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The Legislative Assembly Blog is designed to assist Washington State PTA members in assessing the issues submitted for addition to the Washington State PTA legislative platform. The blog provides the supporting documentation for each issue and legislative principle submitted by members and moved forward by the Legislative Committee and the Washington State PTA Board of Directors.

Delegates will be attending the Annual Legislative Assembly on October 18 and 19 to adjust Washington State PTA’s two-year platform, possibly adding to the list of supported issues and possibly amending the current supported issue of Access, Opportunity and Equity for Special Education. We will not be re-ranking the Top 5 – they remain the top priorities until next year’s legislative assembly.

Washington State PTA advocates for MANY issues – legislatively and with outreach and education. The platform is a list of timely legislative priorities that will drive PTA legislative advocacy.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

PROPOSAL TO REVISE RESOLUTION: Funding Basic Education

FUNDING FOR BASIC EDUCATION 18.5; resolution passed 1986; revised 2007; updated 2013

Whereas, the state’s constitution and certain court decisions and legislative acts have provided a strong and enduring foundation for the state’s K-12 public education system; and

Whereas, the state constitution provides that:
  • “It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders…” (Article IX, Section 1); and
  • “The legislature shall provide for a general and uniform system of public schools. …” (Article IX, Section 2); and
Whereas, state courts in School Funding I[1] and II[2] interpreted these articles of the state constitution and established important funding principles for the state, including that:
  • The legislature is required to define “basic education” and provide ample funding for it from regular and dependable tax sources. School Funding I
  • Programs considered basic education are Regular Apportionment[3], Vocational Education, Special Education, Pupil Transportation, Transitional Bilingual Education, Learning Assistance, and Institutional Education. School Funding II
  • The legislature is “required to continually review, evaluate, and revise, if necessary, the educational system of the state and the program of education and its funding to meet the current needs of the children of the state.” School Funding II
  • Once the legislature has established what is considered 100 percent funding of basic education needs, it cannot reduce that funding level due to state revenue problems. School Funding II
  • The legislature may not use special excess levies to fund basic education; although such levies may be used to fund enrichment programs. School Funding I; and
Whereas, in 1977 the legislature passed the Basic Education Act in response to the pending court decision of School Funding I. The Basic Education Act established:
  • “Basic Education” in terms of broad educational goals, and specified minimum hours, days and instructional programs that school districts were required to offer; and
  • State funding formulae consisting of staff-per-student ratios, and
Whereas, in 1993 the Legislature passed the Education Reform Act to place greater emphasis on how well students learn rather than on the time spent learning. The act established four basic education goals[4] for all students:
  • Read with comprehension, write with skill, and communicate effectively and responsibly in a variety of ways and settings;
  • Know and apply the core concepts and principles of mathematics; social, physical, and life sciences; civics and history; geography; art; and health and fitness;
  • Think analytically, logically, and creatively, and to integrate experience and knowledge to form reasoned judgments and solve problems; and
  • Understand the importance of work and how performance, effort, and decisions directly affect future career and educational opportunities; and

Whereas, the Washington State PTA believes that the 1993 Education Reform Act’s four basic education goals together with the Essential Academic Learning Requirements and the Grade Level Expectations redefined basic education and provided a solid foundation for an updated program of basic education; and

Whereas, despite the court ruling in the Washington State Supreme Court in 2012, the Legislature has not implemented the new funding structure to ensure that it fully funds the state’s basic education programs, including current developments in educational requirements and challenges of the future; and

Whereas, funding is still lacking despite the 2009 Legislature’s passage of HB2261 to redefine the state’s education system ensuring the intention to fully fund the state’s basic education programs, such as adopting the prototypical schools funding model, establishing that programs shall be fully funded by the 2018-19 school year, establishing a new funding formula for pupil transportation, to begin during or before 2013, and creating a roadmap for work groups to define the details of the funding formulas; therefore, be it


Whereas, in 2009 the legislature adopted a new basic education funding formula[5] based on a prototypical school funding model that includes small K-3 class sizes and staff mixes for elementary, middle and high school; established a new funding formula for student transportation; created workgroups to define funding details for levies, levy equalization and salary models; and broadened the definition of basic education to include the categorical programs of highly capable, special education, transitional bilingual and learning assistance; and changed the program of instruction to include full-day kindergarten, an additional 80 hours of instruction in grades 7-12, and the opportunity for all students to complete the 24-credit career- and college-aligned graduation requirements;[i] and

Whereas, despite the 2012 Supreme Court decision in the McCleary case that said the state was not amply providing for the education of all children but that reform passed in 2009 (ESHB 2261) would satisfy the court, the legislature continues to delay implementation of the funding structure it designed to ensure full funding of the program of basic education, including educational requirements and challenges of the future;[6][ii]and

Whereas, funding is still lacking, despite legislative intent declared in 2009 (ESHB 2261) and 2010 (SHB 2776) that redefined the program of basic education and funding so it would be fully implemented by 2018, and despite the court order in 2012 that it be funded by 2018.

Therefore, be it

Resolved, that the Washington State PTA urges the legislature to review the revised definition of the state’s basic education funding formula to ensure that it fully funds the definition of basic education created in 2009, including current developments impacting the education of children in Washington State as suggested above by 2018.

