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Pre-K to 12 Education 2019 Session Paper

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Employers in East King County and across the state struggle to fill available jobs with Washington state residents. Education is the key to closing this gap, beginning with early education (ages 3-4), and ending with the completion of post-high school credentials, including college degrees, career certificates, and apprenticeships.

Our state’s students need to graduate high school with the skills needed to pursue and succeed in credentialed college and career programs to help them attain employment in high demand/high wage fields in our state.

The East King County Chambers of Commerce Legislative Coalition requests the Legislature to do the following on our behalf:

  • Continue to fund basic education: Safeguard the state plan for funding basic K-12 education so that it will account for differences in regional cost of living and student education needs. Ensure “basic education” is defined to result in students graduating from the K-12 system prepared to pursue credentialed college and career programs and attain available jobs.
  • Early Childhood Education: Increase opportunities for children to obtain quality early childhood education across the State and ensure adequate access to school counselors and mental health professionals.
  • Enhance accountability and improve outcomes: Set meaningful, open, and transparent accountability measures that report by district and by high school the percentage of students who graduate college and career ready and require steady increases, including a better tracking system for post high school activity, including both education and work force attainment.
  • Improve state support for meaningful Workforce Training the following ways:
    • Enhance opportunities for students to attain college credit, career credentials, and apprenticeships during high school;
    • Provide students with ample opportunities to explore career pathways, no later than at the middle school level;
    • Adopt a basic set of career and technical education variants for accreditation towards Core 24 requirements;
    • Consolidate career pathway exploration progams, which currently exist across multiple state agencies;
    • Open alternative routes to teacher certification to encourage career professionals to teach CTE classes in our middle and high schools;
    • Remove obstacles that prevent students age 16 to 18 from attaining industry certifications or apprenticeships;
    • Provide funding for student fees related to industry certification and college credits.
  • Fund the Capital Budget: Continue to fund badly needed capital facility improvements in our K-12 common school system.
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