Posts filed under ‘Local News and Events’
Stand for Children recently redesigned our website and the blogs for each of the 10 states in which we are active. As a result, we will no longer be updating this site.
Please visit our new blog at http://stand.org/washington
Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/
And follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/washingtonstand
There has been a lot of talk lately about who Stand for Children is and who is driving our priorities and goals for Washington. We thought we’d take just a couple minutes to set the record straight on who we are and what we do.
First and foremost, Stand for Children is an organization dedicated to ensuring that all children get the education they deserve, especially those who are most affected by the opportunity gap.
Stand is made up of volunteers in the community; parents, grandparents, teachers, administrators, concerned citizens – real people who care about our students, our public schools and our communities. These dedicated individuals are the driving force behind the work we do and the priorities we set. In a survey of our supporters aimed at helping us learn more about what our community wants to prioritize in our work:
- 28% of respondents are current or former educators
- 62% are a parent or grandparent of a public school student
- 20% are members of a union or have a family member who is
- 50% are active in other community organizations such as: PTA, NAACP, church groups etc.
All are residents of Washington who care deeply about making a difference for students in our state.
What does Stand for Children do?
Stand for Children works to improve outcomes for kids in three ways:
- We work with parents, teachers, community members and partner organizations to educate and empower real people to become community advocates on behalf of our students for the changes needed in their community. These community advocates help set our priorities and goals for the work we do on behalf of Washington students.
- We work to influence policies at the state and local level to support the changes to our system needed to implement the goals set in partnership with our local community advocates, to ensure all our students have a chance to succeed.
- We work to support and elect education champions to public office, chosen by our community advocates, who will be strong voices for our students and our communities.
Who are our funders?
In Washington, Stand receives about 30% of its leadership center funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (which provides billions of dollars in grants for non-profit organizations around the world) to support our work in local chapters around community engagement. While we are very grateful for this generous support, 70% of our 501c3 revenue (community engagement funding) and 100% of our 501c4 revenue (state and local policy advocacy funding) comes from individual donors and the support of our members all across the state.
That means that ALL of our work on policy advocacy and our legislative priorities is funded by the contributions of individual members and supporters in the community.
This is just a quick snap shot, but it’s our leaders and community advocates who really make up Stand for Children and define who we are. Check out Stand stories and learn more about Stand for Children.
Communications Director, Stand for Children
We have about a $2 billion gap to fill in this year’s state budget. The Senate Ways and Means committee recently released a list of possible cuts to fill this gap. On this list was a 66% cut to Levy Equalization. Last week, the Governor’s proposed budget also included a 50% cut to Levy Equalization. The State of Washington uses Levy Equalization to ensure that there is funding equality throughout the state by matching levy funds raised by districts that do not have the property values to raise enough themselves. In Clark County alone, we receive over $30 million in Levy Equalization funds. That means a 66% cut would be over $20 million lost by the end of the year. Evergreen School District would lose over $8 million and Vancouver Public Schools would lose over $5.5 million. A 50% cut as the Governor has proposed would still be $11 million for Clark County schools.
Last Spring, Stand for Children fought hard with your support to fully protect Levy Equalization. And after making two trips to Olympia, hand-delivering over 900 letters, and making hundreds of phone calls and emails, we were able to help fully protect these funds. But this year’s budget shortfall will make it even more difficult to protect, and the Washington Legislature will be convening for a special session on November 28th to decide the fate of these funds.
We’ll be keeping an eye on where this debate goes, but one thing is clear; these cuts will be painful for our schools and our students. We need to re-prioritize our funding to ensure that all our schools have the tools they need to help students succeed no matter where they live.
Clark County Organizer, Stand for Children – Washington
A life-long advocate for children, Edelman is coming to Washington state to discuss how our communities can come together to improve our public education system to ensure that all kids have the opportunity to succeed.
To learn more, visit our event page on the Stand for Children website.
To learn more about Stand for Children please visit www.stand.org/about .
