Legislative Advocacy

PTA Takes Action (from WA State PTA)
Washington lawmakers make important decisions that affect the health, welfare, safety, and educational opportunities for every child across the state. Join other Washington State PTA (WSPTA) members and leaders to advocate for all students. As a PTA member you are in a unique position to establish yourself as a credible resource for information dealing with aspects of the whole child.

By working collaboratively, we can strengthen our voice to improve the quality of our children’s health, welfare, safety, and education. Washington State PTA continues to work to engage members in raising their voice for every child. A subscription to WSPTA’s Action Network Group provides timely information and action alerts on WSPTA’s legislative platform items that your legislators are actively working on.

Upcoming Events:
2022 Legislative Assembly - Oct.16-17th

Stillwater PTSA Advocacy Chair
Amy McHenry
advocate@stillwaterptsa.org

Riverview PTSA Council Advocacy:
Riverview PTSA Council
Council Advocacy Chair:
Salwa Raphael
salwaraphael@gmail.com

Advocacy Websites & Resources:
WA State PTA
National PTA
Washington State Senators
WA PTSA Advocacy
WA PTSA Advocacy & Legislative Resources 
National PTA Advocacy Resources

Region 2 Service Delivery Team: rlc2@wastatepta.org

Washington State Legislative Director:
Nancy Chamberlain, ptalegdir@wastatepta.org

 

Nov 2021 Advocacy Chair Update:

At the end of October, I attended the 2021 Washington State PTA Legislative Assembly, It was virtual again this year and they utilized a new platform that increased the accessibility and organization of the materials and individual events.

 

The WSPTA legislative platform is a two-year platform to mirror the Washington state legislative cycle. During the even-numbered years, the new platform is voted on by members at the legislative assembly in the fall. The top five issues become the short-term platform and consist of the priority issues when advocating throughout the year. Other issues are placed on an “also supported” list. During the odd-numbered years (like this year 2021) members vote to amend current issues or to add new, emerging issues to the supported list.

 

There were no new or amended legislative principles or issues for the 2021 legislative assembly. Delegates voted on three new resolutions, and two existing resolutions with proposed amendments. Each proposed resolution contains several pages of Whereas clauses as well as persuasive statements from the submitters. Below, I’ve chosen to just include the actual resolution adopted for quicker reading. If you’d like more information about the why please email me and I can send you more reading!

 

Proposed New Resolution #1: Improving Literacy and Educational Outcome

RESOLUTION 1 ADOPTED: 170 tallied votes: 168 YES and 2 NO

Therefore be it

Resolved, that Washington State PTA and its local PTAs and councils shall collaborate with educational entities, interest groups, and communities to advocate for policies, practices, and curriculum that improve literacy and educational outcomes for all students by:

  • Ensuring all Washington students receive explicit, systematic, evidence-based instruction and assessments in all five essential literacy components, with attention to oral and written literacy development and sound-symbol instruction, provided by highly trained teachers
  • Removing systemic barriers that delay assessment and intervention regarding literacy, language, spelling, and writing skills, with an intentional focus on early identification and intervention for students of color, indigenous populations, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities
  • Supporting family engagement policies using best practices regarding literacy development to include purposeful communication about assessment, instruction, intervention, progress monitoring, and the methods, tools, and strategies families and caregivers can use to support struggling students at home
  • Ensuring families and caregivers are provided the information, assistance, appropriate supports, and materials (in an accessible format and the home language or dialect) to understand and effectively address and redress literacy and oral language skill gaps
  • Providing learning opportunities for school board members, families, and communities about evidence-based instruction related to foundational reading skills; and be it further

Resolved, that Washington State PTA and its local PTAs and councils shall advocate for curriculum, instructional policies, and pre-service and in-service educator training that ensure all teachers are highly trained and effective at using evidence-based literacy instruction, including, but not limited to:

