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Issues

Education

We believe that an excellent, quality public education, preschool through post-secondary, with equal access for all, in a safe and healthy environment, is fundamental to maintain a healthy democracy. The backbone of our democracy is a free, universal public school system, designed to produce informed, reasoning, and thoughtful citizens who are lifelong learners prepared to participate in our civic society. The growing demands of globalization, technology, and inter-cultural understanding require a well-funded public education system that offers the challenges and opportunities to develop the full potential of all students, no matter what their background, experience, ability, or age. We recognize the direct connection between educational attainment and the long-term economic sustainability of individuals, families, and communities.

“It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provisions for the education of all children.” - The Washington State Constitution

We call for:

  • The Washington State Legislature to fulfill its constitutional imperative and paramount duty to “make ample provisions for the education of all children” as called for by the Washington State Supreme Court in the McCleary decision;
  • Affordable access and full funding of all basic, gifted, vocational, technical, alternative, special education, ELL (English Language Learners), and other state/federal programs and mandates;
  • Funding for smaller class sizes based on effective class size studies;
  • Full funding of Head start and Early Childhood Education and Assisted Programs (ECEAP);
  • Schools to be free from weapons, violence, bullying, harassment, retribution ( by staff and students), drugs and alcohol and, through counseling, education and enforcement on these issues and instruction in conflict resolution skills to foster a safe and healthy environment;
  • Restoration of funding levels for higher education;
  • Full inclusion of all students into the school environment regardless of race, ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic status or disability;
  • Particular regard for the educational and human services needs of the child who is sexually active or has been, or is pregnant.
  • Particular regard for the educational needs of the child in foster care.
  • School academic and behavioral health counselors, librarians, and nurses sufficient to serve the needs of every student;
  • The availability of high quality continuing education and career training, including school-to-work partnerships and apprenticeship programs, in addition to traditional higher education for adult workers, because Washington State’s employers require a well-trained work force;
  • The inclusion of music, fine arts, environmental education, foreign language instruction, civics and physical education in the Basic Education Act, beginning in Kindergarten.
  • A curriculum that is rigorous, comprehensive, and historically and scientifically accurate at all levels that recognizes cultural perspectives of children from diverse and indigenous communities;
  • Math instruction that includes arithmetic fluency and critical thinking skills;
  • Instructional freedom that is student-centered within the curriculum;
  • Parental participation that supports student learning;
  • Programs to teach awareness on ways to reduce individual and local environmental impacts;
  • Full funding for the repair and maintenance of public schools, for HVAC and energy efficiency retrofits that save operating costs;
  • Full funding for school transportation and on-site, safter-school educational programs;
  • Purchase of equipment and technology in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act;
  • Public education to extend through community college and public vocational/technical schools;
  • All high school graduates in Washington to have access to affordable higher education, regardless of means;
  • Simple majority elections for school bonds, and protection of the simple majority for school levies;
  • Encouraging high school community-based service;
  • Encouraging that high schools offer courses in personal finance;
  • Local and state control of policies concerning public education while complying with federal oversight and receiving federal funding to preserve quality, fairness and civil rights for all;
  • Public education employees’ rights to organize, engage in collective bargaining, and strike without fear of reprisal or replacement;
  • A new, stable funding formula for public schools and capital projects;
  • Salary and benefits for adjunct and part-time college instructors to be based on compensation levels for full-time professional staff, according to percentage of full-time equivalency;
  • Certificated and classified employees’ salaries, cost of living increases and retirement and health care benefits equal to those of other professionals of similar experience and backgrounds to attract/retain quality public school employees;
  • Partial student loan forgiveness and loan consolidation at the federal level;
  • Congress to reform policies that deny federal tuition aid to college students convicted of drug possession;
  • Work/study programs and programs offering higher education in exchange for public service should be expanded, and Pell grants should be increased and adjusted for inflation;
  • Full funding and implementation of the Washington State Board of Health’s revised rules for health and safety of school environments {RCW 246-366};
  • Age appropriate gun safety instruction;
  • Congress provide adequate assistance, food stamps, earned income tax credit, child tax credit, housing and child care so children of low income families can perform at grade level. 

We oppose:

  • Charter schools;
  • Vouchers;
  • The commercialization of school environments including food sales;
  • Linking military recruitment to educational funding;
  • Organized prayer in public schools;
  • “No Child Left Behind” and its successor “Race to the Top”;
  • National standardized performance testing;
  • Basing teacher pay in whole or in part on student test scores;
  • All so-called “reforms” that are not based upon sound and objective information, that are disguised attempts to blame teachers for the problems in public education, to weaken teacher unions, or to privatize our public education system for profit;
  • The escalation of tuition at institutions of higher education.

Resolutions