OLYMPIA – Legislation to implement inclusive learning standards in Washington schools passed the Senate today on a vote of 29-19.
Senate Bill 5462, sponsored by Sen. Marko Liias (D-Everett), would update learning standards to include the histories, contributions, and perspectives of LGBTQ people, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion standards.
“Every student deserves to feel represented by the material they’re learning, and when they hear their stories in the school curriculum, students are more likely to be successful and engaged in the classroom,” said Liias.
Inclusive curricula have been found to improve the mental health, academic performance, attendance rates, and graduation rates of marginalized communities. LGBTQ students in schools that have inclusive curriculum report having better attendance records and higher grade point averages than their counterparts in schools without inclusive curricula.
“Representative and inclusive education helps scholars of all backgrounds, all cultures and all identities connect with instructional materials. More importantly, it helps all students feel a sense of belonging when they are at school,” said Sen. Claire Wilson (D-Auburn).
The bill direct state agencies to create a model policy for school districts to adopt inclusive and age-appropriate instructional materials. It also creates an inclusive curricula coordinator position within each district to ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion are included in curricula.
Finally, the bill requires the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to collaborate with students in the Legislative Youth Advisory Council to create a database of inclusive curricula that are available free of charge to districts.
SB 5462 will now head to the House for consideration.