Working to transform the child welfare system.

HB 1541: Relating to implementing strategies to close the educational opportunity gap, based on the recommendations of the educational opportunity gap oversight and accountability committee

HB 1541 adopts policies and programs to implement the 6 recommendations from the Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee. The recommendations are in the following areas:

  • Decrease the disproportionate representation of students of color in disciplinary actions in schools;
  • Enhance the cultural competence of current and future educators;
  • Provide English language learner and second language acquisition endorsements for all educators;
  • Create new English language learner accountability benchmarks;
  • Provide tools for deeper data analysis and disaggregation of student demographic data to inform instructional strategies to close the opportunity gap; and
  • Invest in the recruitment and retention of educators of color.

For example, regarding disciplinary actions, HB 1541 prohibits school districts from imposing a suspension that results in the exclusion of a student from school. Regarding training, the bill requires that the professional development program training package include the foundational elements of cultural competence, focusing on multicultural education and principles of English language acquisition. OSPI must integrate the content for cultural competence into the overall training for principals, administrators, and teachers to support the revised evaluation systems.

Each of the 6 areas have specific recommendations identified in the legislation.

The following was included through a House floor amendment:

  • Creates the Washington Integrated Student Supports Protocol (WISSP) at the Center for Improvement of Student Learning to support a school-based approach to promoting the success of all students by coordinating academic and non-academic supports to reduce barriers to academic achievement and educational attainment. Provides that the framework for the WISSP includes needs assessments, integration and coordination, and community partnerships, and is data driven.
  • Requires the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to create a work group to determine how to best implement the WSIPP framework and report to the Legislature by October 1, 2015 and 2016.
  • Adds the WISSP to the list of services and activities that may be supported by the Learning Assistance Program (LAP); removes the requirement that expenditure of funds from the LAP be consistent with certain academic achievement and accountability provisions; provides that the school board, rather than the OSPI, approve community-based organization or local agency before LAP funds may be expended, and requires the approval to occur in an open meeting; and removes the provision allowing the LAP funds to be used to reduce disruptive behaviors in the classroom.
  • Removes the limitation that the Center for the Improvement of Student Learning be established and perform certain functions only to the extent funds are appropriated for the purpose.
  • Makes a technical correction.