  • Requiring pre-service educators to meet minimum competency requirements that includes mastery of foundational reading skills and knowledge of instruction aligned with the science of reading
  • Requiring minimum yearly clock hours to maintain licensure, that includes foundational reading skills, teaching strategies, and instructional curricula that align with the science of reading
  • Offering opportunities for educators to specialize in literacy through expanded credentialing options
  • Requiring OSPI to collect and share district data regarding the type of literacy screening instruments, type of intervention, related progress data, and identification of those specific populations at most risk
  • Providing educators with instructional materials that allow for the explicit teaching of foundational literacy skills
  • Requiring teacher preparation programs to provide instruction for teachers-in-training regarding comprehensive literacy instruction that is aligned with ESSA and the science of reading, and includes the five foundational reading skills (phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension)
  • Providing opportunities for professional development for pre-K-12 educators, administrators, and educational support staff; and be it further

Resolved, that Washington State PTA and its local PTAs and councils shall advocate for state and federal funding to improve literacy and educational outcomes for all students, including, but not limited to, support for:

  • Districts with their effort to effectively train in-service teachers in evidenced-based literacy practices
  • OSPI’s data collection and efforts to offer, produce or curate in-person and web-based professional development in the science of reading, evidence-based literacy practices, and the five components of reading
  • The alignment of classroom instruction with evidence-based practices and reading science
  • The purchase and distribution of curriculum and reading materials that align with the science of reading

 

Proposed New Resolution #2: Increasing Access and Affordability of Post-Secondary Education

Resolution 2 Amendment 1 ADOPTED: 169 tallied votes: 165 YES and 4 NO

Resolution 2 Amendment 2 ADOPTED: 169 tallied votes: 167 YES and 2 NO

Resolution 2 Amendment 3 ADOPTED: 164 tallied votes: 161 YES and 3 NO

Resolution 2 Amendment 4 ADOPTED: 167 tallied votes: 161 YES and 6 NO

RESOLUTION 2 as Amended ADOPTED: 156 tallied votes: 154 YES and 2 NO

Therefore be it

Resolved, that Washington State PTA and its local PTAs and councils shall advocate for policies and programs that:

  • Expand access and eliminate inequitable or punitive restrictions to scholarship programs
  • Increase opportunities for all students (especially low-income, high mobility, BIPOC and LGBTQ+, rural, potential first-generation post-secondary students, students with disabilities, and other underrepresented post-secondary groups) to achieve a post-secondary credential or degree

Resolved, that Washington State PTA and its local PTAs and councils shall advocate for policies and programs that outreach to families, guardians, and students to:

  • Specifically reach low-income, high-mobility students, BIPOC and LGBTQ+, rural, potential first-generation post-secondary students, students with disabilities, and other under-represented postsecondary groups to ensure they can realize a post-secondary degree/credential and earn a living wage
  • Provide ongoing communication about the many options and logistics of receiving post-secondary credit (dual credit) in high school
  • Provide communication on post-secondary scholarships, grants, and options with trained or certified post-secondary career counselors in our high schools
  • Assist families with the process to enroll and obtain credit for dual credit classes, and be it further

Resolved, that Washington State PTA and its local PTAs and councils shall advocate for policies and programs that make post-secondary education within reach for all Washington state students, including but not limited to:

  • Increasing state funding to:
    • Cover all dual-credit fees, thereby allowing all students to participate without financial implications and ensures that all students who receive a qualifying grade can receive the dual credit earned
    • Fund high school “career counselors” that are specifically trained in post-secondary options and logistics
    • Cover costs for tuition, books, counseling, mentorships and affordable student housing both on and off-campus
    • Offer state-wide “Free Community and Technical College for All” and include wrap-around support services in high school and college to ensure post-secondary graduation success
  • Increase access to BA/BS degrees by expanding the number of regional campuses of our state universities and also expanding the number of Community and Technical colleges that can offer Baccalaureate degrees
  • Increase revenues to support post-secondary access that is not from regressive funding sources, nor take funds away from other education, social, or health programs.

