Washington Education Policy Brief - Dec. 4

Current Events & News, High School Success, Legislation | 12/04/2020

Katie Gustainis
Marketing & Communications Director, Stand for Children Washington

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

The Horizon: Key Dates

  • January 11 - First day of session*

*While the pandemic has taught us to all to be flexible with changing plans, our current understanding is that Legislative Committee Hearings will be conducted on Zoom.

Education Policy

Education policymaking, especially in the context of distance-learning and the novel coronavirus pandemic, have been front and center so far during Legislative Committee Week. The House Education Committee featured presentations from the State Board of Education, the Washington State School Directors’ Association and State Superintendent Reykdal. The topics covered included: emergency rule authorizations during the pandemic, flexibility on the 24 credits to graduate pathways, the impacts of the pandemic on schools, school closures, how to mitigate learning loss during distance-learning and equity concerns in the wake of the pandemic.

The Senate also held a work session on education policymaking, featuring educators, educational service districts, individual school districts. The policy dialogue focused on social justice and equity, including culturally competent curricula. There appear to be a general consensus among participants that social justice can be integrated into several aspects of our schools.

The Senate work session can be viewed in TVW’s archives HERE and HERE. The House Committee can be viewed in TVW’s archives HERE.

Finally, we welcome new leaders in the Legislature and in each caucus. While announcements are still ongoing, but as things stand currently:

  • Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee: Senator Lisa Wellman will continue as the Chair. And the committee will now have two Vice-Chairs – Senator Claire Wilson (Early Learning) and incoming Senator T’wina Nobles (K-12).
  • House Education Committee: Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos will continue as the Chair.
  • Senator John Braun will serve as the Senate Minority Leader.

We look forward to sharing the Stand for Children 2021 Legislative Agenda in the near future, as well as the priorities of the High School Success Coalition and its eight members.

Key Numbers

  • 105 – Days in the 2021 Legislative Session
  • 27 – Days left in 2020
  • $900 Million – Revenue projections above what was originally forecasted at the outset of the pandemic
  • $2.4 Billion – Current revenue shortfall through the next biennium

#WAedu Social Media Chatter

What We’re Reading 

28 current COVID outbreaks in Tri-Cities. What it means for schools – Tri-Cities Herald

Washington Senate Republicans choose John Braun as new minority leader – Seattle Times

I fear everyday encounters more than I do hate groups – Seattle Times

Education Funding: An explainer

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

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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