Resolved, that the Washington State PTA urges the legislature to review implementation of the revised basic education funding formula to ensure that it fully funds the definition of basic education created in 2009 and gives all children the opportunity to complete the 24-credit career- and college-aligned graduation requirements by 2018.[iii]

Resolved, that the Washington State PTA support revisions to the basic education funding formulas that are clear and transparent to taxpayers, allowing them to understand how funding is tied to the costs of educating different types of students, and all students; and be it further

Resolved, that the Washington State PTA calls upon the legislature to adopt legislation that calls for the continued review and, as necessary, the revision of the state’s education programs and funding system, including the basic education funding formulas, on a regular and timely basis.

Resolved, that the Washington State PTA supports regular and timely revision of the state’s education programs and funding systems, including the basic education funding formulas.[iv]

Resolution Submitted by: Ramona Hattendorf, McClure Middle PTSA 6.15.430

Summary of proposal to revise 18.5, Funding Basic Education:
This proposal corrects and clarifies the status of the state’s program of basic education and changes made in 2009 and reinstates key aspects of what Washington State PTA endorsed in the pre-May 2013 version of this resolution -- that is, that all students need access to a comprehensive and enriching educational program that prepares them for career and college and that basic education needs to cover the staffing, instructional time and all other maintenance, operating and transportation costs associated with giving all students the opportunity to meet grade-level learning standards as well as the opportunity to complete 24-credit high school requirements aligned to career and college expectations.

This proposal deletes two “Whereas” statements and adds in three new ones. The new “Whereas” statements in this proposed revision better capture the scope of legislative changes made in 2009, and better assert the need to stay engaged to ensure the program of basic education reflects and meets evolving needs of our increasingly divergent student population.

This proposal also deletes two “Therefore” statements and adds two new ones. This was done to accurately reflect the status of what remain to be done while maintaining ongoing support for the work underway.

This proposal adds 2 footnotes to document the work of the basic education finance task force and to document the 2012 McCleary court decision.

Rationale to revise 18.5, Funding Basic Education:
Resolution 18.5 is unique in that it documents the legal evolution of the “program of basic education” and captures the advocacy around what Washington State PTA would like to see funded as part of “basic education.” This proposal better summarizes the status of both and will better inform advocates going forward.

As amended in May 2013, the revised “Whereas section” inadequately summarized 2009 legislation (ESHB 2261) that redefined the state’s program of basic education. This left readers of the resolution both with a misguided notion of what happened in 2009, and the impression that WSPTA is satisfied with the earlier 1993 version of basic education. Dropped were references to advocacy around learning expectations and outcomes.

For decades, WSPTA has advocated for a basic education that better prepared all students for college and career, as evidenced in the pre-May 2013 version of this resolution and in our top legislative priority since at least 2005.

The 2009 legislation was complex, but among other additions it asserted all children should have the opportunity to complete 24-credit graduation requirements aligned with career and college readiness. Despite being included in ESHB 2261, these requirements have repeatedly come under attack in the legislature and the requirements remain on hold. It is premature to delete reference to them from this resolution.

[1] School Funding I, Seattle School District v. State, 90 Wn. 2d, 476 (1978)

[2] School Funding II, Seattle School District, et al. v. State, Thurston County 81-2-1713-1 (1983)

[3] Regular Apportionment pays for the instructional, classified, and administrative staff and all nonemployee-related costs for facility and classroom supplies and equipment associated with regular education.

[4]The Education Reform Act also called for specification of the knowledge and the academic and technical skills in eight content areas: reading, mathematics, science, writing, communication, social studies, arts, and health and fitness. These academic standards are called the state’s Essential Academic Learning Requirements.

[5]ESHB 2261 resulted from the work of the Joint Task Force on Basic Education, formed in 2007. That task force filed its final report in January 2009. In its 2012 McCleary decision, the state supreme court accepted this work as a legislative review of the cost of basic education.

[6]Key findings from the 2012 McCleary v State of Washington Supreme Court ruling: “The word “ample” in article IX, section 1 provides a broad constitutional guideline meaning fully, sufficient, and considerably more than just adequate. … Ample funding for basic education must be accomplished by means of dependable and regular tax sources. … “The State has not complied with its article IX, section 1 duty to make ample provision for the education of all children in Washington…. The legislature recently enacted a promising reform package under ESHB 2261, 61st Leg., Reg. Sess. (Wash. 2009), which if fully funded, will remedy deficiencies in the K-12 funding system.”

References and sourcing for changes made to “Whereas” section:

[i]Source: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/documents/billdocs/2009-10/Pdf/Bills/Session%20Laws/House/2261-S.SL.pdf. Session law, ESHB 2261, 2009

[ii]Source: http://www.courts.wa.gov/opinions/pdf/843627.opn.pdf. McCleary v State of Washington. January 2012;

Source:http://www.leg.wa.gov/Senate/Committees/WM/Documents/Report%20to%20Supreme%20Court%20with%20Date%20Stamped%20Cover%20Letter.pdf. 2012 report to the Washington State Supreme Court by the Joint Select Committee on Article IX Litigation. September 2012

[iii]Source: http://www.leg.wa.gov/JointCommittees/AIXLJSC/Documents/August27_2013/ArticleIX2013Report-AdoptedAsAmended8-27-13.pdf. 2013 report to the Washington State Supreme Court by the Joint Select Committee on Article IX Litigation. Aug. 2013.

Source: http://www.courts.wa.gov/opinions/pdf/843627.opn.pdf. McCleary v State of Washington. January 2012

[iv]Note: Brings “Resolved” wording up to date. The legislature created the Quality Education Council (as part of 2009 reform). WSPTA no longer has to call on its creation, but the association should continue to voice support for ongoing review, to stay true to earlier versions of this resolution.

