We are heading into the upcoming Legislative Session and here’s a recap of the issues so that we can all advocate for K-12 Education. We know that budgets will be a huge issue but it needn’t stop our advocacy efforts to improve education, health and welfare for all of our kids.
In October members all across WA State voted on the top legislative issues that set priorities for our state lobbyist in Olympia. Here’s a rundown of the issues, in priority order. For more information:http://www.wastatepta.org/advocacy/association_position/1011_Legislative_Platform.pdf
1. Following-up on Education Reform Bills – did you know that 5% of WA students drop out every year and of those who graduate only 20% will earn a Bachelor’s degree within 6 years. We don’t fund enough periods and the State Board of Ed has new graduation requirements but all reforms remain unfunded.
2. Strengthen Math and Science Education – WA state have persistently low scores on math tests and last year only 45% of 10th graders met the math standard and only 47% met the science standard, the results are much worse for some groups
3. Improve Literacy Instruction – Kids struggle with reading, the cornerstone of educational success and about 60% of find learning to read a challenge with 20-30% finding reading remarkable difficult
4. Teacher “Reduction in Force (RIF) Policies” – Typically seniority alone determines layoff and hire-back decision, which can result in the retention of some less-effective teachers at the expense of others. This issue expands RIF policies to include more than just seniority
5. Fund Education First – Article XI of the state’s constitution “The paramount duty of our State is to make ample provision for the education of all children residing in our boarders” and yet legislators cut education and put more burdens on local districts.
6. New Model for Teacher Compensation – As we move to outcome based approach to teaching, a new research-based state teacher compensation model that emphasizes rewarding teacher effectiveness in improving student learning.
7. School Breakfast and lunch programs – Improve the quality and nutritional content of school breakfast and lunch as 93% of all school meal programs fail to meet nutritional standards.
8. Physical Education and health – Strengthen physical education and health, by adding it as a core subject. One third of all kids between the ages of 2-19 are overweight or obese.