What do you want your children to get out of Washington State's public schools? What barriers are standing between kids and their goals? What should state education officials focus on?
Your answers to these and other questions on an online survey can influence the state's educational priorities for the next three years.
The Washington State Board of Education, a 16-member board that designs policies around graduation requirements, school accountability and other K-12 issues, is using the nine-question survey to solicit public feedback for its 2019-2022 strategic plan.
If this request sounds familiar, that's because just a few months ago, State Superintendent Chris Reykdal, who leads the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), put out a call to the public asking for feedback on legislative priorities.
There’s a lot of crossover between the board and OSPI. Reykdal himself sits on the board. Both agencies worked together to create a framework to gauge how well schools are doing — think the Every Student Succeeds Act, but on a state level.
But in general, the Board of Education sets statewide education policy while OSPI enforces it, said board spokesperson Alissa Muller.
One recent example of the board’s work is the 24-credit high-school graduation requirement, which passed in 2014. The board was also one of the architects of the "McCleary fix," a landmark bill passed last summer that allocated billions more in state money toward education.
A previous version of the survey from 2014, which informed the 2015-2018 plan, received 729 responses according to Muller. (There are roughly 1 million public-school children across the state). The responses called for more funding of basic education, smaller class sizes and professional development for teachers.
“This led to our repeated advocacy on behalf of McCleary and ample provision … in Washington’s K-12 public schools,” said Muller.
You have until July 30 to respond to this year's survey. And if you miss that deadline, you’ll have another chance to submit your feedback once the board releases a draft of the strategic plan sometime this fall.