PROPOSED RESOLUTION: Allergies & Asthma

Resolution submitted by: Sally Porter, Sunny Hills PTA 2.6.25; Lisa Callan, Grand Ridge PTA 2.6.10; Julie Hyde, Woodland PTA 4.4.37; Leslie Warwick, Pacific Cascade Middle PTSA 2.6.41

Summary: At the 2013 WSPTA Convention Resolution 11.1 (Juvenile Diabetes) was approved. In health rooms across the U.S., asthma & allergies pose at least an equal risk of threat to the life of a child as diabetes. Therefore, it should be just as imperative for “other school personnel” to be knowledgeable of and receive training in the use of an EpiPen & inhaler.

Whereas: Allergies among youth increased nearly 20 percent nationwide since 1997, with some 4 million children reporting a food allergy in the last 12 months, and 8.3 million reporting a respiratory allergy in the last 12 months; and

Whereas: One out of 25 children has a food allergy, and hospitalization of children for food allergies has also increased; and

Whereas: Food allergies are a particular concern in the school environment, with about 18 percent of children with food allergies having allergic reactions to accidental ingestion of food allergens while in school; and

Whereas: Twenty-five percent of anaphylaxis reactions in schools occur among students without a previous food allergy diagnosis; and

Whereas: Asthma is one of the most common chronic disorders in childhood, affecting one in 10 youth; and

Whereas: More than 4 million children suffered an asthma attack or episode in 2011, and the highest rate of life-threatening reactions occur among youth with asthma; and

Whereas: Many schools do not have a full-time nurse or licensed healthcare professional available on-site to handle medical emergencies, and nursing duties are often performed by other school personnel; and

Whereas: Washington State now allows schools to keep their own supply of epinephrine injectors. Therefore, be it
RESOLVED: That the Washington State PTA urge all school personnel to receive general training on signs and symptoms of asthma and allergic reactions; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Washington State PTA support ongoing efforts and requirements that an appropriate number of staff per school obtain specific training on allergy and asthma care, anaphylaxis emergency protocols to include the use of epipens, and identification and treatment of symptoms of allergy, asthma and anaphylaxis as allowed by individual state statutes and licensures; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Washington State PTA promote awareness of allergy and asthma care, anaphylaxis emergency protocols to include the use of epipens, and identification and treatment of symptoms of allergy, asthma and anaphylaxis in its resource library or back to school information.

RATIONALE: With the incidences of asthma & allergy related issues among children on the rise and the availability of licensed healthcare professionals in our schools to respond to any emergencies caused by these issues limited, this Resolution would allow Washington State PTA to address life-threatening anaphylaxis reactions as caused by asthma and allergy related issues in relationship to addressing the equally important juvenile diabetes issue as voted at the 2013 WSPTA Convention. Research indicates one in 13 children has a food allergy, which is roughly two students per classroom. Appropriate school personnel will interact with these children daily. It is important for the appropriate school personnel to receive training in asthma, allergy, and anaphylaxis emergency protocols that include the use of epipens, which could help save a life. Approximately 24% of first time reactions happen in a school setting. Epinephrine (epipen, Auvi-Q) is a life-saving medication of adrenaline. Epinephrine is an effective medication where the benefits of using it far outweigh potential life-threatening consequences.