 

Proposed New Resolution #3: Improving Outcomes for Children and Youth in Highly Mobile Populations

Resolution 3 Amendment 1 ADOPTED: 152 tallied votes: 152 YES and 0 NO

Resolution 3 Amendment 2 ADOPTED: 136 tallied votes: 126 YES and 10 NO

Motion to Amend AMEND.3 to Resolution 3: ADOPTED: 126 tallied votes: 124 YES and 2 NO

ADOPTION of Resolution 3 Amendment 3: 133 tallied votes: 132 YES and 1 NO

RESOLUTION 3 as Amended ADOPTED: 131 tallied votes: 131 YES and 0 NO

Therefore be it

Resolved, that Washington State PTA and its local PTAs and councils advocate for equitable, anti-racist public policies and legislation that improve outcomes and graduation rates for all highly mobile children and youth such as students experiencing foster care, housing instability, incarceration or who are in migrant or military families by:

  • Providing the needed educational and social-emotional supports;
  • Removing barriers to on-time grade level progression and graduation;
  • Addressing their medical, dental, and mental health needs;
  • Protecting their right to a healthy, safe, stable, and crisis-free environment;
  • Preventing homelessness and reducing housing instability and food insecurity for children, youth, and families;
  • Continuing to ensure that the provisions of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987 are improving homelessness equitability and increasing access to education;
  • Encouraging collaboration between the state legislature, relevant state agencies and departments, other groups, school districts, teachers, and families; and be it further

Resolved, that Washington State PTA and its local PTAs and councils advocate for equitable, anti-racist school district policies that improve outcomes and graduation rates for all highly mobile children and youth including, but not limited to:

  • Ensuring adherence to the laws providing protection and access to education;
  • Supporting research-based instructional supports and best practices shown to close gaps;
  • Removing barriers to on-time grade level progression and graduation;
  • Encouraging deficit-based dropout prevention, intervention practices, and alternative pathways;
  • Addressing food insecurity;
  • Requiring comprehensive guidelines and anti-racist and anti-bias training for all school staff about when it is, or is not, appropriate to involve law enforcement or child protective services;
  • Creating authentic family and community engagement;
  • Fostering collaboration and partnership among school districts, parents, government organizations, partner organizations, and other relevant groups; and be it further

Resolved, that Washington State PTA and its local PTAs and councils advocate for robust state and federal funding to support education and other services that improve outcomes for Washington state’s highly mobile students and their families so that all students may reach their highest potential.

 

Proposed Amendment of Existing Resolution #4: School Construction Bond Reform

RESOLUTION 4 ADOPTED: 136 tallied votes: 130 YES and 6 NO

Therefore be it

Resolved, that Washington State PTA and its local PTAs and councils advocate for legislation that would lead to a constitutional amendment to reform school construction bond requirements to:

  • Remove the 40 percent validation requirement
  • Lower the 60 percent supermajority to no more than 55 percent with a strong preference for a simple majority of 50 percent.

 

Proposed Amendment of Existing Resolution #5: Student Assessment and Testing

RESOLUTION 5 ADOPTED: 130 tallied votes: 125 YES and 5 NO

Therefore be it

Resolved, that Washington State PTA and its local PTAs and councils will advocate for culturally relevant and responsive state and district-level policies that create an equitable assessment system with high standards and multiple ways for students to demonstrate learning proficiency, providing students with wide access to multiple forms of state-wide assessments; and be it further

Resolved, that Washington State PTA and its local PTAs and councils will oppose any efforts to use a single indicator for making decisions about individual student opportunities such as grade promotion, high school graduation, or entrance into specific educational programs; and be it further

Resolved, that Washington State PTA and its local PTAs and councils advocate for all Washington colleges and universities to use test-optional approaches for admissions, scholarships, course placement, and admissions to honors programs; and be it further

Resolved, that Washington State PTA and its local PTAs and councils advocate for flexibility in the requirements and delivery, or temporary suspension of, national and statewide assessments in the event of a national or state emergency/crisis that disrupts the public education system.

