Quality public education is a basic civil right enshrined in our constitution.
The 2021 Washington state legislative begins Jan. 11. The legislature has signalled that it will be meeting remotely.
WEA’s 2021 Legislative Priorities
Fully fund and support equitable, just schools for our students, families, and communities.
Our students are facing even more hurdles to learning during a global pandemic. We must ensure the health and safety of students, families, and staff while equitably meeting the educational needs of all Washington students. Closing opportunity gaps requires additional investment and legislative support. WEA is committed to bringing educators’ on-the-ground experience and expertise into every decision legislators make concerning our schools. Students, families, and communities need consolidated state support systems including employment, nutrition, and housing supports. WEA supports the addition of resources and investments that will support Washington families and communities. This is not the time for austerity.
Fully fund schools.
· WEA opposes any cuts to education in this time of changing student needs. It takes more resources, not less to meet the needs of students during a pandemic, especially schools in communities that have been historically underfunded.
· WEA supports fully funding special education, which is part of basic education.
· WEA supports a more equitable tax structure to ensure that education is fully funded.
· WEA supports “cradle through college” quality public education. Our early learning and higher education institutions must have the resources to continue providing excellent education and opportunities.
Improve equity by dismantling racism and meeting the needs of all students.
· WEA supports continued anti-racism training for staff and students in Washington schools.
· WEA opposes high-stakes tests which are inherently biased.
· WEA opposes barriers to a more diverse workforce, such as the EdTPA requirement, and supports efforts to recruit and retain educators who reflect the diversity of our student populations.
· WEA supports dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline through the collaboration of districts, educators, students, families, and the community to equitably fund wrap-around services and training in order to implement antiracist discipline policies and restorative justice practices.
· WEA supports solutions that keep families housed continuously and structures of supports for our students who are unhoused, who are disproportionately People of Color.
Address the challenges presented by COVID-19 recovery in schools.
· WEA supports meeting the need for increased staffing whether in remote, hybrid, or in-person learning models. Students need individual attention for their learning and social-emotional needs in this challenging environment and schools need more staff, not less.
· WEA supports funding for protections for the health and safety of students, staff, and our communities, including nurses, custodians, adequate PPE, cleaning, disinfecting, HVAC, water, and physical space.
· WEA supports a voice at the table for front-line educators through protections for bargaining rights and due process for staff.
Ensure every school is safe for students.
· WEA supports policies and practices for students and educators when addressing mental health and behavior that maintain a safe learning and working environment for all.
· WEA supports fully funding and enhancing the prototypical schools model (I-1351) to focus on the social, emotional, and safety needs of students. Communication with parents, support for families and parents, and wraparound services must also be prioritized.
Download a PDF of WEA's 2021 legislative agenda.