Washington Learns: Organization and Expectations
The 2005 Legislature passed SB 5441, creating the Washington Learns Steering Committee, which was co-chaired by Governor Gregoire, and advisory committees in early learning, K-12 and higher education. After over a year of intensive study, the advisory committees and the steering committee developed a final report with comprehensive, long-term recommendations for creating a world-class, learner-focused, seamless education system for Washington.
The principles and strategies of Washington Learns are designed to transform our entire education system. It is a long-term goal, and it will require sustained participation by state and local governments, by parents, caregivers, teachers and community members, by business and private enterprise, by every level of educational institution, and by students themselves. Our commitment is to a new education system that will excite learners, invigorate teachers and impress employers.
What is Washington Learns?
Washington Learns, created and led by Governor Chris Gregoire, conducted a top to bottom, 18-month review of Washington’s entire education system, its structure and funding. The recommendations developed by Washington Learns will fundamentally change educational expectations, delivery and results.
To ensure a broad cross-section of ideas and expertise, Governor Gregoire assembled a diverse group of business, community, education, government and minority leaders from all across Washington to create this roadmap for building a world–class education system that prepares all Washington students to succeed in today’s global economy.
Preparing all students to succeed in today’s global economy
- Fully integrate our early learning, K–12 and post-secondary education systems so that the transition from one step to the next is seamless.
- Ensure all children thrive early in life and are prepared to enter school.
- Ensure all students master the skills they need to participate thoughtfully and productively in their work and their communities.
- Close the achievement gap that academically sidelines low-income and minority students.
- Make higher education and workforce training opportunities relevant and affordable so our workforce can compete within a global economy.
Our children hold OUR future in THEIR hands. We must invest in them today to prepare them for the future — and everyone benefits.
The Road to Success
Washington Learns’ 2005 Interim Report spurred significant gains for education in the 2006 legislative session, including:
- Creation of a cabinet-level Department of Early Learning that consolidates more than a half-dozen childcare and early learning programs, giving real focus to helping our youngest learners thrive early in life.
- Programs and funding to help high school students achieve graduation standards.
- Mentor and apprenticeship programs that help middle and high school students prepare for life after graduation whether entering the workforce or college.
Many of the recommendations from the 2006 Final Report were passed by the 2007 legislative session, including:
- Expansion of all-day kindergarten.
- Programs to ensure better math and science teaching and learning.
- Scholarship programs and grants to give more people access to higher education.