 

Upcoming Events:

January 17, 2022 Focus Day

January 17 – 21, 2022 Advocacy Week

 

 

Please reach out with any questions!

 

Amy McHenry

Focus on Advocacy Day, January 17th

January 9, 2022

Focus on Advocacy Your voice matters! We need your stories, we need your voice, and we need you! PTA’s legacy is strong because of passionate advocates just like you building our legislative platform, one resolution at a time. Join us for Focus on Advocacy Week, January 17-21, 2022, as we share this platform with our…

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June Advocacy Update

June 16, 2021

On June 8, 2021 I attended the All About Advocacy: 2021 Session Wrap Up meeting with the Washington State PTA. The 2021 Session was 105 days long (January 11 – April 25) and the legislature adopted two-year spending plans and tweaked the current fiscal year where needed. There were a lot of new legislators from…

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2020 WSPTA Legislative Assembly

November 17, 2020

The Washington State PTA’s (WSPTA) 2020 Legislative Assembly happened virtually this year due to COVID-19. While it was very different than attending an in-person assembly, I was grateful to still participate as many other state PTA’s just cancelled this year. What is Legislative Assembly? It’s an event where representatives and advocates from school districts in…

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July Advocacy Update

July 28, 2019

I hope everyone is having a great summer! I wanted to share some notes from the 2019 Legislative Session. Here is a link to the FULL report. It’s an easy read and very well organized, outlining legislature that passed as well as did not pass including links to every bill. https://www.wastatepta.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/2019-Legislative-Session-End-of-Session-WSPTA-Final.pdf There is also a…

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Advocacy May Update

April 23, 2019

The legislative session will wrap up at the end of April.  The bills associated with school construction and changing bond voting from a super majority to a simple majority have died for this year (e.g., SB 5853 https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5853&Initiative=false&Year=2019 ).  Two bills addressing the teacher shortage are making better progress.  SHB 1621, which would allow the…

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March Advocacy Update

March 1, 2019

The February snowstorms not only shut down schools, it also shut down a number of events and business Washington State Legislature, including Focus Day 2019.  WSPTA Focus Day was supposed to be when PTA Advocacy representatives from around the state were to meet with their legislators and talk about the PTA Legislative platform issues.  (Thank…

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PTSA Advocacy Update

November 28, 2018

With the 2018 election over, it’s a good time to update and review lawmakers who represent residents living within Stillwater Elementary School boundaries, and thus influence education policies and funding for our school.  Stillwater draws students from the city of Duvall as well as unincorporated Carnation and Duvall, which comprise the fifth and forty-fifth Washington…

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Legislative Assembly Update

October 29, 2018

Written by Roslyn Reeps, please send any questions to advocate@stillwaterptsa.org Washington State PTA has been a leading voice for children in Washington for more than 112 years, advocating for the health, safety, well-being and education for every child.  I was able to join with over 230 other members from around the state to continue this…

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Joint Select Committee on Article IX Litigation

September 18, 2018

Last legislative session, the Joint Select Committee on Article IX Litigation unanimously approved a report to the Supreme Court describing the 2018 session’s accomplishments towards meeting the McCleary lawsuit. Two major elements of the 16-page report include expediting educator salaries to the 2018-19 school year and establishing a $105 million “penalty account,” which is the…

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Education Funding Changes Signed into Law

September 18, 2018

In March of last year, Governor Inslee signed E2SSB 6362, the “fixes” to last session’s EHB 2242 on education funding.  This law: Moves salaries to the 2018-19 school year for CIS, CLS, and CAS, as defined in the budget. (Section 202; For 2018-19 school year, the budget would increase the statewide minimum salary allocation to…

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November Advocacy Update

Washington State PTA Legislative Assembly 2019

Last month I attended my first legislative assembly representing Stillwater Elementary PTSA. I was joined by Kim Lisk from the Riverview Council PTSA and Paige Kasai from Cherry Valley PTSA.  Between the six general sessions were panels, caucuses, Q&A sessions, amendment writing labs, interactive classes and workshops. We decided to split up to cover more educational opportunities and meet back at the general sessions to discuss what we learned.

