Preparing for a legislative session like no other
Olympia is going remote. Just as the pandemic changed how we educate students, it has also changed how lawmakers operate. As you can imagine, this presents new challenges for making our voices about our students’ needs heard. WEA leaders are continuing our advocacy for our students and our profession, though it may look different this year.
WEA’s focus during this time continues to be on the safety of our students and staff. We know that to return to in-person learning we need additional funding for COVID safety and for social-emotional supports for our students. That means more teachers, custodians, nurses, psychologists, social workers, and other staff. As we talk with legislators, we are stressing that we need more, not less, funding to ensure our school communities’ health and safety.
At the same time that we advocate with lawmakers for ample funding, WEA is talking with the governor, Department of Health, and Labor and Industries about strengthening the school safety requirements. Most importantly, we need the state to ensure schools are safe before they welcome back students and staff.
Additionally, WEA’s legislative agenda for this session includes a focus on equitable and just schools. We will be talking with lawmakers about anti-racist training for staff and eliminating the edTPA. We also know that access to food, housing, and other social supports is critical to equitable access to learning and we will advocate for continued support for these programs.
To meet our students’ needs, we need to explore more sustainable, equitable revenue options. Washington’s tax structure is upside-down, with lower-income families paying six times more of their income in taxes than our wealthiest residents.
We know that lawmakers are being encouraged to limit the bills they introduce and that most lawmakers may participate remotely.
Let’s work together to make sure lawmakers know what our students need. Stay connected as we prepare for 2021 legislative session: