Education Policy Brief - October 25th, 2019

Current Events & News, Legislation | 10/25/2019

Katie Gustainis
Marketing & Communications Director, Stand for Children Washington

Education Policymaking Brief #61

A summary for those closely following the education policy debate in Olympia.

October 25, 2019

The Horizon: Key Dates

  • November 5 – General Election (last day to mail in your ballots)
  • November 6-7 - State Board of Education Meeting
  • November 18-22 – Interim Legislative Committee Days
  • January 13 – 2020 Legislative Session begins 

Education Policy: What happened in the interim

New to the Washington education beat? Click here to see our summary of 2019 education policy.

Statewide education policy has had some surprising drama this past month as the State Board of Education proceeds with its rulemaking process for high school graduation requirements (most notably). The new requirements were passed by the state legislature earlier this year as part of HB 1599 and have caused some concern about their faithfulness to legislative statute. The Board held a public hearing about the rules yesterday and will host a community forum about them on November 5th before their two-day meeting in Bremerton on November 6th and 7th. If the committee decides to approve their proposed rules, the rulemaking process will be completed at this meeting. If they decide to make changes, it will likely extend the process into their next meeting in January 2020.

On the west side of the state, Seattle Public Schools is engaged in a debate that is relevant in every school district: how do we equitably open access to advanced coursework for students? Although Superintendent Juneau is taking an assertive honors-for-all approach, every school district in Washington has until 2022 to, at minimum, implement a policy that automatically enrolls qualified students into the advanced classes they’re ready for (instead of having to self-select and seek out enrollment in those courses).

Let us know if you have any questions about a specific bill or what we’re watching closely on the education policy docket. You can reach me at or 940-390-3039.

Key Numbers

  • 8 – the number of pathways available to graduation available for students, starting with the class of 2020
  • 8th – the grade level in which every student is required by state law to have started their High School & Beyond Plan process

#WAedu Social Media Chatter

Education Funding: An explainer

How do Washington schools get funded, anyway? An education funding primer video to get you started:

What We’re Reading 

The Zone Project in northeast Spokane seeks to help students overcome generational obstacles – The Spokesman-Review

Few areas have greater needs than “The Zone,” an area roughly stretching north and east from I-90 and Division Street and feeding into Shaw and Garry middle schools. That’s a large chunk of the city, with large deficits. For decades, families in northeast Spokane have struggled with underemployment, food and housing insecurity and low education levels, compared with other parts of the city.

Washington state isn't transparent about student arrests. Federal law says it's supposed to be - Crosscut

Experts say poor data reporting practices have kept educational institutions from truly confronting their role in exposing kids to the criminal justice system.

What’s next for Seattle schools’ gifted programs? Here’s what we know so far – Seattle Times

Access to accelerated–learning programs in Seattle public schools has been inequitable for as long as they’ve existed. The district says they were designed that way — a generation ago, the district created them as it was trying to curb white flight.

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.

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