High-quality educational opportunity is Washington’s constitutional obligation to every child, however, Washington’s four-year high school graduation rate before COVID was approximately 79% - and even lower for homeless and foster youth. We can do better.
Continued work on classroom size reductions, early intervention for struggling students, and addressing excessive testing requirements are some steps we can take to improve educational success.
In addition, all students should learn basic life skills by high school graduation. This should include instruction on personal financial management, household management, civic engagement, and exposure to trades and other professions during their high school years.
School safety continues to be at the top of mind for many of us. I've toured many of our schools, meeting with staff and administrators.
In 2019 I was a vocal proponent of SB5698, which takes steps to prevent and response to bullying and harassment. The bill requires each district designate a compliance officer to coordinate policies, provide support to administration, serve as the primary contact for bullying, assess training needs of staff, and other responsibilities.
I also supported HB 1216, which is now law. It established a state school safety center with regional safety centers to coordinate safety efforts across the state. The regional school safety centers coordinate behavioral health, school-based threat assessments, training and collaboration.