A summary for those closely following the education policy debate in Olympia.
Created January 11, 2019
The House and Senate education committees both have several new members slated to join their ranks as session starts on Monday, and both committees will gather next week for working sessions and to discuss bills with a more technical focus.
We expect that key education issues this session will include:
- finding a more equitable solution to funding special education,
- expanding mental health services, and
- ensuring school safety.
OSPI has requested a special education multiplier detailed in SB 5091, sponsored by Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee Chair Lisa Wellman. HB 1093 is the House companion bill, sponsored by Rep. Dolan. Much of the conversation about mental health has centered on increasing the number of counselors available to students, particularly in middle and elementary grades.
An upcoming bill sponsored by Senator Mullet would lower the counselor ratio in middle school to the recommended 1:250. This same bill, called “Facilitating High School Success” – which is expected to be filed shortly after session begins - also seeks to help all Washington students prepare for college and career through two objectives: (1) directing all districts to establish an Academic Acceleration policy, and (2) establishing early warning data and intervention systems in all high schools, with a special focus on ninth grade. This bill is one of Stand for Children’s top priorities for the 2019 session and we’ll be following it’s progress closely.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions about what’s been filed or to sort out what’s on deck for education policy in Olympia.
The Horizon: Key Dates
- Jan. 14: First Day of 2019 Legislative Session, a 105-day session
- Jan. 14: House Education Work Session (1:30 PM)
- Jan. 15: House Education Work Session (3:30 PM)
- Jan. 16: Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Work Session (1:30 PM)
- Jan. 17: House Education Work Session (1:30 PM)
- Jan. 18: Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Hearing (8:00 AM)
- Feb. 22: House Policy Committee Cutoff
- 11 & 19: There are 11 Senators appointed to the 2019 Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee and 19 representatives appointed to the House Education Committee.
#WAedu Social Media Chatter
What We’re Reading
Invest in programs that boost high school graduation – Seattle Times editorial board
The Education Policymaking Brief is produced by Stand for Children Washington, a public education advocacy organization, and was established in 2017. If you’d like to review previous briefs, they are available here.