Washington Education Policy Brief - Feb. 14

Current Events & News, High School Success, Legislation | 02/14/2020

Katie Gustainis
Marketing & Communications Director, Stand for Children Washington

The Horizon: Key Dates

  • February 18  @ 8:00 AM – House Education Committee
  • February 19 – House of Origin Cutoff
  • February 20 @ 10:00 AM – House Human Services & Early Learning Committee
  • February 20 @ 1:30 PM – Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee
  • February 20 @ 3:30 PM  – House Appropriations Committee
  • February 20 @ 3:30 PM – Senate Ways & Means Committee
  • February 21 @ 8:00 AM – Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee
  • February 21 @ 8:00 AM – House Human Services & Early Learning Committee
  • February 28 – Opposite House Policy Cutoff

Education Policy

We’ve passed the fiscal cut off now, which means that bills need to have been voted out of either House Appropriations or Senate Ways & Means to be considered for a floor vote. Both houses are not wasting any time; a number of education bills have already moved off the floors of their houses of origin.

I’m excited to share that SB 6480, sponsored by Senator Mullet, was passed out of the Senate on Wednesday with a vote of 43-3. One of our 2020 legislative priority bills, it would implement a comprehensive school counseling program in every district, and ensure that school counselors spend at least 80% of their work time working with and on behalf of students.

We’re still watching two key bills that relate to our 2020 legislative priorities. They are: SB 6505, which would cover the costs of dual credit programs, and SB 6117, a bill that would increase the special education multiplier. Both bills, which we have supported, are in Senate rules awaiting a floor vote.

Other education bills we’re watching include:

  • SB 6132, Senator Wellman’s bill that would allow LAP funding to be used for behavioral health supports including social workers, counselors, instructional aides, and school-based health professionals, passed 28-18 in the Senate.
  • SSB 6191, would add questions about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) to the Healthy Youth Survey. It passed the Senate 43-3.
  • ESSB 5908, passed 29-17. It would incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion training into professional development for district staff and board members.
  • SB 6066 would require OSPI and an advisory committee to identify ethnic studies materials for grades K-6, and encourages schools to incorporate those resources. It passed 36-10.
  • SB 6101 was passed unanimously in the Senate, and would require school districts to collect data on the usage of dyslexia screening tools and interventions.
  • SB 6138 would modify the Beginning Educator Support Team program to encourage more districts to provide program participants from underrepresented populations with mentors with connections to participants’ backgrounds. It passed 30-16.
  • SHB 2711 received a unanimous vote on the House floor and will now move onto the Senate. It directs OSPI to convene a workgroup focused on improving educational outcomes for students in foster care and experiencing homelessness. Its companion, SSB 6511, has also made it out of Ways & Means to Senate Rules.
  • SHB 2864 would create a pilot, subject to state funding, for summer Running Start programs at three higher education campuses selected by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. It passed on the House floor 78-19.
  • ESHB 2455 passed the House 66-32. It would allow low income parents working toward their high school diploma to access Working Connections Child Care funding.
  • SHB 2865 passed unanimously in the House. It directs OSPI to develop a guide for families on how they can prepare their children for kindergarten.

After the House of Origin cut off on February 19, we get to do this all over again. Bills that have passed a floor vote will go to the opposite house – so Senate bills that pass go to the House, and House bills go to the Senate. 

Key Numbers

  • 63% - the percentage of students submitting their financial aid forms in a California district, a jump of 14% in just one year, after they made large investment in hiring school counselors
  • 27 – the number of days left in the 2020 legislative session (we’re over halfway!)

#WAedu Social Media Chatter


What We’re Reading 

Yakima Valley school counselors are in high demand. And they face an expanding workload. – Yakima Herald-Republic

District staff discuss ways to facilitate conversations about race in the classroom – Edmonds News

How some California school districts invest in counseling – and achieve results - EdSource

Wanted: more hand on deck (Brad Wilson, Chelan HS Principal) – Lake Chelan Mirror

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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