References:
  1. On April 23, 2013, ESB 5104 was approved by the Washington State Legislature. The new legislation will allow schools to keep their own supply of “stock” epinephrine injectors (EpiPen®, Auvi-Q™). If a student has a severe allergic reaction at school, but does not have his or her own epinephrine available, this legislation increases the school’s ability to provide a life-saving injection. The new law will allow a licensed healthcare professional (e.g. a doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant) to prescribe epinephrine injectors directly to a school. Schools may keep a supply of “stock” epinephrine on hand at all times. On May 16, 2013, Governor Inslee signed the bill into law at a ceremony at his office in Olympia. http://www.allassoc.com/a-new-epinephrine-law-in-washington-state-schools/
  2. Approximately 24% of all first time allergic reactions happen in a school setting. McIntrye CL, Sheetz A, Carroll CR, Young MC Administration of epinephrine for life threatening allergic reactions in school setting. Pediatrics 2005; 116:1134-1140
  3. The highest rate of reactions is amongst teenagers and children with asthma; this correlation demonstrates that children with asthma will frequently have an increased risk for a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction to an allergen as evidenced by recent research. Boyce et al., “Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States: Report of the NIAID-Sponsored Expert Panel”. J Allergy Clin Immunol, December 2010
  4. Life-Threatening Allergies requiring intervention with an EpiPen affects 1 in every 13 children (under 18 years of age) in the U.S. That’s roughly two in every classroom. According to a 2008 report by the Centers for Disease Control, some 3 million teens and children, or 4 out of every 100 U.S. children and teens, are dealing with food allergies - allergies so severe they can result in death, if not treated in time. That's a rise of nearly one-fifth in the last decade. Some 2.3 million kids suffered from food allergies in 1997. Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN)
  5. http://www.foodallergy.org/facts-and-stats
  6. In 2007, 185 children died from asthma. From 2007-2009, children aged 0–17 years with asthma had a higher asthma visit rate for primary care visits and emergency department visits than adults aged 18 and over. In 2009, about 1 in 10 children (10%) had asthma. Children aged 0–17 years had higher asthma prevalence (9.5%) than adults aged 18 and over (7.7%) for the period 2008–2010. It is not clear how to prevent asthma from developing and there is no cure. http://www.aaaai.org/about-the-aaaai/newsroom/asthma-statistics.aspx
  7. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db94.htm
  8. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/lung/index.htm#schools
  9. About 70% of asthmatics also have allergies. http://www.who.int/gard/publications/GARD%20Book%202007.pdf
  10. www.worldallergy.org/publications/wao_white_book.pdf
  11. Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases among children. In 2010, 9 percent of all children were reported to currently have asthma, which includes children with active asthma symptoms and children with well-controlled asthma. This percentage has increased slightly from 2001 to 2010. Children with active asthma symptoms are at risk for poorer health outcomes. Over the past decade, between 5 and 6 percent of all children (or 3 out of 5 children who currently have asthma) had one or more asthma attacks in the previous 12 months. http://childstats.gov/americaschildren/health.asp
  12. A 2011 CDC study found that the percentage of children 0-18 in the U.S. who have asthma ranges from 8.7% to 11.4%. The same study found the percentage of children 0-18 in the U.S. that have allergies ranges from 5.4% to 14.2%. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/sr10_254.pdf
  13. A-Z Index of Health Topics http://www.k12.wa.us/HealthServices/Resources.aspx Source: Katie Johnson @ OSPI
  14. http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/asthma/resources/facts-and-figures/asthma-children-fact-sheet.html
  15. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/01facts/asthma.htm
  16. Among children ages 5 to 17, asthma is the leading cause of school absences from a chronic illness. It accounts for an annual loss of more than 14 million school days per year (approximately 8 days for each student with asthma) and more hospitalizations than any other childhood disease. It is estimated that children with asthma spend an nearly 8 million days per year restricted to bed. http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9&sub=42#cost
  17. Children with food allergies are 2-4 times more likely to experience other allergic reactions and asthma than those without food allergies (Branum & Lukacs, 2008. Food allergy among children: Trends in prevalence and hospitalization. NCHC Data Brief, 10. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db10.htm). Once an infrequent occurrence, anaphylaxis has increased dramatically, and 16-18% of students with food allergies have experienced an allergic reaction in school (Young, Munoz-Furlong, & Sicherer, 2009. Management of food allergies in school: A perspective for allergists. Journal of Allergy Clinical Immunology, 124(2), 175-183.) http://www.nasn.org/PolicyAdvocacy/PositionPapersandReports/NASNPositionStatementsFullView/tabid/462/ArticleId/9/Allergy-Anaphylaxis-Management-in-the-School-Setting-Revised-June-2012
  18. School staff must not only be aware of signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction, but also be prepared to intervene and properly respond to an anaphylactic reaction in order to effectively support a student with a life-threatening emergency (NSBA, 2011). Training must be provided at least annually to school personnel that are involved with the student during the school day, extracurricular activities, field trips and before/after school programs. http://www.nsba.org/BoardLeadership/SchoolHealth/Food-Allergy-Policy-Guide.pdf
  19. Child's Life Threatening Food Allergies More Common Than Thought http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/229041.php
  20. Managing Life Threatening Food Allergies in Schools http://www.doe.mass.edu/cnp/allergy.pdf
  21. Guidelines for Care of Students with Anaphylaxis http://www.k12.wa.us/healthservices/pubdocs/GuidelinesforCareofStudentswithAnaphylaxis2009.pdf#

PROPOSED RESOLUTION: Access to General Education for Students with Disabilities

Resolution submitted by Barbara O’Kelly, Marysville Special Ed PTA 7.4.70

Summary: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA ’04) is designed to provide students with disabilities access to the general education curriculum in the general education classroom. Such an environment improves educational outcomes for all students. According to OSPI, barely half of the students with disabilities are being educated in general education classroom the majority of the day. We can do better. Students with disabilities are general education students first and have the right to the same access with supports in the general education setting as their non-disabled peers. It is the right of students with disabilities to fully participate in society, beginning in their school community. Educating together has long-lasting, positive benefits in the development of social and academic skills that enhance classroom achievement and post-secondary success for all students.

Whereas: The Washington State PTA has a mission to be a strong advocate for the education and well-being of all children; and with a particular focus on an inclusive and diverse educational environment; and; Whereas: Federal and State law governing the rights of students with disabilities promote inclusive educational settings. Specifically, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA ’04) states “having high expectations for such children and ensuring their access to the general education curriculum in the regular classroom to the maximum extent possible”; and,

Whereas: Best practices for inclusive education of students with disabilities result in the primary aims of education, such as “tolerance for diversity, equity, equality, community integration, and achievement for all students.” This means that “educators and researchers must focus on ways to ensure that inclusion continues to be fostered and that more effective integration strategies and techniques are developed.”

Whereas: Federal law governing the rights of students with disabilities (IDEA ’04) demands inclusive approaches to educating them, specifically requiring that “each state must establish procedures to assure that, to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities…are educated with children who are not disabled.” Federal law views removal of students with disabilities from their general education setting as a last resort. This means that schools may remove students “only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily”; and,

Whereas: In February 2012, the Washington State OSPI reported that only 50.05% of students with disabilities were educated in the general education setting 80-100% of the time, and only 34.17% for 40-79% of the time with no set targets to meet despite the fact that the US Department of Education has cited that WA is not educating enough students with disabilities in general education classrooms.

