Education Policy Brief - Session Week 1

College & Career Readiness, Current Events & News, Legislation | 01/23/2019

Katie Gustainis
Marketing & Communications Director, Stand for Children Washington

Education Policymaking Brief #43

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

Created on January 18, 2019

The Horizon: Key Dates

  • Jan. 21: Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Work Session & Hearing (1:30 PM)
  • Jan. 21: House Education Work Session (1:30 PM)
  • Jan. 22: House Education Work Session (3:30 PM)
  • Jan. 23: Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Work Session & Hearing (1:30 PM)
  • Jan. 24: House Education Hearing & Work Session(8:00 AM)
  • Jan. 25: Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Hearing (8:00 AM)
  • Feb. 22: House Policy Committee Cutoff

Education Policy

The first week of session focused on ramping up and setting the stage—the swearing in of legislators, Gov. Inslee’s State of the State address, and work sessions educating members on issue areas.  The fiscal committees dove straight in with hearings on Gov. Inslee’s proposed 2019-21 budget.

On Wednesday we saw the introduction of our priority legislation this year—Senator Mullet’s Facilitating High School Success bill, SB 5343. We expect it to be scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education committee in the coming weeks.

The pace in the education committees is picking up substantially, with hearings on high school graduation requirements, special education funding, teacher evaluations, and computer science education. You can view the full hearing schedules for the House and Senate, but below we’ve pulled out the key bills we’re tracking with the most potential impact:

  • SB 5091 is on one of the session’s hottest education topics—special education funding. Chair Wellman’s bill addressing the special education funding safety net will be heard Wednesday. The bill hearing is preceded by a work session on special education funding. If you’re a TVW devotee, this would be the work session not to miss next week.
  • SB 5023 would direct the state to create an ethnic studies curriculum for middle and high schools.
  • SB 5082 would establish a committee to expand social emotional learning.
  • SB 5069 would improve the process for granting career and technical education course equivalencies.
  • SB 5088 would expand access to computer science courses respectively. In 2013, the state began giving students math credits for taking an AP Computer Science course and enrollment in those courses has expanded since then. This takes the next step by ensuring that all high schools provide access to a computer science course.
  • SB 5014 related, to our High School Graduation requirements - a topic of endless debate in Olympia over the last 10 plus years - would delink assessments from graduation and will be heard next Friday.
  • HB 1139 would bolster efforts around how we recruit, train, and support teachers.
  • HB 1119 would modify teacher evaluation requirements.

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.

Key Numbers

  • $61,500 – Governor Inslee has proposed that an income of less than $61.5K for a family of four become the new cap of the State Need Grant.
  • 100 days left in the regular 2019 session.


#WAedu Social Media Chatter


What We’re Reading

Propelled by hard work, Spokane high school graduation rates continue to trend upward – Spokesman Review

Marysville schools focus on diversity, enrollment, buildings – Everett Herald

Vancouver schools, support staff contract talks hit snag - Columbian

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. 

Sign up here to receive weekly legislative updates about education policy in Olympia in your inbox every Friday.

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