Washington Education Policy Brief - Feb. 21

Current Events & News, High School Success, Legislation | 02/21/2020

Katie Gustainis
Marketing & Communications Director, Stand for Children Washington

The Horizon: Key Dates

  • February 22 – Legislative Town Halls begin
  • February 24 @ 1:30 PM – Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee
  • February 24 @ 1:30 PM – House Education Committee
  • February 25 @ 3:30 PM  – House Education Committee
  • February 26 @ 1:30 PM – Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee
  • February 27 @ 8:00 AM – House Education Committee
  • February 28 @ 8:00 AM – Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Commitee
  • February 28 – Opposite House Policy Committee Cutoff
  • March 2 – Opposite House Fiscal Committee Cutoff
  • March 6 – Opposite House Cutoff
  • March 12 – Sine Die (last day of session)

Education Policy

This week, we had our eyes glued to the House and Senate floors as legislators made their final push to get bills out of their houses of origin before Wednesday’s deadline. One of the important things to remember is that sometimes bills that don’t make it past cut off aren’t necessarily gone for good, especially if they are deemed necessary to implement the budget. While we didn’t see the same flurry of education bills that the first week of floor votes brought, a few important ones reached the finish line in time to move over to the opposite house. Here’s a rundown: 

  • 2SSB 6117 would add $9.8 million to next year’s budget for special education, and an additional $26.1 million in the 2021-23 biennium. The funding would go toward increasing the multiplier for special education students who spend at least 80% of their time in a general education setting. It received a unanimous vote on the Senate floor.
  • 2SSB 5607 seeks to support English language learners by establishing grant programs for dual language learning in early childhood and K-12 education. It would also direct OSPI to adopt grade-level expectations for biliteracy development. It received a 34-14 vote in the Senate.
  • 2SHB 1182 makes several changes to the Learning Assistance Program (LAP), including the requirements that districts align interventions to the Washington Integrated Student Supports Protocol and expand Extended Learning Opportunities to ninth and tenth graders. It received a 97-1 vote on the House floor.
  • 2SHB 2864 would establish a running start summer pilot program at three campuses beginning in 2021. It passed 78-19 and now moves to the Senate.
  • SHB 2865 received a unanimous vote in the House. This bill requires OSPI to develop a guide for families on how they can help their children be ready for kindergarten. It also specifies that the guide be available in ten languages.
  • ESSB 6282 passed the Senate with a 39-9 vote. Stand testified in committee with our concerns about the bill, which would require schools to develop individualized highly capable learning plans for all highly capable students within 30 days of moving to a non-cohort model, and would retroactively apply to schools that have modified their delivery models since January 2019. 

Key Numbers

  • 43-3: In an overwhelming and bipartisan vote, 43 Senators voted Yes to advance SB 6480 where it now awaits a hearing in the House Education Committee.
  • 16%: The percentage of Spokane County youth experiencing food insecurity, slightly above the state average.
  • 43: The number of states that already provide all students free lunch.
  • 20 – the number of days left in the 2020 legislative session

#WAedu Social Media Chatter

What We’re Reading 

Running Start in summer, mandatory sex education among the major K-12 bills still alive in Olympia – Seattle Times

Bill would expand free lunches to all students in Washington schools where 62.5% already qualify - Spokesman

 Annual music educators conference brings state's top high school musicians to town – Yakima Herald

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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