Whereas: Federal law governing the rights of students with disabilities (IDEA ’04) strengthens the role and responsibility of parents in determining what constitutes an appropriate education for their child. The law aims to ensure knowledgeable, active, and meaningful parent engagement in their child’s education program, school, and their classroom by providing accurate information and opportunities to participate in the decision making process and development of educational plans.

Whereas: Parental involvement is vital to student success, and the State’s goal for parental participation in special education is currently unmet (goal of 28%). Improving parent engagement is vital to improving and reaching educational goals for students with disabilities.

          Therefore, be it:

Resolved, that the Washington State PTA will advocate for better accountability regarding programs, policies and procedures at the state, educational service district, individual school district, and school building levels that ensure that students with disabilities are educated in the Least Restrictive Environment having access to the general education classroom and curriculum with appropriate supports, and learning alongside their typically developing peers according to the true meaning of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA ‘04).

Resolved, that the Washington State PTA will advocate at the Federal, State, District and School levels to create an environment that ensures that parents of children with disabilities are equal partners in education. Furthermore, that parents are provided the information and opportunities for meaningful engagement and participation in their child’s educational program in school resulting in students receiving appropriate supports and services to be prepared for college, career and life.

RATIONALE: The Washington State PTA’s mission and vision are inclusive of all students, including students with disabilities. Federal law requires that a student in special education be educated in the “Least Restrictive Environment” to meet the student’s educational goals. These students do not lack potential, they lack opportunities. All students with disabilities are students in general education first and students in special education second. They have the basic right to the general education environment and curriculum in their neighborhood school with high expectations and high standards to the maximum extent possible. There is a persistent and unacceptable practice of educating students with disabilities in a separate classroom as the default position. While we recognize that some students would not be appropriately served in a general education classroom, special education is a service not a place. Separating students with disabilities as a matter of policy based on status as a student with a disability is inappropriate and does not consider the student’s individual needs as required under Federal law.

Public schools are merely required to meet the low targets set by OSPI. These low expectations and accompanying low standards do not result in improved outcomes or preparation for college, career or life. We need to demand high expectations and high standards for all learners. Furthermore, we need to expect the best from all learners, including students with disabilities.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Add to Safe and Nurturing Environments for Children and Youth Legislative Principle: Prevention of trafficking, sexual exploitation and abuse of minors

SAFE AND NURTURING ENVIRONMENTS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH
The WSPTA shall identify and initiate education and action on public policy that provides safe and supportive settings and climates for children and youth. The association shall support:
  • Anti-bullying and anti-harassment
  • Multi-cultural education
  • Student and parent education regarding internet safety
  • Media education
  • Traffic and pedestrian safety
  • Substance abuse prevention
  • Safe and healthy schools, which reduce environmental hazards
  • Consistent, age-appropriate, unstructured play opportunities
  • Prevention of trafficking, sexual exploitation and abuse of minors

ISSUE SUBMITTED BY: Karen Albers, McClure PTA, 11.2.45 and Barbara Justis, McClure PTA, 11.2.45.

SUBMITTER STATEMENT FOR ADOPTION:
According to the Washington State Attorney General’s office, the commercial sexual exploitation of children and young people is a growing issue in our state. Washington State is a hotbed for the recruitment, transportation and sale of people for labor because of 1) Canadian border; 2) abundance of ports; 3) vast rural areas; and 4) dependency on agricultural workers. Seattle is part of a trafficking circuit that can include Honolulu, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Portland, Vancouver (Clark County), Yakima and Canada. Even though commercially sexually exploited children are routinely arrested as prostitutes and charged with prostitution, every act of “prostitution” where a child is involved is actually an act of child abuse, rape, and sexual exploitation.

Children who are sexually exploited should be safeguarded from further harm. On average, children first become victims of sexual exploitation at 13 or 14 years of age. Sexually exploited children should not be regarded as criminals and the primary law enforcement response must be directed at perpetrators who groom children for sexual exploitation. In order to protect children, we need to 1) support the adoption and enforcement of laws that will deter the recruitment, transportation, transfer, and harboring of children for sexual exploitation; 2) increase the penalties associated with crimes against children; 3) support local communities in their efforts to strengthen local and state laws pertaining to child sexual exploitation; and 4) provide housing and services for the treatment for the physical, psychological, and social recovery of child victims.

WSPTA Board: Do Pass recommendation

CONTEXT AND TIMELINESS:
According to the Washington State Attorney General’s office, our state is a hotbed for the recruitment, transportation and sale of people for labor. Trafficking has been reported in 18 counties. Domestic minor sex trafficking victims are US citizens or lawful permanent residents under the age of 18 who have been recruited, harbored, transported, provided or obtained to perform commercial sex acts, which are defined as any sex acts done in exchange for monetary or other non-monetary gain.

Washington State PTA advocates on behalf of children’s health, safety, education and welfare. In 2011 more juveniles were arrested for prostitution in Washington than any other state for the third year in a row, according to the Seattle division of the FBI. At least one prostitution case per month was reported in Bellingham in the last two years, according to Bellingham Police logs. Access Freedom recognizes that the children most impacted are those beneath the poverty line. Young people at the fringes of school, runaways looking for someone to care and previously abused victims fall into the traps of traffickers who often pretend to love them. Sexual abuse and exploitation can result in short term and long term harm, to include depression, poor self-esteem, dissociative and anxiety disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, sleeping/eating disorders, suicide, self-inflicted harm, crime, alcoholism, etc. Sexual abuse and exploitation ultimately can have profound and potential irreversible effects on a child.

