The Story of 2019 (So Far): Legislative Session News from Across the Nation
July 26, 2019

Each summer, our annual pulse check on Network members’ key initiatives offers a unique opportunity to learn about the advocacy strategies and political challenges that have shaped the year. As we approach the midpoint of summer 2019, more than two-thirds of Network advocates have wrapped up legislative sessions in their states. 

From Phoenix to Columbus, champions for kids are celebrating this session’s successes and reflecting on the challenges they faced.

Advocates have shared members-only insights into a variety of advocacy and policy efforts, with the following issue areas leading the way so far: 

  • Educator policy
  • Charter schools
  • College & career readiness

In a previous update, we shared news from members in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Washington. Read on for just a few highlights from six additional states, organized into three key policy areas.

And as you’re catching up on members’ 2019 work, don’t miss the opportunity to celebrate the unique coalitions, under-celebrated policy campaigns, and more that are on your radar this year. Nominations for the 2019 Eddies! Awards are due Friday, July 26. 

Educator Policy: Increasing & Defending Teacher Diversity

In partnership with Connecticut’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, ConnCAN helped secure the passage of a policy that supports the recruitment and retention of high-quality minority teachers. Connecticut will now have yearly targets for increasing minority teachers, expanded reciprocity agreements, and flexible certification requirements for shortage areas. Find more details here, plus updates on ConnCAN’s other work on access to Black & Latino studies curriculum, school funding, and more.

“While there were ups and downs this year, one thing is clear—decision-makers need to hear from educators.”

In Minnesota, testimony from educators and school leaders helped defend against attempts to erect licensure barriers for high-quality educators. According to Educators for Excellence-Minnesota, the bill could have had “devastating impacts on the diversity of Minnesota’s teaching workforce,” since more than 23 percent of teachers of color currently teach with a Tier 1, Tier 2, or special permission license. E4E-Minnesota and EdAllies both shared more details on the successful defense of Minnesota’s tiered licensure system, plus other legislative updates on discipline disparities, school funding, and more.

Improving Opportunities for College & Career Readiness

Alabama advocates are celebrating the passage of comprehensive computer science legislation that will require every K-12 school to offer computer science by the 2022–2023 school year, and positions the state as a leader in computer science education. Learn more about House Bill 216 from A+ Education Partnership, plus other news on the Alabama Literacy Act and defense against lowering academic standards.

In Delaware, new funding will help to sustain and scale the state’s fast-growing career pathways efforts. A $500,000 investment will support employer engagement in creating paid work experiences for youth. The Rodel Foundation of Delaware shares more details here, along with updates on early learning and funding.

After a “roller coaster of a session,” Stand for Children Oregon reports that advocates have secured full funding for Measure 98, meaning that Oregon students will have more opportunities for career-technical education, advanced coursework, and on-track supports. Learn more here

Progress on Charter School Funding; Work to Improve Accountability Continues

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute-Ohio shared news of a milestone appropriation that drives additional state dollars to high-performing, high-poverty charter schools, representing “a big step forward in efforts to narrow funding disparities.” Supplemental funding will allow quality charters to serve more students and will also be available to successful charter networks seeking to expand into Ohio. More details here.

“Ohio is quickly transforming into an attractive locale for high-performing schools.”

A for Arizona’s look back at the legislative session spans five policy areas, including charter school reform and accountability, where results were a “mixed bag.” Though advocates secured additional funding to support the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools’ important oversight efforts, legislation that would have made a major step forward in creating additional charter school accountability ultimately stalled in the Arizona House.

As legislative sessions continue to wrap up, we look forward to learning and sharing more about state advocates’ work through our annual Member Advocacy and Policy (MAP) Survey. Interested in learning from members-only insights into the above policy efforts and many more? Reach out.

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Christina Dobratz

Christina is PIE Network's Manager, Communications & Policy  

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