Monthly Archives: January 2017

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    Our values tell us to help all our children in the classroom

Our values tell us to help all our children in the classroom

January 30th, 2017|

As we discuss critical investments in our state budget, I am reminded that the budget is not just a fiscal document, it is a policy document. A budget does not determine our priorities; it is an expression of them.

We must write a budget that cherishes and accepts all people, especially in today’s national climate. Funding our children’s education and supporting the most vulnerable in our state requires us to identify solutions that will benefit all of us, not just some of us.

Our values tell us to help all our children in the classroom. Our policy is to fully fund education in our budget. Working with my Democratic colleagues, we intend to protect our children’s schools from an immediate loss of nearly $400 million in short term funding by passing the levy cliff bill now. We intend to solve our long-term education needs by fully paying for basic education that includes funding smaller class sizes, learning assistance and special education, family-wage and professional development for educators and support for children with guidance counselors and family involvement.

We intend to fund basic education fairly with equitable, stable revenue that actually pays for improvements to education and helps every child in our state.

We are working to write a budget that funds our children’s schools.

Sen. Kevin Ranker

Ranker encourages outdoor early learning with pilot program

January 24th, 2017|

OLYMPIA — A bipartisan bill introduced by Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, in the state Senate would start a pilot program to create outdoor preschools. Over forty outdoor, nature-based programs operate in Washington’s incredible natural surroundings. Based on a Scandinavian model, educators lead children through exploration and hands-on learning for hours a day, entirely outside. The pilot puts these in-demand programs in Washington on track to offer full-day programs.
Sponsored by senators from across the state, Senate Bill 5357 would offer a four-year pilot program for outdoor early learning programs.
“This bill will help children get outside at an early age letting them learn and thrive outdoors while preparing for their future,” Ranker said. “Based on a proven system of outdoor schools from around the world, we’re giving existing programs the opportunity to become fully licensed, full-time programs, allowing children to learn and explore in the environment around them.”
The program would start August 31, 2017 and end June 30, 2021. The Department of Early Learning (DEL) will oversee the pilot, ensuring programs meet established standards and requirements of the Early Achievers Quality Rating and Improvement System. An advisory group will assist with the pilot program and report to the Legislature and Governor annually.
“Outdoor recreation opportunities are vital for our children’s education,” said Ranker. “Early learning outdoor programs are a great way for families struggling to afford childcare to get their children into the outdoors with exceptional science and early education.”
“Research on this type of outdoor education shows a positive impact on children’s development,” said Ranker. “It improves cognitive and social skills, preparing children for grade school. This is a great opportunity for children to improve their learning and become stewards of the environment.”

“We shall overcome”: Sen. Ranker remembers Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 16th, 2017|

Sen. Ranker remembers Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through his words: “We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

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    Ranker sworn in for third term, ready for a challenging session

Ranker sworn in for third term, ready for a challenging session

January 9th, 2017|

Today, as the 2017 Legislative Session began, I was sworn in for my third term as your State Senator. It remains an incredible honor to serve you, and I am eternally grateful for this tremendous opportunity.

As I reflect upon the past year, and look forward to the Legislative Session before us, I am reminded that what is most important…is to simply do good.

It is not enough to stand by and let hate and fear grow. And, it is not enough to allow our friends and neighbors to feel threatened or that their dreams for a better future for themselves and their children may not be achievable. It is my job – it is all of our jobs – to do everything in our power to make this world a better place. Each of us should feel hope for our future for ourselves and those we love…and those we don’t even know.

I know this is difficult with everything we face nationally and locally, but hiding, retreating or giving up is not an option.

The 2017 Legislative Session in Olympia is already shaping up to be one of the most consequential sessions of my eight years in the Legislature.

The challenges we face this year just in the budget are considerable: funding for our children’s education; funding mental health, funding for homeless, higher education, etc. – all programs that are critical and all programs that are dramatically underfunded.

It is quite a to-do list, but it is an achievable one, and one that gives us plenty of opportunity to make important progress on protecting and advancing those core values that we hold most dear. And, we must remember that these core values are not defined by the Supreme Court, the Constitution or politics, they are defined by people – our families and friends and their ability to have an equal opportunity to succeed and an equal opportunity to fulfill their dreams free from fear of hate and discrimination.

These are the truths that will guide my decisions as I help construct our $42 billion state operating budget, and these are the core values that guide me in all of my public service.

Thank you again for this incredible honor.

Sen. Kevin Ranker