Advocacy Update

We have good news and bad news to report.

The bad news is that the State Board of Education despite considerable opposition from many groups, has voted to go ahead with the Graduation Requirements proposal reducing the elective credits. I am really surprised at their decision because there was so much opposition to their proposal. So we have lost a battle but not the war. We are going to regroup and keep working the problem.

It has become clear that WMEA was not involved in the planning process so we were in a position of reacting to a decision that was already done in the States Board mind before this decision was made formally.

The good news is that we have made good contacts that will help us make sure this does not happen again. Hopefully we will have input early in the planning process when the next issue arises. We have discovered that many of you did respond to the State Board on this issue and for that we thank you. Even though we were not able to achieve our desired result we are not stopping.

Last night the WMEA Advocacy committee held its first regional workshop. While the turnout was moderate we feel it was successful and we will be planning more of them in other sites around the state. The major thrust of the workshop is to involve parents in advocacy efforts at the state and local levels. There is no one way to accomplish this since every school and district is unique. This means that each school and district needs to develop a plan and strategy that will best work for them. In accomplishing this the WMEA Advocacy committee is willing to help you if you so desire. Sometimes it is helpful to have someone from the outside help you think through your particular situation–not tell you what to do but help you with all of the factors that need to be considered in determining how to involve parents in your situation.

We are now focusing on the Special Session of the Legislature which is meeting on November 28th to deal with the latest budget crisis. The Governor is proposing additional cuts to Basic Ed from 10 to 22%. We will keep you posted and will be calling on you to respond to your legislator if we deem that appropriate.

Neal Porter
WMEA Advocacy Chairman
Metropolitan Music Services
Arts Education Washington
Hall of Fame
Ted Brown Music
All Northwest
JW Pepper