students who do not read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school and in Washington, 42% of students in 3rd through 8th grade were reading below grade level in 2015. That’s 200,000 students.
How did you choose this plan?
Our policy priorities are based on research, both locally and nationally that show that an emphasis on early interventions for at-risk students and increased access to educational options are straightforward, effective means of improving academic performance for all students.
Is everyone working on the education system in Washington striving for the same things?
We believe our values align with parents across the state, with educators, with lawmakers of both parties and with teachers and administrators who want the strongest public school system in the country. We want all students to be successful, and we want talented, well-compensated teachers.
What do you see as the biggest problem with our state education system?
The biggest problems are the persistent opportunity and achievement gaps between different student groups in Washington and our lack of progress in closing them. In fact, Washington is 50th in the country in terms of how quickly we are closing the gap in reading and math outcomes between wealthier and poorer students. Similar gaps exist between racial groups. It’s these gaps that lead to Washington being 40th in country in terms of high school graduation rates.
Who is to blame for Washington’s low national ranking?
No one specific thing is to blame. But the ongoing debate about the McCleary case and the state’s 2017 funding package demonstrates the tenuous nature of our system[KG2] . At Stand, we want all students to be successful, and we want talented, well-compensated teachers. We believe our values align with parents across the state, with educators, with lawmakers of both parties and with teachers and administrators who want the strongest public school system in the country.
What can I do to help?
Thank you for asking, there are so many things that people with a lot of time or just a little bit of time, with or without kids can do
- Be an Advocate
- We work hard to keep you apprised with what is going on in Olympia and when you can get involved. Lawmakers are always interested in hearing from their constituents and we want to connect you to them on behalf of smart public education policy when the time is right. Sign up here, and you’ll get our updates and opportunities to plug in on a regular basis.
- Your donation to the Stand Leadership Center, our 501(c)3 nonprofit, helps fund our work with parents and the community at-large. Making a donation can enable us to offer programs that help parents better support their children's education. Give here.