Learning loss, student mental health crisis are lasting COVID closure impacts

“This is THE equity issue of our time.” – Sen. John Braun





  • Our students are plagued with tremendous learning loss in the wake of the pandemic. It affects children of color and children from lower-income households more than others.

  • We needed to fund intense tutoring and other programs to address learning loss. The Senate operating budget proposal included $70 million for this. The final budget did not include any of this funding.
  • The final budget does include $800 million over four years to enhance special education programs. Republicans have fought for five years for more special education funding because the kids receiving those services deserve better.
  • Governor Inslee vetoed a Special Education Performance Audit, which was designed to look, at least in part, at how districts were accounting for and spending special education funding

AUDIO: Inslee vetoes show troubling lack of accountability

  • Democrats passed a bill that assists kids in public school by funding transitional kindergarten, but it leaves out approximately 400 charter school students who should quality. This reflects the Democrats’ approach to school choice – which is to limit choice.


  • SB 5000: Americans of Chinese Descent month

  • SB 5065: Encouraging public school instruction regarding bone marrow donation
  • HB 1013: Establishes a regional apprenticeship program in five sites across the state
  • HB 1044: Additional capital financial assistance to small school districts
  • SB 5403: Establishes school district subfunds for preventative maintenance

AUDIO: Governor signs Schoesler bill helping school districts address maintenance needs

  • HB 1436: Increases the special education funding multipliers and enrollment cap
  • SB 5512: Improves financial reporting of higher education institutions
  • HB 1210: Requires all school district board meetings to be audio recorded, with recordings kept for at least one year, and made available to the public


  • SB 5225: Increases the cost of childcare assistance to the taxpayer by expanding the eligibility to receive assistance
  • SB 5650: Increases the rate for increasing educator salaries based on inflation
  • SB 5257: State-mandated recess – the legislature acting as the “great school board in the sky”
State Senate Republicans want local control of schools. Republican Senators speak against a Democrat bill mandating a certain amount of recess. A Senator sponsors a bill to rein in the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. And the Ranking Republican on the Senate Education Committee details some disturbing trends.

  • HB 1230: Requires schools to post DOH information about drug use and firearms trends on their websites
  • HB 1550: Funds a program for 4-year-olds called transitional kindergarten that is not part of basic education, but leaves out nearly 400 students attending charter schools