Kids are out of school for the summer, but that doesn’t mean the work to give every child a great education is on summer break too. In fact, this past week, education advocates came together to discuss how their collaborative efforts are making progress to ensure all Washington state students start school prepared, attend a great school, and have a fantastic teacher.
We left our discussion energized and incredibly inspired. Let us give you three examples why we are so optimistic about the path forward by highlighting our discussions:
- Celebrating successes to date: Our state now has coalitions representing diverse groups, clear plans of action for both early learning and K-12, a stronger new teacher/principal evaluation, a progressive Seattle collective bargaining contract that puts poor kids first and develops career ladders for quality teaching, and two federal grants for early learning. The Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge will bring $60 million to strengthen the quality of care and education of our state’s youngest learners. Washington will receive $25 million from the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program to expand Home Visiting Services in some of the state’s most at-risk communities.
- Networking among our early learning and K-12 partners: This was the first time we have brought together business, education and community partners from around Washington to focus on our state and local education priorities. We jumped into a tough topic- how do we more effectively engage communities of color and involve them in the work?
- Focusing on the work ahead: Advocates will be scaling successful pilots in early learning and the new teacher and principal evaluation system for the entire state during the next few years. We talked in detail about ensuring there’s an excellent case for state funding to sustain the gains made.
In Washington state, the Gates Foundation focuses on supporting students, families, and communities with the greatest needs and fewest resources. We see education as one of the best ways to do this and are incredibly thankful for the efforts of our partners.
Here’s an example of the amazing work in Washington state education being done by A+ Washington. It’s a plan—led by a coalition of parents, teachers, business leaders, and advocates—to transform education in our state. A+ Washington has big ideas and strategies to give teachers, principals, and parents the flexibility they need to help our students succeed.
A+ Washington’s innovative approach is illustrated in the video above that introduces you to Mia. Children like Mia are why we show up to work every day.
We hope you take the time to meet her – so you’ll be inspired to take action and become optimistic about the direction we are headed in Washington state!