If you were to attend a general session you would see a large assembly hall full of people, microphone stations and a stage. Each resolution is given a time limit to be discussed and voting members can speak at the pro, con or point of clarification microphones. There were many resolutions up for discussion and the body voted on some to be pulled for individual discussion and others to be approved through a batch vote. It’s important to remember that we are not writing legislation, but rather resolutions describing the PTA’s stance and priority on certain issues. By having a comprehensive legislative platform, the PTA can make a positive impact on the lives of children and families through advocating with legislators. The resolutions are difficult to summarize without losing context, so I do encourage you to read through them. This is a link to the complete packet of Board Positions and Resolutions, if you want to skip through to items amended or new this year, see below: https://www.wastatepta.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Board-Positions-and-Resolutions-October-2019-FINAL.pdf

List of new or amended resolutions at this year’s legislative assembly:

1.8 Substance Use Disorder Education and Prevention *amended

1.10 Adolescent Marijuana Use Prevention *amended

2.1 Safe Travel Routes and Parking Lots *amended

2.2 Child Identification Program *amended

2.9 Emergency Preparedness *amended

2.13 Youth Suicide Prevention *amended

2.14 Child Abuse Prevention Supports *amended

2.22 Digital and Internet Safety *amended

2.23 Gun Violence Prevention and Safety – Students and School Staff *new

4.12 Family and Community Engagement in Education *amended

4.14 Vital Impact of Membership on PTA’s Sustainability *new

4.15 Mission-Focused Fundraising *new

11.1 Juvenile Diabetes *amended

11.11 Indoor Air Standards *amended

11.22 Allergies and Asthma *amended

18.11 Common School/Construction Funding *amended

18.25 Rights and Services for Undocumented Children and Youth *amended

18.37 Arts in Education *amended

18.38 Equitable Education Opportunities to Close Gaps Across the Achievement Spectrum *new

I listened to a Mental Health Panel with Senator Manka Dhingra (D-45), Representative Carolyn Eslick (R-39), Representative Noel Frame (D-36) and Senator Judy Warnick (R-13). This is a post worthy topic on its own, so I’ll delve into this in a future update, but in summary there is bipartisan collaboration on improving access to mental health services in every community. Two of the biggest struggles are funding for important bills that have passed and a shortage of people working in this field.

In the ‘Armed with Data’ class I learned about the Washington Healthy Youth Survey. Since 2002, the Healthy Youth Survey has been administered to students in 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th grade, every two years. This survey is voluntary and anonymous and is usually administered in the Fall with results following in March. Survey topics include abuse, bullying/harassment, community risk and protective factors, demographics, family risk and protective factors, lifetime and current substance use, mental health, nutrition, peer-individual risk and protective factors, physical activity, safety, fighting, gangs and gambling, school climate, school support, and sexual behavior. Questions are derived from four established surveys used in the U.S.: Communities that Care, Monitoring the Future, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System and Global Youth Tobacco Survey. This survey pulls results from over 900 schools in 228 school districts in 39 counties. Across all grades, more youth are reporting depressive symptoms as well as high levels of anxiety and having considered suicide in the past year. You can access the data here: www.askhys.net  One additional note, that it is up to individual school districts if they want to share the results specific to their school district, but you can definitely view the state wide results.

A caucus did not form for 2.13 Youth Suicide due to a high level of consensus for the proposed resolution amendment, so instead I sat in on the 14.4 Digital and Internet Safety caucus. A PTA member from Mercer Island is forming a group to advocate for research on the effects of increased screen time in school for students. If you are interested, please let me know and I can add you to the contact list. I attended caucuses for Parent and Family Engagement as well as Gun Violence. The last class of the weekend was on advocating for change which produced a lot of great action items and ideas that we can use in the future for our school.

