Our K-12 agenda
Our first priority this legislative session is to reverse course on the $3.5 billion that the Great Recession has taken from our schools and start investing in our kids and teachers. To do anything less is to flout the constitution.
Senate Democrats believe we must make an initial investment of $1.4 billion, and that this investment must produce positive, verifiable outcomes for all of our kids.
Our agenda for education is to close the opportunity gap by improving student achievement so that every child is career and college ready.
Note: Bills in red represent direct responses to the McCleary decision. Despite the Majority Caucus' claims that they stand for bipartisanship and a focus on K-12 education, not a single one of these bills has been passed by the Early Learning & K-12 Committee.
Our plan emphasizes:
Ensuring accountability and getting results
So that taxpayers are assured that our investments are working, we must create clear benchmark indicators of the health of the system, including in:
- 3rd grade reading
- 8th grade math
- Graduation rates
- Remediation rates at colleges
We need to ensure that struggling schools receive appropriate interventions.
Additional state funding for education should be targeted at programs that research shows has the greatest impact on student learning.
Attracting and retaining quality teachers in every classroom
We need to fund the reforms we have already passed by:
- Providing additional support for new teachers through our Beginning Education and Support Training program
- Fully supporting statewide implementation of our Teacher and Principal Evaluation Program by funding the appropriate training
- Providing funds for our comprehensive dropout and intervention programs
- Creating suspension/expulsion policies that help re-engage students rather than cause them to drop out
- We should also fund professional development at all schools, and additional support for teachers, principals, and support staff to better serve those kids who have additional needs
Our students need to be ready – ready to learn as they enter into our public education, and ready for a career and college as they exit it:
- Full day kindergarten in every school district
- Smaller classroom sizes in K-3
- Quality daycare for working parents
- Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS)
- Expanded community and parental involvement
- End permanent expulsion as a regular disciplinary action
- Successful dropout prevention programs such as Building Bridges
Increasing revenue that does not hurt the middle class and that the voters will support
A new 5 percent capital gains tax approved by the voters would raise approximately $1 billion to fund:
- ECEAP/Head Start
- All-day kindergarten
- K-3 class size reductions
- Readiness to Learn
- Higher education enrollment support