Sources:
The Western Front: “Western student shares thoughts on human trafficking in Washington state”, February 12, 2013 http://www.westernfrontonline.net/news/article_b47f31c4-7527-11e2-97ae-001a4bcf6878.html

Washington State Office of the Attorney General: Human Trafficking http://www.atg.wa.gov/HumanTrafficking.aspx#.UaqDjJyyJRE

WHY THIS ISSUE SHOULD BE ADDED TO LEGISLATIVE PRINICIPLES:
National PTA Resolution: CHILD TRAFFICKING, passed 2009.

This has not been on our WSPTA platform, but has been a topic with a lot of legislative activity. By adding it to principles, WSPTA can stay engaged with ongoing efforts to curb trafficking, sexual exploitation and abuse of minors.

Recent legislation:

2013 - Senate Bill 5669: Concerning trafficking (signed by Gov. Inslee May 2013)

2013 - Senate Bill 5448: Establishing an enhanced penalty for the use of an internet advertisement to facilitate the commission of a sex-trafficking crime (signed by Gov. Inslee April 2013)

2013 - Senate Bill 5308: Establishing the commercially sexually exploited children statewide coordinating committee (signed by Gov. Inslee May 2013)

2013 - Senate Bill 5563: Regarding training for school employees in the prevention of sexual abuse (signed by Gov. Inslee April 2013)

2011 - SHB 1874: Addressing police investigations of commercial sexual exploitation of children and human trafficking (signed by Gov. Gregoire May 2011)

2010 - Senate Bill 6476: Revising provisions related to sex crimes involving minors (signed by Gov. Gregoire April 2010)

2003 - SHB 1175: Prohibiting trafficking in persons (signed by Gov. Locke May 2003)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Add to Safe and Nurturing Environments for Children and Youth Legislative Principle: Social Emotional Learning

SAFE AND NURTURING ENVIRONMENTS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH
The WSPTA shall identify and initiate education and action on public policy that provides safe and supportive settings and climates for children and youth. The association shall support:
  • Anti-bullying and anti-harassment
  • Multi-cultural education
  • Student and parent education regarding internet safety
  • Media education
  • Traffic and pedestrian safety
  • Substance abuse prevention
  • Safe and healthy schools, which reduce environmental hazards
  • Consistent, age-appropriate, unstructured play opportunities
  • Social Emotional Learning

ISSUE SUBMITTED BY: Sarah Butcher, Bellevue Special Needs PTA, 2.3.165 and Jennifer Karls, Bellevue Special Needs PTA, 2.3.165.

SUBMITTER STATEMENT FOR ADOPTION:
The Washington State PTA has an inclusive vision of making every child’s potential a reality.

Social and Emotional Learning is the process that leads to the development of emotional intelligence - that is, the process by which we learn to understand and manage our emotions and learn how they affect the choices we make and the relationships we have. It includes the acquisition and the use of specific skills that are at the heart of a child's academic, personal, social and civic development.

Social emotional learning is not a curriculum. Rather it is a cultural aspect of schools and educational practices. All decisions in education, whether at the school, district or state level have an impact on the social and emotional well-being of a child and the school community. Extensive research has found that social and emotional learning improves academic achievement, helps students develop self-management and self-control, improves relationships at all levels of the school community, reduces conflict among students, improves teachers' classroom management, and helps young people to be healthier and more successful in school and life. It is vital to recognize the foundational importance of social emotional learning and to support the acquisition and usage of these skills in order to support, grow and empower children while creating safe and stimulating school environments.

WSPTA Board: Do Pass recommendation

CONTEXT AND TIMELINESS:
Social and emotional learning (SEL) is a valuable strategy to promote student success and effective school reform. Extensive research has found that social and emotional learning improves academic achievement, helps students develop self-management and self-control, improves relationships at all levels of the school-community, reduces conflict among students, improves teachers’ classroom management, and helps young people to be healthier and more successful in school and life. The acquisition of these skills is essential for all children and will be necessary with the adoption of the Common Core State Standards.

WHY THIS ISSUE SHOULD BE ADDED TO LEGISLATIVE PRINICIPLES:
By adding this to Washington State PTA Legislative Principles, WSPTA will be able to stay engaged with ongoing advocacy efforts of Social Emotional Learning. The Washington State PTA has 2012-2014 Short Term Platform Issue number 3, Close the Opportunity Gaps and the Also Supported Issue of Social Emotional Learning which address the proposed principle.

Washington State PTA has the following Resolutions with which this proposal aligns:
4.3     Excellence in our Education System, Resolution Passed 1983
4.7     Public School Dropout prevention/retrieval, Resolution passed 1988; amended 2007
19.3   Support for Children with Economic Disadvantages, Board Position 1986; Resolution passed 2006; Amended 2007.

Add to Public Education Policies and Funding Legislative Principal: Ensuring the provision of high quality special education services and accommodations to improve outcomes for all students with disabilities and special needs.

PUBLIC EDUCATION POLICIES AND FUNDING

The WSPTA shall identify and initiate education and action on public policy that will strengthen public education for our state’s children and youth. The association shall support:
  • Alternative programs for all schools
  • K-12 class sizes aligned with best-practice research findings
  • Continued support for education reform efforts
  • Re-defining basic education
  • Reducing the achievement gap
  • Promotion of early childhood education programs
  • Alignment of P-12 and higher education requirements
  • Restructuring of education funding in Washington state
  • Reduction of high school dropout rates
  • Levy and bond election reform
  • Increased state-match funding for school facilities construction and renovation
  • Ample transportation funding
  • Equitable levy and local effort assistance (LEA) funding per student
  • Equitable school staff salaries
  • Ensuring the provision of high quality special education services and accommodations to improve outcomes for all students with disabilities and special needs


ISSUE SUBMITTED BY: Sarah Butcher, Bellevue Special Needs PTA, 2.3.165 and Jennifer Karls, Bellevue Special Needs PTA, 2.3.165.

