Amply Fund Basic Education is in the Washington State PTA’s “Top Five” legislative platform issues for 2017 and 2018. The platform issue as written (click for PDF) was approved at the legislative assembly of the Washington State PTA in October of 2017. The platform issue outlines accountability measures to which advocates and citizens should hold legislators responsible. The content of the platform issue submission (submitted in the summer of 2016) is as follows:
Amply Fund Basic Education
The Washington State PTA shall initiate and/or support legislation or policies that fulfill Washington state’s paramount duty to amply fund basic education. Funding solutions must be progressive revenue sources that are sufficient, sustainable and equitable, and must not cut services that support the whole child, or rely only on redistributing existing education funds.
Basic education is an investment in Washington’s future and the foundation of our democracy. The Legislature has completed the necessary work to define “basic education,” but contrary to its Constitutional mandate, Washington State has underfunded basic education for decades. As a result, school districts have had to rely on unstable and inequitable levies to make up the shortfall. In addition, parents, teachers, community members, local businesses, and PTAs have spent innumerable hours and countless dollars subsidizing basic education–thus inadvertently exacerbating the equity and opportunity gaps.
The last legislative session before the 2018 deadline for amply funding basic education that was established by the Legislature and reaffirmed by the Supreme Court is imminent. As the largest child advocacy organization in Washington and a founding member of NEWS, the WSPTA must maintain active engagement and focused advocacy until the State fulfills its paramount duty and meets the deadline promised in the McCleary case.
Ample funding cannot be ensured by redistributing the local and state funding currently collected to pay for education, nor can ample funding be found in shifting money out of the many health and human services programs that exist to benefit the development of the whole child. New revenue is needed, and that revenue needs to be raised in a manner that is equitable and progressive. All of Washington’s children stand to benefit when our program of basic education is amply funded.
- NEWS (http://www.waschoolexcellence.org/ ) is a coalition of community groups (including WSPTA), teachers and school districts fighting for full funding of K-12 education. They are part of the McCleary lawsuit which resulted in the Supreme Court decision that Washington State is failing in its paramount duty to fully fund basic education.
- The Economic Opportunity Institute (http://www.eoionline.org/ ) seeks to advance public policies that promote high-quality education and other shared investments in our future. They publish research, shape public debate, and catalyze policy initiatives. Our Economic Future (http://oureconomicfuture.org/ ) lobbies legislators to raise revenue.
- Washington State Budget and Policy Center (http://budgetandpolicy.org/ ) does comprehensive budget and policy analysis, providing ideas for budget solutions, and raising public awareness. They’re currently focused on tax loopholes and the recent court ruling that Initiative 1053 (which requires a supermajority for tax increases) is unconstitutional.
- Washington’s Paramount Duty (http://www.paramountduty.org) a grassroots lobbying organization whose mission is to compel Washington State to amply fund basic education and swiftly fulfill its paramount duty. We envision a future where all children have equitable access to an amply funded basic education, as guaranteed by the Washington State Constitution
Supporting Documentation: Click for sources and additional details in PDF