Focus Areas


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 on the Take Action page. Our advocacy work is directed by our member-approved resolutions, principles, and legislative platform.

During the Washington state legislative session, WSPTA will send action alerts and informational broadcasts to WSPTA members who have subscribed to WSPTA’s Action Network Group. These action alerts are quick, easy ways to communicate with your legislators on topics they are actively working on.

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

Issue one-page handout pdf here

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

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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

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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 Paraeducators

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Provide a quality education for all students receiving instruction from paraeducators by establishing:

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

Breakfast After the Bell

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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.

2018 WSPTA Supported Issues

Addressing the Teacher Shortage

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The Washington State PTA shall initiate and/or support legislation or policies that improve the teacher pipeline, to recruit and retain effective educators, especially in high demand, hard to fill positions, in remote locations, or high-poverty schools through:

  • Funding of recruitment and conditional scholarship programs particularly teachers of color who reflect the communities in which they work
  • Expansion of alternative routes to certification that have been approved by the PESB
  • Expanding reciprocity
  • Phased-in expansion of BEST grants to all schools

Best Practices for School Meal Policies

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The Washington State PTA shall initiate and/or support legislation or policies that:

  • Use CDC and USDA recommendations to clearly define a minimum lunch period for students of a minimum of 20 minutes of seated time
  • Promote Recess Before Lunch
  • Prohibit meal debt policies that shame or punish students
  • Promote policies that increase access to school breakfast

Career Connected Learning, CTE & Stem

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The Washington State PTA shall initiate and/or support legislation or policies that support Career Connected Learning K-12 programs that inspire, provide training, CTE, and weave real-life career options in STEM, manufacturing, etc. into K-12 classrooms. The new 2017-19 budget expanded CTE and we need to build on that to implement new programs at the state and local levels.

Dual Credit Equality & Support

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The Washington State PTA shall initiate and/or support legislation or policies that:

  • Establish a coordinated, evidence-based policy for granting as many undergraduate credits as possible to students who have received a passing grade on any dual credit course exam
  • Support adequate funding & the expansion of these programs to cover family outreach, supplies, staff, and staff training
  • Support adequate funding for credit exams so that all students have equitable access to exams upon completion of a course

Engaging Families in Student Success

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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

Equity for Highly Capable

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The Washington State PTA shall initiate and/or support legislation or policies that achieve equitable and full identification within all demographic groups for participation in Washington State public school Highly Capable (HiCap) programs, especially for: low-income students, students with learning and other disabilities, English Language Learners, and students of color; by using evidence-based best practices for identification.

Improving Educational Outcomes for Foster Children

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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.

Post-Secondary/Higher Education Access and Affordability

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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.

Preventing and Mitigating the Impacts of Gender-based Violence

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The Washington State PTA shall initiate and/or support legislation or policies that:

  • Present awareness and prevention programs that address sexual harassment and violence and engage students in mandated respect and consent curriculum
  • Provide support services for victims of sexual harassment and violence
  • Include training on the responsibilities of educational institutions, and the rights of victims, under Title IX
  • Include the need for enthusiastic consent as an integral part of middle and high school sex education curriculum

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

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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

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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.

School Construction and Class Size Reduction

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The Washington State PTA shall initiate and/or support legislation or policies that provides stable and timely financing for school construction, modernization, and safety needs; updates the square footage allocation formula, which recognizes modern educational needs and actual cost; replaces the 60 percent super-majority with a simple majority requirement for passage of school bonds; and extends the K-3 grant program.

For more information, email the WSPTA Advocacy Director.

Submit a Legislative Issue Proposal


**Legislative Issue Proposal Form will be available in the spring.**

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


  • Submitter name and contact information, issue title and short description due May 1
  • Completed issue submittal form 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) by the dates above and include all links/references so the information is verifiable
  • Be available by email and phone to work with the advocacy committee member assigned to review your issue to provide clarification where needed
  • Be available during the advocacy committee meeting to answer questions on the issue
  • In the case where one or more issues submitted are of similar scope, agree to work with others to combine issues
  • Prepare a 1-page position paper based on the information in this application, if your issue is advanced to the board of directors.
  • All who submit an issue selected to move forward must sign the Issue Team Code of Conduct

The advocacy committee will review the issues and make recommendations to the board of directors at its summer board meeting.  An advocacy committee member will work with you 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, you will prepare the following:

One Month Prior To Legislative Assembly:

  • Create a PowerPoint presentation using a template and instructions that will be provided
  • Submit any handouts you plan to use to the advocacy committee for approval

WSPTA 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 advocacy committee phone calls will address bills and action on the WSPTA issues and long-term positions; you will be invited to participate in these calls
  • As needed, help prepare testimony, testify in Olympia and recruit other potential leaders to move your issue through the legislative process