Washington STEM 2022 Legislative Recap
During Washington’s 2022 legislative year, Washington STEM, alongside our 10 regional STEM Network partners, 11-person policy executive committee, and the Washington STEM advocacy coalition, worked to advance policies that focus on equity, STEM, and the creation of meaningful change for students who are furthest from opportunity in our state.
LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES AND OUTCOMES IN 2022
Washington STEM brings together a broad set of stakeholders to ensure that the policies we are championing are equitable and feasible in a legislative cycle. With the support of the Washington STEM policy executive committee, we focused on four policy priorities: Systems improvements to Dual Credit programs, Early Learning and early STEM metrics, Equitable access to Computer science education, and Expansion of Career Connected learning opportunities.
Goal: Systems Improvements in Early STEM
Support the ongoing creation and usage of the State of the Children reports which provide an in-depth look at the health of our early learning and childcare systems.
The addition of early STEM metrics to the statewide STEM report card published by the state would help ensure that educators and business annually track the importance of early learning in achieving statewide STEM education and workforce goals.
Senate Bill 5553 Providing data regarding early STEM metrics in the STEM education report card
- The bill would require the existing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Report Card to include data regarding early STEM metrics, including outcomes data that is publicly available through the Early Learning Advisory Council and ongoing Department of Children, Youth and Families reports.
- Expanded data access would highlight gaps in access to high quality early learning.
- SB 5553 would not add any additional data collection requirements.
- SB 5553 did not pass the last step of the legislative process; it was one of 103 bills returned to Senate Rules at the close of session.
EQUITABLE ACCESS TO COMPUTER SCIENCE
Goal: Increase access to computer science
Access to computer science education can be increased by supporting regional implementation, community partnerships & planning, and by working through the Education Service Districts.
Support for regional efforts to expand access and inclusion in computer science would reach underserved students and identify and build relationships with community members, trusted messengers, and community-based organizations and nonprofits. Educators would also be supported through increased awareness and the expansion of professional development opportunities, including workgroups, leadership networks, administrative support, and districts’ shared learning.
A budget request to fund a CS Implementation lead was submitted. (sponsor: Sen Lisa Wellman) WELL S4960.1
- Each educational service district would use this funding solely for salary and benefits for 1.0 FTE who would help the state reach its Computer Science education attainment goals. The CS Implementation lead would also help districts prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion in the expansion of their CS programs.
- The budget proviso did not pass.
- In preparation for 2023 session, WA STEM is working with partners in early learning, career pathways in 2- and 4-year institutions, STEM networks, Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA), and the tech industry to promote comprehension and implementation of the Washington State Computer Science Plan. SMART goals and authentic buy-in from a variety of stakeholders including students, families, educators, business, philanthropy, agencies, and community-based organizations will strengthen the plan. Current work with WTIA includes the development of a CS dashboard to provide school districts and industry partners (and legislature) information to help expand programs and supports.
EQUITABLE ACCESS TO DUAL CREDIT PROGRAMS
Goal: Mandate statewide dual credit reporting
Statewide data on dual credit programs is limited. A mandate to expand reporting will provide much needed program support.
Current data about dual credit programs only includes participation metrics. More robust reporting will help inform state policy recommendations for closing dual credit gaps from the moment students attempt a course all the way through to postsecondary progress.
Washington STEM authored and helped pass legislation HB 1867 Concerning dual credit program data. 1867 was voted out of the Senate and House with unanimous and bipartisan support 48-0 and 95-1 votes respectively
- This legislation puts into action the recommendations from the statewide Dual Credit Task force, on which Washington STEM served. The recommendations, submitted to the legislature in Dec 2021, advise the state to “Establish a state-level, cross-sector dual credit dashboard to allow policymakers and practitioners to analyze longitudinal trends in dual credit access, participation, and success.”
- The legislation requires dual-credit data reporting including information about course completion and successful transcription of credit. The legislation also ensures that all measures are available by race, income, gender, geography, and other demographics.
- WA STEM built support for the bill from a broad coalition of partners: Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), State Board of Education (SBE), Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC), Council of Presidents 4-year institutions (COP), State Board of Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC), Education Research Data Center (ERDC), High School Success Coalition, Washington Roundtable, and the Washington STEM Advocacy Coalition.
CAREER PATHWAYS & CAREER CONNECT WASHINGTON
Goal: Expand career-connected learning opportunities
Advocacy for further investment in state-wide career-connected learning opportunities will strengthen and expand current systems.
Developing and expanding opportunities for career-connected learning in high-demand sectors will support the future workforce in areas vital to Washington’s pandemic recovery and our state’s net-zero carbon future.
$3 million will be invested in career-connected learning grants to industry sector program builders to create new, and scale existing, programs.
- Focus sectors include: CleanTech/Energy, IT/Cybersecurity, Advanced Manufacturing/Aerospace, Healthcare, Maritime, Education, Construction, and Banking/Finance.
WASHINGTON STEM ADVOCACY IN ACTION
Washington STEM works with communities and stakeholders across the state to develop a policy agenda that will drive state investments and policies with the best outcomes for both students and the economy in mind. The collaborative nature of this approach ensures that the policies we champion are founded in equity and representation. And we accomplish a lot when we work together.
Washington STEM Policy Director, Dr. Bish Paul, continued to advocate for early learning and access to quality childcare at the January 14th hearing of SB 5553 at the Senate Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education. Dr. Paul was joined by the bill’s legislative champion Senator Claire Wilson and regional partners Sarah Brady, of Childcare Resources, Jenny Veltri of the Skagit STEM Network, Susan Barbeau, from First 5 fundamentals.
Washington STEM also gave testimony on February 16th to the House Committee on Children, Youth & Families in support of businesses tracking the importance of early learning in achieving statewide STEM education and workforce goals. Also participating were legislative champion Representative Tana Senn and regional partners Misha Lujan, from the Economic Alliance Snohomish County, Sarah Brady, of Child Care Resources, Jenny Veltri, and ESD 189.
Dr. Bish Paul partnered with Representative David Paul, Angie Sievers, from Snohomish STEM Network, Sinead Plagge, from ESD 189, Virginia Brown Barry, from Stand for Children, and Gabriel Stotz, from Eisenhower High School Career and College Readiness Specialist on February 16th to advocate for Dual Credit reporting through HB 1867 for the Senate Early Learning and K12 Education Committee hearing.
We’re proud of what’s been accomplished in the 2022 legislative session, but we know there’s a lot of hard work ahead. As we all continue to navigate challenges—learning recovery in schools, declining enrollments in postsecondary education, and economic uncertainty after a public health emergency, and more—you can count on Washington STEM to seek out and act on policies that will equitably benefit Washington students.
For more detailed session information and materials, visit www.washingtonstem.org/advocacy2022.