Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Champions came through: No cuts to education

Senate budget a big step forward

Today state Senate leaders made a welcomed first step in meeting their paramount duty to fund education.  They announced a no cuts approach to K-12, and they promised immediate progress toward fully funding Basic Education, as promised in 2009’s House Bill 2261.

“This reaffirms our key message: Kids come first,” said Novella Fraser, Washington State PTA president. “Kids need a great basic education, and they need it fully funded.”

“We see inadequate funding for schools play out on a very personal level. We know the kids who are not reading well and we work with the staff struggling to support them. The schools are stressed, staffs are stressed, and volunteers are stressed. Finally, we’re seeing a commitment to invest in kids’ future.”

Washington State PTA remains concerned about programs that support children and will work to make sure safeguards are in place to keep kids healthy and safe.

In addition to holding off on all K-12 and higher education cuts, the Senate proposal invests $32 million in reducing K-3 class sizes and allots funds to implement new evaluation systems that focus on student and professional growth.

Making sure all children get a great basic education is Washington State PTA’s top priority. Fundamentally, the association sees a disconnection between what the schools are trying to provide and what the state is able to fund. Figuring out how to fix that has been at the forefront of our state legislative agenda for 20-some years. 

Washington State PTA first asked for a new definition for basic education in 1993. In 2009, the state came through and passed a landmark basic education funding reform bill, HB 2261. But implementing the plan has been on hold and various bills were introduced that could have undermined it.

In December, Washington State PTA fought to stave off reductions in the school year.  In January, the association fought to save the promised 24-credit diploma that prepares youth for apprenticeship programs or college, or, if they prefer, to start work right away.

This year, the Washington Supreme Court not only agreed that the state wasn’t meeting its paramount duty to amply fund education for all children, the court called out HB 2261’s Basic Education funding plan as the solution.  

“In PTA, we work to make every child’s potential a reality. You can’t get there without a great basic education,” said Fraser. “But we also know that children need adequate nutrition and health care, and we need to make sure that the safety net for families and children remains strong.” 

Washington State PTA is the largest volunteer organization in Washington with more than 143,000 members last year.  Founded in 1905, the association is a powerful voice for children and a resource for parents, providing leadership training and support to more than 900 local PTAs across the state. Learn more at www.wastatepta.org.

No comments:

Post a Comment