State issues that effect our school.

Stay informed of state issues that effect our school and our children!

The 2013 state legislative session is in full swing. There are lots of proposals on the table that impact school funding and policy, not the least of which is addressing fully funding basic education. It is often difficult to keep up to date on the implications of new legislation and to see through the media hype. A non-profit group, Stand for Children, stand.org/washington, does a good job of providing weekly summaries of legislative action and upcoming legislative issues. Updates can be found on their website, sent directly to your inbox via e-mail or seen on Facebook. It is all our responsibility to be educated about our children’s education, whether that translates to advocacy to your representative or the basis for fully informed conversations with friends and family.

Current issues in committee focus on Academic Acceleration (HB 1642), 3rd Grade Reading (SB 5237), and Computer Science as a math or science credit towards graduation (HB 1472). The big issue regarding state funding of basic education will be addressed toward the end of March.

It is easy to make your voice heard!
1. Contact your legislator-
kevin.ranker@leg.wa.gov
kristine.lytton@leg.wa.gov
jeff.morris@leg.wa.gov

2. Contact legislators on the education committees-
Senate Education Committee website
House Education Committee website

3. Comment directly on a bill (New for 2013!)
Look up the bill by number (for example, HB 1642) and follow the green link to add your comments.
www.leg.wa.gov

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Support full funding of basic education!

The Washington State Supreme Court ruled this week that the Legislature can’t continue to cut education. In fact, they must add funding and come up with a plan for a fully-funded education system by 2018. Voice your opinion by signing an online petition at http://www.educationvoters.org/ and/or contact our state legislators, Rep. Kristine Lytton, Rep. Jeff Morris and Sen. Kevin Ranker. Find their contact information at http://www.leg.wa.gov/pages/home.aspx. Their next session begins January 9th and they will need to make significant cuts to the budget. Voice your opinion about saving education funding!

Early Learning Funding at Risk!

Governor’s Proposed Cuts Would Dim State’s Chance to Race to the Top!
Recently the state of Washington put forth a STRONG proposal for early learning funding through the federal government’s Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge. This grant opportunity would provide $60 million of essential funding for early learning over the next 4 years. When the feds released this grant, they also articulated clear criteria they will be using to decide which states are funded. What was at the top of that criteria list? States’ commitment to current early learning investments.
That is why the Governor’s release of cuts she is considering to balance the state’s budget deficit is so alarming. The early learning/child care cuts she has “preliminarily” chosen to be a part of her budget include:

  • Elimination of all state funding for Child Care Resource & Referral (parent referrals, provider trainings and consultation)
  • Elimination of all state funding for supports for Family, Friend and Neighbor caregivers
  • $50 million cut to Working Connections Child Care (child care subsidies)
  • Elimination of state funding for Reach Out and Read, a literacy program that enables pediatricians to give books to families
  • Elimination of state funding to administer child care subsidies for seasonal workers

The federal government will decide which states are awarded Race to the Top funds in December, at the same time the Governor has called for a special session to make state funding cuts. To the best of our knowledge, Washington is the only state that is taking these steps at this time. This obviously puts our state’s application for $60 million in significant risk.
Please take a moment to write the Governor and your elected legislators to let them know that NOW is not the time to cut early learning.

In the long term it is proven that our state will be better off if more children receive a high quality early learning experience. In the short term our state will be much better off staying in contention for this critical funding source. The amount of cuts to child care/early learning that the Governor has outlined does not even add up to the amount of funding we would be walking away from if these cuts go through.
Thank you very much for all that you do for Washington’s children!

The WA St. Child Care Resource & Referral Network

 

DAY OF ACTION — THURS. NOV 17th, 9-11AM at Starbuck’s

LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD IN OLYMPIA! PLEASE JOIN US FOR A LETTER WRITING CAMPAIGN TO TELL THE LEGISLATORS HOW IMPORTANT EDUCATION IS TO US.

Special session is next week. With $2 billion in cuts we can’t afford to stay quiet. Here’s what can happen if we don’t speak now…..
Larger class sizes
Loss of all day Kindergarten
Loss of highly capable programs
Pupil transportation
Loss of math and science programs

WHERE? Starbucks, 17th Street and Commercial

League of Education Voters – Schools that Work!

You might have heard that Washington is applying for– and actually has a real shot at winning–a $60 million Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant from the federal government   for our statewide early learning system.  In order make sure we win, we need YOU. All these big federal grant applications require letters of support from the community. The League of  Education Voters is doing one from our organization, as are many other organizations across state. But the cherry on top of our application sundae is one REALLY BIG letter of support  from the public (parents, teachers, kids, early learning professionals, advocates, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors and you). We have partnered with our allies across the  state to give you that chance.

Go to WAChallenge.org, and sign on to tell the Feds that Washington is Up to the Challenge. It only takes a minute!

Support Early Education Programs and All-Day Kindergarten! We need your voice!

Help support early education programs and all-day kindergarten by telling your legislator how important those programs are to our district.  The state budget crisis continues to put education funding at risk.  Your voice is needed!

Follow this link for a draft letter to Olympia-

All Day Kindergarten Letter to Legislators.doc

Letters can be dropped off in the Mt. Erie PTA mailbox for mailing.  For further information or questions, contact our legislative representative, Tanya Twete at dttwete@gmail.com

Also, the Early Learning Action Alliance has developed a survey that gather information about the cumulative effects of budget cuts on children, families, providers, and local communities.   Through this survey, they hope to gather stories from across the state to share with legislators during the special and regular sessions.   Please take a few minutes to complete the survey.

September 2011 Legislative News

On Wednesday, July 20th, the office of the Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction formally adopted the Common Core State Standards for Washington State. These standards will provide clear and concise benchmarks for what our students need to achieve in order to be work and higher education ready. This will help raise the standards of our students by providing more science and math classes and extending our language arts for an additional two years in high school.

The benchmarks are not meant to enforce a specific syllabus or curriculum but provide guidance on what our children should be learning and holding our children to a higher level to increase their success.         You can read WSPTA’s briefing on the Common Core State Standards at http://www.wastatepta.org/advocacy/CCSSI/common_core_review_spring_2011.pdf and Superintendent Dorn’s statement  at http://www.k12.wa.us/Communications/PressReleases2011/CommomCore.aspx.

In related news, The Anacortes Early Learning Partners (local preschools and daycares along with ASD Kindergarten teachers) met to learn new techniques and tailor their instruction to the new core guidelines.

MTE’s Amanda Cardinale has been intimately involved with WaKids, a pilot program designed to provide a better transition from preschool or home to Kindergarten and enable greater school success. Stay tuned for more news!