The Equity in Education Coalition believes that no one can advocate better for our kids than our communities and our allies. Therefore, we work with local, regional and state legislatures to ensure that laws, policies, and programs work for kids often trapped in the opportunity and achievement gap. We also hold our leaders accountable until they secure the resources required to make all children safe, healthy, and vibrant.
The education system in Washington State needs to be responsive to a child that is homeless, hungry, or living in the trauma of poverty. The education system in Washington State has to start funding programs at the local and district level that not only treat children equally but also treat children equitably. Some children need more programs, more resources, and more support than other children — and our schools and laws must offer those programs if we are to create a system that believes that each and every child can succeed in school and can enter a living wage career.
We do whatever is needed – push, persuade, demand – to make sure our leaders pass laws that do right by our kids. We do whatever is needed to make sure that the implementation of those laws does not perpetuate more vicious cycles of bias, poverty or racism.
Legislative Session 2018
Our legislative priorities for the 2018 session involve supporting policies and programs that fully and equitably fund a quality education system for all of Washington’s students. Our call to action:
- Ensure fairness in implementing the McCleary decision and fully funding education
- Increase funding for pre-school, summer school, and enrichment opportunities
- Targeted increased investments in Learning Assistance Program, Transitional Bilingual Instructional Program, and Expanded Learning Opportunities
- Challenge institutionalized racism in our educational system
- Challenge disproportionate school discipline practices.
Check out our 2018 Legislative Bill Tracker for more details on priority bills.
Learning Assistance Program
The EEC helped secure $143 million in increased State funding for the Learning Assistance Program, thereby substantially increasing the number of instructional hours in a program that serves primarily children of color.
The EEC crafted a strong and inclusive Discipline Bill, which includes not only a re-entry program for children suspended or expelled, but calls for stronger data collection, a time limit on suspensions/expulsions, and a more streamlined procedure manifest for school districts.
With the Equity in Education Coalition serving in an advisory capacity, Senator Dammeier’s SB 5237, Third Grade Reading Retention Bill, changed dramatically from a retention bill to a prevention and intervention bill that will benefit our children of color by offering proven, research based reading intervention programs to children as well as a parent tool kit.
Most recently, EEC along with 60 other organizations provided public comments on OSPI’s proposed discipline rules, including modifying the rules to require alternatives to suspension and expulsion, extreme forms of discipline that disproportionately effect kids of color.
A More Inclusive Education System
Organizing members to pressure Seattle Public Schools to change the way they present their data to better recognize a broader spectrum of ethnicities and backgrounds, while also working with the district to strengthen the educational system for English Language Learners so immigrant and refugee families don’t fall through the cracks.
The EEC assisted in the passage of SHB 1723, Early Learning Bill, in which the coalition strongly advocated for schools’ administering the Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS) the authority to utilize up to three school days at the start of the school year to meet with parents and families.
The EEC was integral in creating statewide Expanded Learning Opportunity Council.