Delegates from across the state gathered for inspiration, advocacy education, networking, and to consider the addition of new positions to the policy platform, as Washington State PTA held its 39th annual Legislative Assembly, October 20-21.
Some highlights of the WSPTA Legislative Assembly included an insightful and detailed update on the 2017 legislative session from WSPTA Legislative Consultant Marie Sullivan; a riveting keynote address on the McCleary school funding case from lead attorney Thomas Ahearne; and new advocacy trainings in which delegates could:
- Learn to create and deliver clear, concise, and compelling testimony to decision makers at local and state levels;
- Develop a plan for year-round advocacy to legislators in Olympia;
- Receive updates from the State Board of Education and OSPI on the federal Every Child Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the new Washington state education funding law, HB 2242;
- Hear from representatives from several statewide associations and advocacy groups on their plans and priorities for the 2018 legislative session, and how they align with the WSPTA Platform, so we can be a stronger voice together.
Delegates adopted resolutions on:
- Mental Health Needs for Children
- Trauma Informed Care
- Increasing Access and Affordability of Post-secondary/Higher Education Degrees and Certificates
- LGBTQ+ Inclusion
The following legislative issues were added to the “Also Supported” list for the 2018 Legislative Platform (in alphabetical order):
- Addressing the Teacher Shortage
- Best Practices for School Meal Policies
- Career Connected Learning, CTE & Stem
- Dual Credit Equality & Support
- Equity for Highly Capable
- Preventing and Mitigating the Impacts of Gender-based Violence
- School Construction and Class Size Reduction
On behalf of the legislative and resolutions committees, Nancy Chamberlain, WSPTA Legislative Director, would like to thank all of the submission teams, several of which included students, for their hours of research, writing, and educating delegates about their submissions. In addition, thank you to all of the speakers and workshop panelists; WSPTA staff for all their logistical planning and support; and the hundreds of delegates who gave up precious family time to spend two days learning how to better carry out the mission of PTA to be a powerful voice and strong advocate for the well-being and education of every child.