Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I'm happy to bring you my first email update of the session. As a member of the Washington state House of Representatives, I have the opportunity to periodically send out legislative email updates. If you think you've received this message in error, or do not want to receive email updates from me, simply click the unsubscribe link below.
You may have seen my video on education last week. It's been the biggest topic in the Legislature this week too. If you haven't seen it, you can watch it here.
Since we recorded this video last week, even more has changed. The discussion over education will continue as all parties look for solutions to make sure every child in the state gets an excellent education and the chance to success. Keeping you up-to-date on the plan to fund education is a top priority of mine, so I want to take a moment to bring you up to speed.
Funding K-12 education
There are currently several plans floating around Olympia to fund education. Here are the most high-profile proposals and what they might do if passed.
Released in mid-December, Governor Inslee's plan calls for $4.5 billion in new taxes to fund education. It has some positives, but in my current view leaves much to be desired. Most fundamentally, it fails to address the achievement gap between rich and poor kids in the state and contains none of the commonsense reforms I support. Simply put, it throws money into a broken system with no framework to fix the underlying problems.
The House Democrat plan is much like Governor Inslee's plan. It calls for $6.5 billion in new taxes but fails to say clearly how that revenue will be raised. People and businesses deserve to know how this approach would financially impact them.
It also does not sufficiently address the core problems raised by the initial McCleary decision – that the state relies too heavily on local levies. This broken system has left our poorest and most vulnerable children behind.
The Senate Republican plan changes the current funding structure to provide dependable and equitable funding for each student and his or her unique needs. The Senate Republican Plan also increases beginning teacher pay to $45,000. This is especially important to me, as I believe student success begins with the quality of the teacher at the front of the classroom.
Most importantly, this plan would promote local control and empower local decision makers to end reliance on local levies and give school districts more flexibility to hire the most qualified teachers. I look forward to closely analyzing how it could benefit our high-performing school districts in East King County, and I believe it's good start to the right discussion.
So what does it all mean? It means there are many ideas being circulated and the conversations are ongoing. I prefer to move past partisanship, because no one person or party has a trademark on good ideas. I believe that by working together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.
Day of Remembrance | Feb. 15, 2017
I had the chance to speak on the floor of the house about the Day of Remembrance, recalling the grave injustice of Japanese-Americans being interned en masse during World War II. You can watch my remarks here.
As plans to fund education continue to move through the legislative process, I look forward to hearing directly from you on the issues that are important to all of us. Please call my office, email me, or schedule an appointment at any time.