SUBMITTER STATEMENT FOR ADOPTION:
The Washington State PTA has an inclusive vision of making every child’s potential a reality.

Children in special education present a unique set of needs within the education system. While many education conversations, department missions, and visions speak of "all" children, children with disabilities and special needs are often separated or completely left out. This leaves us with a system where special education students represent the second largest subgroup in our opportunity gap and a little more than half of them graduate on time. It is convenient to blame a child’s lack of progress on their disability, but we know that 80% of them could be expected to perform as well as their non-disabled peers.

Washington State education priorities, policies and practices continue to evolve and change. With the Washington State PTA advocating to make every child's potential a reality, we see a necessity to have a foundational principle that supports awareness of the implications education policy and funding issues will have on special education and the impact on all children with disabilities and special needs.

(Source: OSPI data 2011-2012; National Center for Learning Disabilities).

WSPTA Board: Do Pass recommendation

CONTEXT AND TIMELINESS:
Children in special education are in every area of our education system. They represent a diverse group of children with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. To each classroom, school and community they bring unique needs and challenges and they also bring many strengths and gifts. The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA 2004) requires having high expectations for such children and ensuring their access to the general education curriculum in the regular classroom to the maximum extent possible. Without attention and focus on how ALL education issues can impact this group of students who are present in all of our classrooms and communities, we are literally and figuratively segregating them from the very system that should be fully inclusive.

Washington has over 158,000 children with disabilities. Over 138,000 of those children receive services through special education. In the 2011-12 school year only 56% of special education students graduated on time (Source: OSPI data 2011-2012). In comparison, The National Center for Learning Disabilities states that approximately 80% of students who receive services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) could be expected to perform as well as their non-disabled peers. Too often the focus on special education centers on compliance issues. While important, we send a child to school to be educated; outcomes must be considered. A child’s disability does not define their potential. As standards are lowered and alternative assessments assigned, students move further and further away from accessing general education curriculum and graduating with a meaningful diploma. We must begin to expect ALL children to achieve high levels of performance, including those with disabilities.

WHY THIS ISSUE SHOULD BE ADDED TO LEGISLATIVE PRINICIPLES:
By adding this to Washington State PTA Legislative Principles, WSPTA will be able to stay engaged with ongoing advocacy efforts of ensuring the provision of high quality special education services and accommodations to improve outcomes for all students with disabilities and special needs.

The Washington State PTA has the following Resolutions with which this proposal aligns:

18.22 Children with Special Needs (Board Position 1986, Resolution passed 2007, amended 2008)
18.27 No Child Left Behind and the 1% (Resolution passed 2010)

The Washington State PTA has the following 2012-2014 short-term platform issues of Closing the Opportunity Gaps and the also supported issue of Access, Opportunity and Equity for Special Education which address elements of the proposed principle.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Short-term Issue: Sufficient and equitable funding for highly capable programming

UPDATE: This proposal passed Oct. 19, 2013.

PROPOSED: The Washington State PTA shall initiate and/or support legislation or policies that ensure sufficient and equitable state funding for highly capable programming. State funding should be consistent with the recommendations of the Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group and should be calculated at 5% of full time enrollment (FTE) -- the equivalent of 6.5 hours of instruction per week in a class size of 15 in grades K-6 and 3.1 hours of instruction per week in a class size of 15 in grades 7-12 -- until such time as there is evidence to support funding at a different level.

ISSUE SUBMITTED BY: David Berg, Meeker Elementary PTA, 5.7.30 and Janis Traven, Garfield High School PTSA, 6.15.467.

SUBMITTER STATEMENT FOR ADOPTION: For highly capable students, access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction is access to a basic education. Highly capable students across our state, whether in high poverty, small, or rural districts, are entitled to the same opportunities for a basic education as those in urban or wealthy districts. Students who are sometimes identified as behavior problems in elementary school or who might become drop outs in middle and high school are often unidentified gifted students whose needs have not been assessed and addressed. Current funding levels are insufficient to meet the demonstrated needs of these students.

Requiring parents of highly capable students to lobby their school boards to ensure access to a basic education is neither fair nor equitable, yet that is what the current state funding plan requires them to do. Access to highly capable programming is a part of our state’s definition of basic education. As basic education, it is the obligation of the state to provide ample funding to deliver accelerated learning and enhanced instruction to eligible students in grades K-12.

Given the opportunity to change the funding formula for highly capable services during the 2013 legislative session, our legislators took no action. They made no attempt to include a change in the HCP funding formula in any of the implementation schedules that were debated.

Increasing funding for highly capable services is an important step towards providing equitable access for all eligible students, regardless of their zip code. Fully fund basic education for ALL of our students.