Though the context for negotiations has changed, the reality for students in Tacoma Public Schools has not. The negotiating parties (Tacoma Public Schools and Tacoma Education Association) need to keep in mind that under the status quo:
- Only 44% of TPS grads meet graduations requirements for admission to a four-year university.
- Only 38% will go on to enter a two- or four-year college or university, with even fewer graduating (Source: 2009 BERC Report).
- We have a stagnant achievement gap in some areas, and a widening achievement gap in math (2009 TPS Achievement Gap Report to the Community).
Given these sobering statistics, we should all commit to ensuring that something positive for students comes out of the negotiations. We urge Tacoma Public Schools and Tacoma Education Association to bargain in good faith and seize the opportunity to create a staffing decision policy that uses multiple measures, including evaluation, to get our best teachers where our students need them. Now is the time to create something that is good for students and fair for teachers. The negotiating parties should seize the opportunity to be at the forefront of transforming education and making Tacoma Public Schools a model for the nation.
Stand for Children – Tacoma
Bellevue Leads conducts poll based on Community Values Statement focused on continuing improvement of Bellevue public schools.
On August 11th Bellevue Leads announced the results of a poll conducted to explore public opinion of how Bellevue public schools are addressing the needs of students in our community.
“We are proud of Bellevue schools and our outstanding reputation for the quality of our public education system. We feel that it is essential for Bellevue public schools to build on our success and continue to change and evolve in a positive way to ensure that we are focused on continuous improvement, maintaining our leadership position in education in Washington and, most importantly, that all children in Bellevue receive a high quality education.“ states the Bellevue Leads Community Values Statement.
The purpose of the poll was to measure the depth of interest in the community values statement developed over the course of 2011 by the community members involved in the Bellevue Leads Coalition.
“As community members and parents, we believe that we are collectively responsible for the growth of all of our children through education. We believe the continuing teachers’ contract negotiation provides an excellent opportunity for Bellevue public schools to build on our successes and make great strides for all our students,” said Cathy Habib, one of the PTSA representatives to Bellevue Leads. “For this reason we conducted this poll to gauge public support for these values.”
Jess Haskin, East King County Organizer
Washington Stand for Children
Candidates completed in-depth questionnaires and participated in interviews with an endorsement committee made up of Stand for Children volunteers.
After a six week endorsement process, members of the Seattle Chapter of Stand for Children agreed to endorse three education champions running for Seattle School Board in the upcoming fall election. The candidates – Sherry Carr, candidate for District Position 2; Harium Martin-Morris, candidate for District Position 3; and Steve Sundquist, candidate for District Position 6 – participated in an interview process that included one-on-one meetings with Stand for Children staff, responses to a written questionnaire developed by Stand members and supporters and a 30 minute endorsement committee interview with Stand members.
The Stand for Children Endorsement Committee composed entirely of Stand volunteer members included parents, community members, a teacher and a counselor. The group included a diverse cross-section of the Seattle community both geographically and representing different groups and interests including communities of color, English language learners, and individuals with specific interest in special education programs and initiatives. Committee members developed a series of tough questions focused on exploring each candidate’s vision for policies that will directly impact our schools such as: closing the achievement gap; accountability and transparency to ensure responsible and inclusive governance leading to equitable distribution of resources; meaningful community engagement for all stakeholders; principal and teacher effectiveness; and accountability and criteria for hiring and evaluating our superintendent. Eight candidates accepted the invitation to participate in Stand’s endorsement process which began in late April.
Sherry Carr, District Position 2: “I believe strong schools are the core of a strong city, and that Seattle can have public schools that are the envy of the nation. Our city is rich in the talent, resources and public commitment necessary to create and support great schools. I believe quality public education has the power to change lives and transform communities. And I believe that if high expectations are set for every child, our students will rise to meet those expectations.”
Harium Martin-Morris, District Position 3: “It is my belief that quality public education can and does transform lives. My vision is for a Seattle to become a school system instead of a system of schools. Our students deserve a system that supports individual student needs. A school system must have quality in every school and in every classroom.”
Steve Sundquist, District Position 6: “I believe each Seattle child deserves a quality education and the opportunity to succeed. I am committed to make the needed changes that help deliver on this belief.”