Education Policy Brief - Session Week 15

Current Events & News, High School Success | 04/26/2019

Katie Gustainis
Marketing & Communications Director, Stand for Children Washington

Education Policymaking Brief #57

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

April 26, 2019

The Horizon: Key Dates

  • April 28: Last day of the 2019 regular session
  • April 29 @ 12PM: Legislative Debrief Conference Call 

Education Policy

Time’s up! Pencils down. The 2019 legislative session is slated to end this coming Sunday. House and Senate budget writers have announced they have come to an agreement and plan to end session on time; but budget details won’t be available till Saturday.

You’re invited to join us on at noon on Monday for a conference call to debrief what we know so far. 

Budget Updates

The new budget will include some revenue changes, which aren’t 100% clear yet—but legislators have started acting on some proposals, including HB 2148, which moved out of the House Appropriations Committee yesterday. This Microsoft supported business and occupation tax increase on large technology companies and some other services will fund need-based college scholarships and career-connected learning programs. Yesterday, the Senate voted out changes to the states’ real estate tax, SB 5998, which is predicted to raise around $600 million over the next 4 years. 

Equity in Graduation Requirements & Advanced Classes

Otherwise the legislature has been focused on concurring or negotiating final versions of policy bills. On Tuesday, the House voted to concur with changes to Rep. Stonier’s Multiple Pathways bill, HB 1599, sending it to the Governor’s desk. In the Senate, Senator Mullet sponsored an amendment making Academic Acceleration required in all High Schools—which, when signed, will make Washington the first state, as far as we know, to require the automatic enrollment into advanced classes of any high schooler who demonstrates proficiency in Math, English, and Science. The policy has demonstrated success diversifying advanced classes by enrolling more students of color and low-income students. Districts will have 3 years to adopt and implement the policy.

The primary focus of HB 1599 is a rewrite of Washington’s high school graduation requirements; hopefully putting to bed a long-standing debate over the role of testing in our graduation requirements. The new requirements would still allow students to demonstrate career-and-college readiness on our state assessments—but they could also demonstrate it through a mix of pathways such as completing a dual credit course, passing the military’s academic entrance exam, or completing a series of career preparatory classes.

As long as session ends on time, I’ll be back in your inbox next Friday with a more comprehensive summary of where things stand in education policy.

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

  • 2 – days left in the regular 2019 session
  • <20% - the graduation rate at several online schools in WA, as reported by KNKX’s Ashley Gross

#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

How students at online schools in Washington disappear from district graduation rates – KNKX

“Because of a quirk in state policy, Insight School's low graduation rate doesn't show up in Quillayute Valley's district-wide graduation rate. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction leaves some groups of students out when calculating district-level graduation rates, such as students who attend dropout re-engagement programs and vocational/technical skills centers."

High school senior running for Vancouver school board seat – The Columbian

The 18-year-old senior at Fort Vancouver High School Center for International Studies is running for Vancouver Public Schools Board of Directors, for the position currently held by Michelle Giovannozzi. Luis announced her candidacy on Saturday — her birthday.

Mary Lee McJimsey: Education’s focus should be on students’ needs, not ‘system’ – Spokesman-Review

“It doesn’t take all the credentials of an educator to recognize when something works. I have a master’s degree in science education, am National Board certified in physics, and have been teaching since 2006, including courses in Advanced Placement calculus-based physics. While some students thrive from the beginning, many don’t. Worried parents should be advised the transition to high school is difficult and sometimes it takes students a year or two to adjust.”

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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