Key Takeaway

This 2014 policy brief provides background on the McCleary vs. State lawsuit and emphasizes that changes made only to the education system (and not social service system) threatens to widen the achievement gap for low-income and poor students.

It is clear that Washington State needs to fully fund education, but actions aimed at the K-12 system alone are insufficient, and threaten to widen the achievement gap for low-income and poor students. Research shows a strong link between family economic hardship in early childhood and poor academic outcomes (Duncan, Yeung, Brooks-Gunn & Smith, 1998, p. 406). Deep cuts to other important state services could even reverse gains made by proposed education reforms. Accordingly, a commitment to improving educational outcomes for all children – especially those from low-income families – requires a full commitment to health and social services.

This 2014 policy brief outlines the how the state needs to take important social services into account as we address the mandates of the McCleary lawsuit.