Dear advocates,
Every two years, Washington State PTA chooses a legislative priority platform. We continue to support all of our
legislative principles  as well as National PTA's public policy agenda, but we focus on the priorities. In year two of this cycle (like this year) we consider adding priorities as "also supported" and we consider amendments. The following is our updated platform for this next legislative session.
Washington State PTA's 2011-12 legislative platform
1.      Following up on reforms of 2009 and 2010 (Basic education finance/HB 2261 and education reform/SB 6696)
2.      Math and science instruction
3.      Literacy screening and instruction
4.      Reduction in force/layoff policies
5.      Fund education first in the state budget process
6.      New, research-based model for teacher compensation that emphasizes rewarding teacher effectiveness in improving student learning.

ALSO SUPPORTED (listed alphabetically):

·         Achievement gaps and educational opportunities*
·         Charter schools*
·         Early learning*
·         Highly capable*
·         Improve food quality in breakfast and lunch programs
·         Juvenile justice*
·         Make physical education/health a core subject
·         School-zone signage*
*Adopted at 2011 legislative assembly
About our new priorities:

Legislative principle:Public education policies and funding
We believe great educational outcomes are possible for all students, including students of color, students of diverse cultural or linguistic backgrounds, lower income status and students with special needs. The Washington State PTA shall initiate and/or support legislation or policies that eliminate the state's achievement gaps and create equitable opportunities for all students. Steps can include, but are not limited to, efforts to foster:
.      Effective, culturally competent educators who have high expectations for every child
.      Ongoing collaboration that helps teachers maximize instructional time, align materials and fill in gaps with challenging and engaging curricula for all students
.      A positive school climate that factors in the needs of all learners
.      Student-focused practices that encompass intervention and leadership strategies for each child and every classroom with positive academic and behavioral intervention systems
.      Strong leadership at every school; transformational leadership at high-needs schools
.      Widespread, statewide use of longitudinal data and formative assessments, such as WaKids, that inventory academic and social-emotional benchmarks to determine which students will need additional support, so families and schools can provide appropriate intense, targeted intervention in a timely manner
.      Consistently effective home-school communications and family engagement that assists in the instructional development of children
.      A funding formula that ensures children with more need get adequate support to meet standards

Legislative principle:Public education policies and funding
The Washington State PTA shall initiate and/or support legislation or policies that drive innovation and accountability in public education by allowing the operation of public charter schools in the state of Washington.

Legislative principle: Public education policies and funding
The Washington State PTA shall initiate and/or support legislation or policies that increase families' access to high-quality early learning programs and improve students' transition to kindergarten. This includes but is not limited to:
.      Phasing in universal pre-kindergarten services for 3- and 4-year-olds, such as provided by our state's Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program
.      Improving access to high-quality child care by expanding Washington's quality rating and improvement system  (Seeds to Success), a voluntary support and professional development service for licensed providers
.      Continuing to phase in universal all-day kindergarten and use of a readiness assessment process, such as the state's new Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS), a longitudinal data system that informs schools and families of a learner's needs so that they can better support them.
.      Provide resources and support for pre-kindergarten through third-grade alignment.

Legislative principle:Public education policies and funding
Washington State PTA shall initiate and/or support legislation or policies that ensure highly capable children (K-12) receive an appropriate basic education, which includes access to highly capable programs (K-12). The Washington State PTA recommends that the legislature and Quality Education Council build on the work of the Highly Capable Program Technical Work Group. This shall include, but not be limited to:
.      Advocating for a standard definition of highly capable and working to ensure students who are both highly capable and students of color, who are poor, or who have disabilities, have equitable access to the state's highly capable program.
.      Further, Washington State PTA supports the recommendation that districts that do not currently offer highly capable programs refer to the guidelines set forth in the report of Highly Capable Program Technical Work Group.

Legislative principle:Health and Well-being of Children and Youth
The Washington State PTA renews its support for the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act and shall initiate or support legislation or policies that:
.      Keep youth in school and out of the justice system
.      Ensure equity and cultural competence within the justice system
.      Ensure age- and developmentally appropriate responses
.      Strengthen the partnership between the federal government and state and local governments in juvenile justice matters.

Legislative principle: Safe and Nurturing Environments for Children and Youth
The Washington State PTA shall initiate and/or support legislation or policies that create consistent school speed zone and school warning signage across all school districts, counties and cities so that drivers routinely recognize them, reduce speed and watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The proposal to amend our No. 6 priority failed. That priority reads:
·         The Washington State PTA shall initiate and/or support legislation or policies that lead to a new research-based state teacher compensation model that emphasizes rewarding teacher effectiveness in improving student learning.
A proposed amendment would have changed the wording to:
·         The Washington State PTA shall initiate and/or support legislation or policies that reward teachers for academic credits and degrees as well as years of service to students.
During the legislative assembly a motion to change the amendment passed. The NEW proposed amendment read:
·         The Washington State PTA shall initiate and/or support legislation or policies that consider research-based teacher compensations along with research-based evaluation models, including the Washington Teacher/Principal Evaluation Pilot.
This proposed amendment failed.
Note: The evaluation pilot is supported as part of our No. 1 priority. The pilot aims to evaluate teacher growth in supporting student learning. While there was agreement on the importance of evaluating for growth, delegates reaffirmed that they felt student learning needed to be a component of the compensation system. No specific compensation system has been identified.

-- Ramona Hattendorf, Government Relations Coordinator, Washington State PTA

New! Searchable results for our 2011 Issues eSurvey

  • National PTA adopted 2 Resolutions
    Head Injury Reporting
    Legal Consequences of Sexting

    Dear advocates,

    Delegates to the National PTA convention this past weekend adopted two resolutions, one on head injury reporting and the other on the legal consequences of sexting.

