Washington Education Policy Brief - Nov. 22, 2019

Current Events & News, Legislation | 11/22/2019

Katie Gustainis
Marketing & Communications Director, Stand for Children Washington

The Horizon: Key Dates

  • January 13 – 2020 Legislative Session begins 
  • February 7 – Policy Committee Cutoff (anticipated)
  • February 11 – Fiscal Committee Cutoff (anticipated)
  • February 19 – House of Origin Cutoff (anticipated)

Education Policy

Our state capitol was abuzz this week with legislators in town for Committee Days – their version of Back to School orientation before the 2020 legislative session starts January 13th. In addition to Work Sessions in the Committees of both chambers, legislators were meeting with advocates and key constituent groups to preview what will be on the 2020 docket before they leave for the holidays.

In the House Education Committee (meeting docs here), members discussed oversight of the Washington State Charter School Commission and reviewed materials for new Charter School Applications for 2021-22. The Committee also received report recommendations from the State Board of Education and OSPI about Mastery-based and Competency-based learning.

In the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee, there was a presentation from School’s Out Washington on Expanded Learning Opportunities (including afterschool programs, school-age child care, summer learning, and youth development). The members also heard from the National Conference of State Legislatures and OSPI about English Language Learners and Dual Language Education in Washington.

Finally, in the Senate Appropriations Committee, there was also extensive conversation about K-12 Special education funding and Levies/Local Effort Assistance. They also covered updates on the School Employees Benefits Board Health Benefits and a preview of the 2020 Operating Budget.

In other state education news, the Staffing Enrichment Workgroup convened by OSPI also met last Friday and reviewed the results from their Public Comment Survey about their recommendations to the legislature about staffing ratios and needs in schools. The workgroup’s final report is due to the legislature on December 1st.

Key Numbers

  • 94% - the percent of OSPI workgroup survey respondents who believe it’s Very Important (81%) or Important (13%) that the state invests more funding in staffing dedicated to students mental, social, emotional, and behavioral health.
  • 54 – the number of days until the 2020 legislative session

#WAedu Social Media Chatter

This whole tweet thread from Neal Morton about the OSPI staffing workgroup survey report, starting with this one:


What We’re Reading 

Washington students have new options to earn a high school diploma – Seattle Times

Report prompts changes in gifted programs at Spokane schools – Spokesman-Review

Battle Ground sex ed decision could be test case for next legislative session – The Columbian

Seattle Public Schools’ Chief of Equity has firsthand experience with racial bias in class - KNKX

Vancouver Public Schools Board Sets $31.3M levy - Columbian

Too white? A criticism of Seattle Public Schools gifted programs for decades - KUOW

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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