I plan on organizing some round table discussion times for parents and teachers who are interested in these topics. As your Advocacy chair, it’s important for me to hear from you!

Did you know that any PTA member can submit an issue that addresses concerns related to children on a state-wide level? If you are interested, please email me and I can point you to the information! Resolution submittal forms for new or amended resolutions to be considered at the next Legislative assembly will be available in March.

Two upcoming dates to mark in your calendar if you’re interested, are January 20, 2020 in Olympia for Focus Day and the WSPTA Annual Convention May 15-17, 2020 in Lynnwood.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions!

Amy McHenry

SWPTSA Advocacy Chair


September Advocacy Update

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE – Action Alert!

I (Amy McHenry) received an email via the Washington State PTA’s Action Network Group and wanted to share.

The comment period ENDS Monday, September 23, 2019.

The letter and comment template provided by the WSPTA below outlines their position on this proposed rule change and you can read the USDA’s statement on this proposed rule, as well as find the press release and fact sheet here: https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/fr-072419

If you are interested in receiving action alerts from the WSPTA, sign up here: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/subscribe-to-wsptas-action-network-group

"Dear Washington State PTA member,

PTA members know that nutrition is essential to children’s health and well-being, and that hungry children can’t focus on learning. The USDA is currently taking public comments on a proposed rule change that threatens to leave tens of thousands of Washington State students without access to the free school meals they previously qualified for. Washington State PTA is asking you to take action by submitting a public comment asking the USDA to withdraw the proposed Revision of the Categorical Eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Please feel free to customize the prewritten comment below, and go to https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=FNS-2018-0037-0001
to leave your comment. (Note that under category you may select Association-Local if commenting on behalf of your PTA. Otherwise, Individual is appropriate.)

Thank you for taking action to support our children!

Nancy Chamberlain
Federal Legislative Chair"

Comment to USDA:
I am a parent and a proud PTA member. PTA recognizes that good nutrition is essential to children’s health and well-being. Federal nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and school meals are vital to ensuring that all children can learn and thrive in school and at home. I appreciate the opportunity to comment on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Notice of Proposed Rule Making on a Revision of Categorical Eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The proposed rule would cause serious harm to Washington state students and families and should be withdrawn.

Under current guidelines, states have the option to eliminate asset tests and use a higher income threshold to determine SNAP eligibility for working families with significant housing and childcare expenses. This current policy option is known as Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE). The proposed rule would greatly limit states’ ability to use BBCE, thereby eliminating SNAP benefits for 1.7 million households nationwide.

While the proposed rule failed to include the rule’s impact on the School Breakfast Program and National School Lunch Program in its Regulatory Impact Analysis, reports indicate that the rule would jeopardize automatic access to free school meals for more than 500,000 students nationwide. Students whose households participate in SNAP are directly certified to receive free school meals. This rule change would mean at least 17,000 Washington state students could lose their school meals.

In Washington state, when about two-thirds of the student body is automatically enrolled in free meals, the Community Eligibility Provision allows that school to offer free meals to every student without collecting meal applications. If those eligibility numbers drop below the two-thirds threshold as a result of students losing SNAP, the school will lose the ability to provide free meals to everyone. This means the number of students at risk of losing free meals in the state has the potential to be much greater than 17,000.

SNAP plays a critical role in addressing hunger and food insecurity in our state and communities. By limiting families’ access to SNAP and jeopardizing children’s participation in school meal programs, the proposed rule would lead to poor health outcomes and diminished academic results among children and contribute to food insecurity in households in Washington and across the country.

SNAP is an investment in the future, as receipt of SNAP in early childhood leads to improved high school graduation rates, adult earnings, and adult health. The Federal Government should continue this investment in the future of our nation’s children, and withdraw the proposed rule change.