WSPTA Board: Do Pass recommendation

CONTEXT AND TIMELINESS:
Washington State defines highly capable students as “students who perform or show potential for performing at significantly advanced academic levels when compared with others of their age, experiences, or environments. Outstanding abilities are seen within students' general intellectual aptitudes, specific academic abilities, and/or creative productivities within a specific domain. These students are present not only in the general populace, but are present within all protected classes.” (WAC 392-170-035) For highly capable students, access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction is access to a basic education. (WAC 392-170-012)

The National Association for Gifted Children explains that “all children have strengths and positive attributes, but not all children are gifted in the educational sense of the word. The label “gifted” in a school setting means that when compared to others his or her age or grade, a child has an advanced capacity to learn and apply what is learned in one or more subject areas, or in the performing or fine arts. This advanced capacity requires modifications to the regular curriculum to ensure these children are challenged and learn new material. Gifted does not connote good or better; it is a term that allows students to be identified for services that meet their unique learning needs.”

As a mandated part of Basic Education (RCW 28A.185.020), some part of state appropriations for Basic Education ought to be spent on Highly Capable Programs (HCP) to meet the unique learning needs of highly capable learners. Basic Education funds are used to pay for classrooms, teachers, text books, administrative costs, etc. However, there are additional costs to districts for things such as professional development specific to issues of highly capable learners, a specialized differentiated curriculum, reporting to OSPI, and the additional costs of identifying possible candidates for HCP and testing those students to establish their eligibility for HCP that require supplemental funds.

In larger districts or in larger schools, there may be a sufficient number of students who qualify at a particular grade level to fill a dedicated full time classroom. In those districts, a highly capable class might take the place of a regular education classroom, avoiding the costs of supplemental transportation, facilities, and teachers. In many areas, there may not be a critical mass of students eligible for highly capable programming at a chosen grade level. In those areas, a highly capable classroom might only be filled through grouping students from neighboring schools or districts together, increasing transportation costs to a district. A district may elect to provide services through a pull-out model, which increases costs as an additional classroom and an additional teacher might be required, as well as the costs of transporting students to the pull out site.

Some districts are able to supplement HCP funding from the state with local levy funds, while others cannot. For Districts that had not previously offered a highly capable program, there are additional startup costs for professional development and establishing the framework for their highly capable program in addition to the costs of identifying students and offering a program. Many small districts today report that the state allotment for highly capable is not sufficient to cover the costs of administration, let alone testing or actually providing programming. The discrepancies from one district to another mean that for some students, access to highly capable programming is more dependent on zip code than abilities. The Supreme Court decision in the McCleary lawsuit held that such inequities in the funding of the program of basic education was unconstitutional, yet for this part of basic education, the inequities persist.

The legislature recognized that there were additional costs for a district to maintain a highly capable program and elected to allocate categorical funds to cover that cost. The funding formula today provides the equivalent of 2.159 hours of instruction per week in a class size of 15. That amount has remained unchanged since 2007. That does not mean that a highly capable classroom will only have 15 students – it is only part of a formula used to keep funding equivalent to previous levels. The amount funded is not an amount supported by research, nor is it consistent with changes to the definition of basic education passed by the legislature in ESHB 2261. The formula used to allocate these funds is a carryover from 2007 when HCP was a voluntary, categorical program, participated in by only 60% of the state’s school districts and serving mostly students in grades 3-6. As part of Basic Education, all districts must now provide a continuum of services for grades K-12. The legislature has effectively offered up the same size pie as was offered in the past, mandated that more districts take a slice, and further that each slice be larger. Such a mandate cannot work, and every district will feel the impact of the legislature’s failure to act.

As part of the move into basic education, the legislature formed a Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group (HCPTWG) to review and propose changes to the program. They recommended the funding formula for HCP should be changed to provide an allocation to serve approximately 5% of FTE. As a formula, supplementary funds provided by the state for the program for highly capable students are categorical funds to provide services to highly capable students as determined by a school district (RCW 28A.185.020). The allocation is intended to provide the equivalent of 6.5 hours of instruction per week in a class size of 15 for grades K-6 and 3.1 hours of instruction per week in a class size of 15 for grades 7-12. Again, this is only a formula, and does not mean that a classroom actually be 15 students, or that exactly 6.5 hours of supplemental instruction would be provided in a week.

The HCPTWG recognized that changing the program of highly capable education to one that mandated all districts participate, and one that mandated those districts serve students throughout their educational careers, would have additional costs. The supplemental funds that have been provided by the legislature were expected to be increased to meet this need. Instead, legislators have chosen to leave those supplemental funds unchanged and told advocates that the additional basic education dollars being provided to comply with the McCleary court decision will be sufficient, as long as parents approach each individual district separately and ask that those funds be spent to support the highly capable program. This approach will not provide sufficient and equitable funding for all highly capable programming. Adoption of this issue would provide a basis to ensure sufficient and equitable funding.

Fiscal impact: The existing formula, using the equivalent of 2.314% of FTE to drive funding, results in a budget allocation of $19,236,000 per biennium. The HCPTWG recommended formula using the equivalent of 5% of FTE to drive funding will result in a budget allocation of approximately $43,194,000 per biennium.

WHY IS IT A PTA ISSUE?
Washington State PTA has long advocated for highly capable students. The WSPTA worked to include highly capable instruction as part of basic education in ESHB 2261 and participated in the Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group (HCPTWG) that drafted recommendations for the state legislature (including this recommendation on funding). The WSPTA membership adopted a short-term legislative position endorsing the recommendations of the HCPTWG in 2011. In 2012, the WSPTA membership adopted our current position supporting the training of educators to support highly capable learners. Adoption of this issue to our platform would support funding for that training.

This issue aligns with resolutions:
18.5 Funding for Basic Education
18.22 Children with Special Needs
18.29 Equitable Educational Opportunities

As well as: National PTA Position Statement on Education Emphasis