With lawmakers working to meet the state Supreme Court's funding and reform directives in the McCleary decision, every education advocate should know what "Basic Education" means for Washington state students.
We've put together the basics in this blog post.
Basic Education is a technical term defined by the Washington State Legislature, meant to capture the knowledge and skills needed to participate in the economy and in our democracy and meant to comply with our state's constitutional paramount duty.
"It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.” -- Article IX, Section I of the Washington State Constitution
The legislature decides which specific educational programs are included in “Basic Education.” For example, preschool (pre-K) is not currently part of Basic Education. In 2009, the legislature expanded the definition of Basic Education to include a 24-credit high school diploma, transportation to and from school, and all-day kindergarten; but these improvements have not been funded or implemented yet.
The McCleary decision
In the McCleary decision in January 2012, the state Supreme Court found that the state must find a "regular and dependable" source of funds for schools.
The Court also referred to both the 2009 reforms in ESHB 2261 and related 2010 reforms in SHB 2776, finding that the legislature should implement and fund those improvements, recognizing that "fundamental reforms are needed for Washington to meet its constitutional obligation to its students" and saying that "pouring more money into an outmoded system will not succeed."
What does a school board, superintendent, and principal do?
To better understand how our education system works, you should be familiar with the responsibliities of each decision-maker or decision-making body. Read what a school board, superintendent, and principal do here.