    These resolutions are national in scope, but they have impact at the local, council and state levels of PTA, as well. The power of a resolution is to enable PTA members, leaders, and public policy and program teams to join with others to build partnerships, form coalitions, increase awareness, develop programs, and lobby policy makers.

    So consider these "national positions" yours to help advocate for the health and well-being of all youth - across the nation and down the block.
    Reporting head injuries:
    WHEREAS: Approximately 1.4 million Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) related deaths, hospitalizations, and emergency department visits occur each year in the United States, and

    WHEREAS, the results of a head injury can include short term effects such as concussions, loss of consciousness, or lethargy, and/or long term effects such as organ damage, coma, or death, and

    WHEREAS, the full extent of a head injury may not be immediately known and often requires a comprehensive medical evaluation to determine, therefore be it

    ·         RESOLVED: That PTA and its constituent associations educate its members and school personnel on the seriousness of head injuries and the need report them to parents and/or guardians for monitoring and further follow up, and be it further

    ·         RESOLVED: That PTA and its constituent associations work with state and local education agencies to establish, adopt and implement communication procedures to contact parents and/or guardians at the time a head injury to a child occurs in the school setting.
    Legal consequences of "sexting:"
    WHEREAS: Surveys show that a significant number of youth (ages 13-17) are engaging in "sexting" (dissemination of sexually explicit photographs over cell phones); and

    WHEREAS: In most states the act of "sexting" could result in a criminal charge; and

    WHEREAS: Having a criminal conviction would have lifelong consequences impacting higher education and career opportunities including most careers requiring certification or licensing; e.g., government employment, law enforcement, and teachers; therefore be it

    ·         RESOLVED: That PTA and its constituent associations work with school systems and/or law enforcement authorities to prevent "sexting" by youth through education of students and parents regarding the legal consequences of the act of "sexting."

    These can also be found online at

    Ramona Hattendorf
    Government relations coordinator
    Washington State PTA
    (mobile) 206-778-8623

    From the WSPTA Legislative Listserv 6/12-6/13
    Upcoming Elections: Be an informed voter

    For groups not planning a candidates forum, there is no reason we can't call all candidates ourselves and ask them about education issues important to you.  Press them on what they are going to do for your school (district and state) and see if they understand beyond the buzzwords and catch phrases we all hear.  Or, just tell them how our education system is working (or not) for your children.

    Here is the link of candidates who filed to run in my county, Pierce:

    Here is the PDC site (all candidates should file within the next two weeks if not already done):
    Deb Blakeslee

    Good morning advocates,

    Deb brings up two good points.  One is that we, as PTAs, while neutral on the candidates themselves, are encouraged to hold candidate forums, inviting all the candidates for a particular race.  There are some school board and city council races in many areas that have fielded  a number of good candidates, and having a forum allows voters to listen to them beyond the 10 second sound bite that might be in the local paper or in their campaign materials that arrive in your mailbox.  You'll find a great guide to holding a forum in your area on the state website, but it is a little hard to find, so here is the link

    The second point is that the candidates have two main tasks that they must accomplish in order to win.  One is fundraising, the second is voter outreach.  Both are necessary, since voter outreach is very expensive.  If you were to call a candidate that you have some questions for, it saves them having to doorbell you, and gives them a great opportunity for quality voter outreach.  How quickly they get back to you might be an indicator of how responsive they'll be as your representative to whatever body they are hoping to get elected to. 

    Be an informed voter, and get to know the candidates, and help your community to do so as well.

    Thanks Deb!

    Shelley Kloba
    Legislative Director
    Washington State PTA

    Focus Day Photos Feb 21, 2011
    See "Photos" for more pictures

    Every Unit Needs a Legislative Chair - does your unit have one?     If you know of a unit that needs a legislative chair, or another person, here's a help-wanted ad that you can use.   Edit as you need.
    It's not too late to recruit for a legislative chair, the next session is about to kick off. Here's a handy help-wanted ad that you can use for your local newsletters
    HELP NEEDED: Learn about WA State Education Issues -- become a Legislative Chair
    Want to learn more about state education and funding policies, and then help inform your school community? This is a great volunteer position for busy parents who can't be at school but want to make a difference at the state and local levels. You can start small with emails to your members events like PTA Focus Day in Olympia and bills in Olympia.  Give a 3 minute update at your PTA meeting. All the info will be sent to you via email. No experience is needed -- just an hour or so a week will make a big difference.
    Heidi B. Bennett
    Seattle and Region 6 Leg. Chair
    Land: 206-781-5566

    File Size: 1544 kb
    File Type: pdf
    Download File

    Stacey Riley's daughter Ashley speaks at the Rebuilding Our Economic Future Rally in Olympia on Feb 15, 2010

    PHOTOS:  Members of Tacoma PTAs/PTSAs attending Focus Day February 2009

    Tacoma Council PTA Legislative Chairpersons:   

    Tanya Taylor

    Kris Anderson  (253) 759-8753  

    See the Washington State PTA Legislative Page

    League of Education Voters

    *Tacoma School Board Members and School Board Meetings

    Tacoma School Board Meets the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the Month, 6:00 p.m. at the Central Administration Building located at 601 South 8th Street.        

    *Who are your Legislators?  What Legislative District do you belong to? 

    Who are your Legislators?  What Legislative District do you belong to? 
    File Size: 118 kb
    File Type: docx
    Download File

    *Washington State Office of the Education Ombudsman    1-866-297-2597        

    Ombudsmen are people who:  Listen to your concerns; Help explore options; Problem-solve.
    We offer these FREE Services:  Publications; Information & Referral; Classes & Workshops; Conflict prevention and resolution over the phone.