Roll Call #15: "We are not satisfied."

Current Events & News, Legislation, Policy Brief | 04/26/2021

Virginia Barry
Policy & Government Affairs Manager, Stand for Children Washington

LEGISLATIVE ROLL CALL

Session Week #15

A summary of the bills impacting schools, students, and families this week.

As I’m writing this roll call, we’re waiting to hear what the legislature will include in the final 2021-2023 state operating budget, which should be announced sometime today. But this week much of our focus has been away from the legislature, as we learned of the Derek Chauvin guilty verdict on all three counts for the murder of George Floyd. Shortly thereafter we learned of the killing of Ohio teen Ma’Khia Bryant at the hands of police, unfortunately one of many recent incidents. As you read this roll call, I hope that you’ve found some insight, some grounding, and some peace of mind at the end of a week that has brought a mix of heaviness, relief, renewed conviction and renewed grief. 

The team at Stand has been navigating the week by drawing on the leadership and perspectives of BIPOC community members statewide, from Spokane to Yakima to Seattle, who have offered key reflections and calls to action. In Olympia, the Black Members Caucus of the legislature reminded us

This verdict is a step forward, but it should only add to the growing momentum for change. Our work is not done until everyone feels safe and protected, no matter their skin color.

In Seattle, Carolyn Riley-Payne, president of the Seattle King County NAACP said: 

“We are heartened to hear that Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of murder in the death of George Floyd – but we are not satisfied… We must strive for a day when holding police accountable is routine. We must not let this day be an anomaly.”

At Stand, we’re committed to supporting policies rooted in racial equity to ensure all students feel seen and valued at school, and we know the work is not yet done. I was fortunate this week to provide an update on ESSB 5044 to parents, school board directors, and community members at our weekly Take Action Tuesday event. This bill, which will head to Governor Inslee’s desk soon, aims to help dismantle institutional racism in schools by adding diversity, equity, and inclusion to the existing cultural competency standards used to train teachers, school board members, and school staff. While many districts are already engaged in this work, ESSB 5044 will make these trainings available statewide, an important step to building school communities that support all students. You can watch video testimony in support of the bill from Erin, a parent in Spokane, below: 

My colleague Andrew also introduced Take Action Tuesday attendees to the Center for Antiracist Education (CARE). Launched in February, CARE provides professional development to educators in identifying instructional resources aligned to antiracist principles. The team at CARE has already created a three-part web series and tools for educators to interrogate historical narratives found in K-12 curriculum, and will be releasing more resources soon. We’ll be sharing more about CARE as the legislative session continues to wind down and we support the implementation of ESSB 5044. You can learn more at antiracistfuture.org.

Back in Olympia, lawmakers are still busy finalizing the budget, concurring on bills, and celebrating their policies being signed into law by Governor Inslee. I’m pleased to report that SSB 5030, a bill Stand has supported that will bring comprehensive school counseling programs to every district, has received signatures from the House speaker and Senate president -- all that’s left is for the governor to sign it into law! 

I’ll be back for one more week next Friday, when I’ll break down the final operating budget and what it means for K-12 education. I’ll also be back on Facebook Live video for our final 2021 Roll Call Live next Friday, April 30th - you can RSVP on Facebook here. Until then, please take care of yourselves and each other.

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