l Upcoming Events 2013
May 3 – May 5: Washington State PTSA Convention at Bellevue Hyatt
l ISD Homework Policy Committee
Interested in more information on the Issaquah School District Homework Policy? What can we do? Attend one of the meetings below and be a part of the conversation.
Click here to view research, resources and news Weekly HOMEWORK COMMUNITY MEETINGS at almost every school in the District through the end of March. CLICK HERE to view that schedule.
Community Conversation Tool: Helpful Homework Conversation Materials for your meeting.
l Synopsis of the Education Bills passed by the Senate this week (March 11, 2013) and are moving forward to the state House of Representatives.
l 2012-2013 Washington State PTA Legislative Assembly - Recap -
The Washington State PTA Legislative Assembly that took place on October 19 & 20 at the SeaTac Marriott went very well. A big thank you to all who attended! There were some issues that passed and some that failed by a margin smaller than the number of attendees from our school district, so our votes really made a difference.
Here is the legislative platform for 2012-2013 — they are the issues we hope the legislature will take up when the session starts in January:
1. Advance Basic Education Reform: This means to fully implement ESHB 2261, passed in 2010, which redefined basic education in Washington State, both in terms of what types of classes students should take and how schools should be funded. Among other things it calls for the state to fund a six period day in all schools. Kelly Munn (Skyline) submitted an issue similar to this that was merged into this.
2. Fund Education First: This would require the legislature to treat education as a separate issue that gets budgeted first and separately from everything else. It doesn’t necessarily guarantee full funding, but it prevents education from being put on the table during the horsetrading that inevitably occurs during budget negotiations. This issue was submitted by Alison Meryweather, Jody Mull (Issaquah HS), Janine Kotan, Kelly Munn (Skyline), Chad Magendanz (Liberty) and Ken Peatross (Council), among others.
3. Closing the Opportunity Gap: The gap between wealthy students and poor/at risk students is actually widening in Washington according to some measures; having this issue in our top 5 allows Ramona to advocate for a variety of measures that would improve learning and performance for struggling students. It is great to have it in the top 5, because it is broad enough to encompass many different issues and gives PTA lots of flexibility in our advocacy.
4. Revenue for Kids: This acknowledges that more money is needed overall in order to fully fund education without drastically cutting other services. It does not prescribe a certain manner of accomplishing that (i.e., closing tax loopholes, raising the sales tax, etc.) Kelly Munn submitted an issue similar to this that was merged into this.
5. Access to Highly Effective Teachers: This calls for implementation of incentives to attract, retain and develop top teachers and encourage them to teach in high-need schools (one example is providing financial incentives for teachers to become nationally board certified, which Issaquah already does through ISF and PTSA).
The rest of the issues, in no particular order:
- Access to Algebra in Middle School: This already happens in our district, but many other districts lag behind in allowing their students to begin advanced math in middle school. This issue was submitted by Danelle Gonzalez, Issaquah HS
- Screening and Instruction of Struggling Readers
- Social Emotional Learning
- Access, Opportunity and Equity in Special Education
- School Zone Signage
- Positive Behavior Interventions and Support
- Great Family Engagement in Every School
- Access to Quality Early Learning
- Training to Support Highly Capable Learners
What is interesting to me is that of all these non-top 5 issues, all but two of them (Highly Capable and School Zone Signage) have as their goal to close opportunity gaps, so PTA will be able to actively lobby for them should bills be introduced at the legislature or policies be presented to OSPI or the state board of education. Closing gaps is vitally important because Washington State just got a waiver for the draconian punishments of No Child Left Behind, but the waiver is contingent on us showing improvement in our achievement gaps.
We should all be very proud of our school district’s involvement in PTA’s legislative work. Historically, PTA has had a big influence on education issues in Washington State, and Issaquah PTSA’s have played a huge role in that. Let’s keep the pressure on!
This can be your presentation at your next PTSA meeting. Let your members know EACH ONE of them can make a difference, by attending Focus Day on January 24, by being willing to send e-mails to legislators, etc.
It is time to start building your e-mail lists for “action alerts.” At every meeting, pass around a sign-up sheet for people who are willing to e-mail legislators in support of different bills as they arrive (make sure they know which sheet is for e-mail and which sheet is for the homework issue). Sending an e-mail is super easy, takes about 30 seconds to one minute total, and they won’t be bombarded with requests.
How to Recruit an Advocacy Chair CLICK HERE
If you have any questions, please contact the Issaquah PTSA Advocacy/Legislative Chair: