As members of the High School Success Coalition, our organizations have agreed that our collective priority during the legislative session is to advance policy that will increase the number of Washington students graduating from high school prepared for college and career. After a big win in 2019, we have been hard at work during this short legislative session to secure as much momentum for students as we can.
At our fall Coalition meeting we welcomed newest member School’s Out Washington, which shares our vision for recognizing the unique needs of every student and provides quality improvement, professional development, and advocacy to ensure students have expanded learning opportunities after school and in the summer. Having new allies willing to support and engage on our legislative priorities for the 2020 legislative session has strengthened our coalition and has been critical in keeping important legislation moving.
We celebrated an exciting accomplishment last week when SB 6480 was passed off the Senate floor with a vote of 43-3! SB 6480 supports students by making sure they have access to school counselors. Several members of the coalition testified in support of the legislation, which will implement a nationally-recognized comprehensive counseling program in every school and ensure counselors’ time can be spent in service to students who need them.
You can watch testimony here from coalition members Stand for Children Washington, Graduate Tacoma, Black Education Strategy Roundtable.
Now that we’re halfway through the legislative session, we’re all paying close attention to the bills that are still active in the process and that will make a difference for Washington students. Additional legislation on our watch list includes:
- SB 6505 – Reducing financial barriers to dual credit coursework
- HB 2711/SB 6511 – Supporting students who are homeless or in foster care
- SB 6117 – Increasing funding for special education
The first-in-the-nation legislation that our coalition supported in 2019 to expand Academic Acceleration statewide has continued to serve as a lever for change. This policy has positioned us to pursue greater opportunities for students from low-income families by working to cover costs associated with dual-credit exams and course fees.
The next cutoff date for the legislative session is coming up fast, so we’ll be running around the halls of the capitol doing our best to keep critical policy that provides real support for students moving forward. We’ll be in touch with an update on where things land as the end of session approaches on March 12th. Thank you for your continued support of Washington students.
The High School Success Coalition