October 13, 2017 Policy Brief

Our policy brief will follow a bi-weekly schedule until the 2018 Legislative Session when we will return to our weekly schedule.

The Horizon: Key Dates

  • October 20: Ballots mailed for Nov. 7 Election
  • October 24: Oral Argument in McCleary Court Case
  • November 7: Election Day
  • January 8: First day of 2018 Legislative Session


Following the 2017 Legislative Session, Stand for Children Washington policy staff conducted a research project on best practices to support student success that would be in alignment with the investment priorities identified by the adopted budget. While that work is still ongoing, the following are three policy areas that merit consideration:

  • College and Career Readiness: In order to improve graduation rates and to support every kid, we are looking into policies such as:
    • Academic Acceleration programs (like this one in Spokane) that automatically enroll qualified students, no matter their background, in advanced coursework.
    • Early Warning Systems starting in middle school to help track student success and identify those who need support before it’s too late. This is already helping kids in West Seattle and Tacoma.
  • Building Early Literacy: In fourth grade, school curriculum shifts to require students to “read to learn,” a pivot which drives some struggling students further behind. Schools need more support to help students, especially in the transition from third to fourth grade.
  • Funding the Students, not the System: We want to make sure that new funding secured during the 2017 Education Budget debate actually reaches and benefits the students who need it most.

Key Numbers 

  • 58% of students in Washington’s Running Start dual-credit program end up with a college degree or certificate, well above the U.S. average of 46 percent (source).
  • Students in dual-enrollment courses graduate one year faster than students who aren’t (source).

Social Media Chatter

@EducationWeek: Here’s how teachers can help with disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico: https://t.co/Ro5DFiHRgm 

What We're Reading

School vouchers don’t just undermine public schools, they undermine our democracy (Op-Ed) – Los Angeles Times

“Although our organizations have sparred and disagreed over the years, such is the danger to public schooling posed by Trump’s embrace of vouchers that we are speaking out together on this issue. The Trump-DeVos effort to push vouchers, or something equivalent through tax credits, threatens the promise and purpose of America’s great equalizer, public education.” - Stand for Children CEO Jonah Edelman and AFT President Randi Weingarten

Ninth-Grade GPAs Predict Kids’ Futures and Chicago is Raising Them – Education Post

"The data in this report also show that this push to focus high school staff attention on ninth-graders has had beneficial effects on GPA. In 2006, 30 percent of ninth-graders in Chicago’s traditional public high schools had GPAs at 3.0 or higher. By 2013, that share had reached 50 percent.”

Central Washington University to offer free classes for high school students in Sammamish – The Seattle Times

“Students at four high schools on the Sammamish Plateau have a new way to earn college credit tuition-free this year with the opening of a new center run by Central Washington University.”

Screen Massachusetts children for literacy (Op-Ed) – Boston Globe

“Over the past four years, Ohio’s Department of Education has piloted an early-reading screening and intervention program in eight districts. Results from year three show significant reading gains by most students who participated in early intense intervention. The study also suggests helping students early will enable the state to avoid more costly interventions needed for older students still struggling to read.” – Jessica Lander, Boston-area teacher and writer

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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