Monthly Archives: February 2020

Three Hasegawa education equity bills pass state Senate

February 13th, 2020|

Three bills designed to increase equity in Washington’s education system passed the Washington State Senate on Wednesday.

The bills, all sponsored by Sen. Bob Hasegawa (D-Seattle), would increase equity by addressing ethnic studies curricula, the shortage of teachers from underrepresented communities, and Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).

“My biggest priority for our education system is equity,” Hasegawa said. “Our kids need to know about their heritage and history, have teachers and role models who look like them, and have access to education that fits their needs. While we still need to work hard to achieve true equity, these bills move us in the right direction.”

Hasegawa’s bills do the following:

  • Senate Bill 6066 requires the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to provide ethnic studies materials for all grades, including grades K-6. Just last year, the Legislature passed a Hasegawa bill requiring ethnic studies materials for grades 7-12. This new bill expands on that previous work, and encourages schools to teach ethnic studies. To learn more about why ethnic studies programs are important, watch Hasegawa’s committee testimony.
  • Senate Bill 6138 modifies the purpose of the existing Beginning Educator Support Team Program to include support for mentor educators and beginning teachers of underrepresented populations. OSPI would give grant priority to schools and districts that work with program participants from underrepresented populations or have strong ties to these populations.
  • Senate Bill 6047 prohibits schools and districts from retaliating against employees who report noncompliance with IEPs. This helps ensure that educators and staff will advocate for their students without fear of retaliation, and that students will receive the support they need and are entitled to under their IEPs. Video of Hasegawa’s committee testimony is available online.

All three bills now move to the state House of Representatives for consideration.

Feb. 7, 2020: A State Bank Update

February 7th, 2020|

Creating a public bank of, by and for the people of Washington state has been my #1 priority issue for some time now. It is a public finance game changer proposal that will:

  1. Generate new revenue for the state without raising taxes.
  2. Drastically increase public financing capacity for public infrastructure while lowering costs.
  3. Keeps our tax dollars here in Washington State working for us instead of working to make more profits for Wall Street.

Legislative update on public banking:

Since the banking caused recession in 2009 I’ve worked to educate my fellow colleagues, and all Washingtonians (and around the US) about the power of the people owning our own bank and how we can use it to build Washington—and our public banking movement is growing!!  Proponents in areas all across the state — from Eastern to Western Washington, urban to rural — are actively working to educate, agitate, organize and mobilize for a public bank.

In 2018, the Legislature approved a budget proviso to contract the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington to develop a business plan for a public bank in Washington. That business plan was due in June 2019 but has yet to be completed. Many of us in the Legislature have been working to correct this.

Meanwhile, we will continue building the movement for a public bank.  My current iteration is Senate Bill 5995. Many statewide organizations have adopted platform planks to support the public bank.  SB 5995 is modeled after the Bank of North Dakota, which is the only other publicly owned bank in the US.  While the rest of the world uses public banking as their financing foundation, we in the US have relied on commercial banking instead.  We need to find a better way.

Background Information:

  • What is public banking and SB 5995?  Learn more Link.
  • Or watch the public hearing on SB 5995 last week Link.
  • Public Banking Institute  Link
  • Learn more Link.

Recent victories nation-wide:

  • California passes public banking bill.  Link
  • New Jersey moving forward with public banking.  Link
  • In it’s 100th year, the Bank of North Dakota posted its 15th consecutive year of record profits for the people of North Dakota with an amazing 18% ROI (see BND’s 2018 Annual Report).  Link
  • San Francisco  Link
  • Los Angeles  Link
  • New York  Link