Frequently Asked Questions
Who are you?
Stand for Children is a non-profit education advocacy organization focused on ensuring all students receive a high quality, relevant education, especially those whose boundless potential is overlooked and under-tapped because of their skin color, zip code, first language, or disability.
We do this by supporting policies that improve outcomes for students, ensuring those policies outcomes are implemented in the classroom, partnering with parents and families 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?
Our supporters are parents, educators, and community members. Our Washington chapter has a headquarters and staff based in Seattle, plus organizers in South Seattle and Spokane. We also partner with schools statewide in the Puget Sound, Spokane, Clark County, and the Yakima Valley. Our Washington State Advisory Board comprised of volunteers with backgrounds in education system activism and policy.
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?
We organize parents and community members to speak up and demand excellent schools for their children. We work closely with state legislators to shape education policy and with school districts to implement programming that will benefit every kid. We support educators with partnerships to ensure that the policies we fight for reach classrooms and directly support students.Our political action committee takes great care to endorse and support candidates running for office in Washington who are committed education champions and will center students in their decision-making.
Why is your work important?
The truth is 1 out of 5 Washington students will not graduate from high school. And within that statistic lies a great inequity. Too often, kids left behind are kids of color, and/or kids from low-income families. We know that this is because of a deep opportunity gap, not because of ability. All kids can succeed. And, while Washington leaders have recently moved leaps and bounds towards investing in education, we can do more to make sure all kids get the same chance at a great future.
How do you choose what you advocate for?
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. We strive to learn from the experiences of people most directly affected by policy change and prioritize opportunities for measurable, sustainable, and scalable gains in student success.
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 44th 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. 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.