Dear friends and neighbors,
As session reaches the halfway point, I want to highlight some of the important work being done around education policy in Olympia. Education is our state’s paramount duty, so every year you can expect that legislators will be working to improve outcomes for kids. Here are a couple of the education issues I have been advocating for this year:
- Defining the role of school counselors: School counselors are a vital resource and we should be investing in more of them. But we also need to be sure that the current counselors aren’t being asked to fill in for other jobs. In our state right now, many school counselors that have master’s degrees are being asked to monitor kids at recess, proctor exams, and even act as crossing guards. That’s not right. The Seattle Times recently wrote about a bill that I’m sponsoring which would define the duties of school counselors. I’m confident this proposal will boost the amount of time counselors can spend helping students with their academic and personal lives.
- Public charter school funding: As the longest serving member of the Senate Education committee, I have heard from hundreds of public charter school students and their families throughout the eight years I’ve been in the Senate. They love their public charter schools, but the state is still not guaranteeing the same level of funding for these public school students as their peers receive. As a result, we have seen public charter school closures or relocations, which puts an undue stress on the students. You can read more about the lack of resources some of our kids are facing and how I’ve worked to fix the disparity in this piece by the Seattle Times editorial board.
- Dual credit courses: Many of our kids are preparing for their futures by taking dual credit courses which give them the opportunity to earn college credits in high school. Unfortunately, AP and IB classes require fees for testing, and College in the High School and Running Start can cost hundreds more. Rather than creating barriers, we should be letting as many students as possible take these courses, regardless of cost. That’s why I’m sponsoring legislation that would eliminate the costs for students enrolled in these programs.
If you have any questions or comments on these bills or anything else happening in Olympia, I encourage you to reach out to my office.
Save the date and times for the upcoming 5th District Town Halls on Feb. 22!
- 1st: Maple Valley
When: 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Where: Tahoma High School Performing Arts Center
23499 SE Tahoma Way, Maple Valley, WA 98038
- 2nd: North Bend
When: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Where: North Bend City Hall
920 SE Cedar Falls Way, North Bend, WA 98045
*Note: I have a family obligation for this town hall, Rep. Ramos and Rep. Callan will be there*
- 3rd: Issaquah
When: 1:30 -2:30 p.m.
Where: Blakely Hall At Issaquah Highlands
2550 NE Park Dr, Issaquah, WA 98029