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Advocacy for Washington's children - let your voice be heard!

Learn about our legislative priorities and other supported issues and find out more ways to get involved. Our advocacy work is directed by our member-approved resolutions , principles, and legislative platform.


Legislative Platform

The Washington State PTA legislative platform is a two-year platform to mirror the Washington state legislative cycle. On the even-numbered years, the new platform is voted on by members at the legislative assembly in the fall. The top five issues become our short-term platform and consist of our priority issues when advocating throughout the year. Other issues are placed on an “also supported” list. During the odd-numbered years, members vote to amend current issues or to add new, emerging issues to the also supported list.

Top 5 Legislative Priorities for 2017

Social Emotional Learning

Prioritize school climate through strong social and emotional learning supports to maximize learning opportunities that help Washington students succeed in school and life.

  • Integrate social emotional learning and trauma informed practices in the education system, teacher and principal preparation programs and professional learning.
  • Ensure adequate staffing of psychologists, counselors, social workers, behavioral specialists and nurses in schools.

Amply Fund Basic Education

It is time to keep the promise made to the children of Washington State in the McCleary decision by fulfilling Washington State’s paramount duty to amply fund basic education.

  • Funding solutions must be progressive revenue sources that are sufficient, sustainable, and equitable.
  • Solutions must not cut services that support the whole child, or rely only on redistributing existing education funds.

Closing the Opportunity Gap

Provide teacher training and student supports that include effective solutions to close the educational opportunity gap by:

  • Completing the implementation of the recommendations of the Educational Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee (EOGOAC), and
  • Implementing the 2016 HB 1541 to close the educational opportunity gap.

Standards for Para-Educators

Provide a quality education for all students receiving instruction from para-educators by establishing:

  • Statewide standards, training, and career development for para-educators,
  • Minimum employment standards, certification and endorsements,
  • Training for teachers who have para-educators assisting in their classrooms, and their principals.

Breakfast After the Bell

Washington State currently ranks 45th for utilization of the federal school breakfast program and currently, only 1/3 of eligible children have access to this program.

  • Supports legislation instituting and funding a Breakfast After the Bell Program in high needs schools.
  • Initiate policies that encourage early adoption of Breakfast After the Bell Programs at the district level.

2017 WSPTA Supported Issues

Improving Educational Outcomes for Foster Children

Currently less than 50% of foster youth graduate from high school and less than 4% go to college. We support efforts to increase high school and college graduation rates through the creation and support of services which will facilitate smooth transitions between schools for foster youth at risk of not receiving credit for work completed.

Engaging Families in Student Success

Increase school and family partnerships that result in increased family participation by:

  • Adopting a clear definition and title for Family Engagement Coordinators
  • Expanding funding to at least 1.0 FTE Family Engagement Coordinator per school, starting with high poverty schools first.
    • Start: 2017-18 school year;
    • Completion: 2020-21 school year

Post-Secondary/Higher Education Access and Affordability

Washington state has the leading economy in the nation and a skills gap that can only be closed by increasing access and affordability of Post-Secondary education, including associate & bachelor degrees, and career & technical degrees/certificates with affordable tuition and local access to all programs while still supporting “State Need Grants” and “College Bound” scholarship programs.

Removing Barriers to Implementing ECEAP (Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program)

High quality early learning is a smart investment that helps children succeed in school and life. Washington State PTA supports policies to ensure access to high quality early learning by expanding ECEAP, the state pre-K program including:

  • Expanding capacity by eliminating systemic barriers
  • Supporting quality early learning through multiple means

Restorative Justice and School Safety

Enhance school safety by incorporating restorative justice models in discipline processes while supporting family and community-based alternatives to achieve youth accountability. Reduce racial and ethnic disparities by leveraging local school districts and juvenile justice systems to institute equitable polices on discipline, safety and justice.


For more information, email the WSPTA Legislative Director.


Submit a Legislative Issue Proposal

HOW TO SUBMIT A LEGISLATIVE ISSUE PROPOSAL

Any PTA member is encouraged to submit an issue that addresses concerns that affect children on a state-wide level.

Timing

  • Submitter name and contact information, issue title and short description due May 1
  • Complete issue submittal due June 1

Issue Submitters’ Requirements:

  • Must be a current Washington State PTA member
  • Submit a completed Legislative Issue Proposal Form (available in the spring) online by the dates above and include all links/references so the information is verifiable.  (Note that you can preview the form to help prepare, and you can save your work and return to finish when ready.)
  • Be available by email and phone to work with the legislative committee member assigned to review your issue to provide clarification where needed
  • Be available during the legislative committee meeting to answer questions on the issue
  • In the case where one or more issues submitted are of similar scope, work with others to combine issues
  • All who submit an issue selected to move forward must sign a Code of Conduct

The legislative committee will review the issues and make recommendations to the board of directors at its summer board meeting.  A legislative committee member will work with you during this time if additional information is required.  Following the board meeting, you will be notified if your issue will be forwarded to the members at legislative assembly.

To make sure your issue is represented well at legislative assembly and has the best chance for success, it is recommended that you prepare as follows:

One Month Prior To Legislative Assembly:

  • Create a PowerPoint presentation using the provided template
  • Create a tri-fold presentation board to be used during issue education
  • Submit any handouts you plan to use to the legislative committee for approval

Legislative Assembly:

  • Attend legislative assembly (or send a representative) to present your issue to attendees, gathering supporters for caucusing and debating during the issue debates
  • Present your issue to the assembly to encourage adoption to the platform
  • Develop an action plan on how you will work the issue and engage with other supporters prior to and during the legislative session
  • Consider methods you will use to communicate with your issue supporters

During the Legislative Session:

  • Weekly legislative committee phone calls will address bills and action on the Top 5 issues and issues that are hot legislative topics; you may be invited to participate in these calls
  • As needed, help prepare testimony, testify in Olympia and recruit other potential leaders to help move your issue through the legislative process