No Kidding! Blog

What's at Stake for Kids in Olympia in 2015


The New Year brings a new legislative session, with new challenges and new opportunities for Washington’s kids. 

In order to make sure kids are put at the center of government’s concern this year, it’s helpful to know who holds power, and how, in the State capitol.

Advocates at the Capitol Steps, January 2014.

The fall 2014 elections resulted in a state Senate majority of 25 Republicans and a minority of 24 Democrats. In the House, a 51-member Democratic majority holds power, while Republicans hold the remaining 47 seats.

Each elected representative works within the political party of his or her choice. Within the House and Senate, these parties meet as a unit. They are called caucuses. The caucus is a closed forum for discussing ideas and proposing action. One Senate Democrat, Sen. Tim Sheldon (D-Potlatch), chooses to meet in his Republican colleagues’ caucus.  This is the Majority Coalition Caucus.

Initiative 1351, concerning K-12 education

During election season, the Children’s Alliance analyzes statewide ballot measures. Whether we support, oppose, or don’t get involved is based on the answer to one fundamental question:  Is it good for kids and for racial equity?

Today, we announce our opposition to Initiative 1351 concerning K-12 education.

Southwest Wash. Senators Recognized for Early Learning Leadership

Ann Rivers & Annette Cleveland

Every one of our state’s children needs an equal opportunity for high-quality early learning. That’s why a growing number of state, local and federal policymakers are supporting the first five years of a child’s life: the foundation for lifelong success.

Among them are State Senators Ann Rivers (18th District, La Center, left) and Annette Cleveland (49th District, Vancouver, right).

Honoring State Representatives for work to expand access to high quality early learning


Children are born learning. Access to high quality early learning is critical to closing the gap for children who start out with fewer opportunities. An increasing number of lawmakers understand that early learning builds strong kids and strong communities.

Last week the Early Learning Action Alliance recognized State Representative David Sawyer (Spanaway, 29th District) for his commitment to the first five years of a child’s life.

Advocates for children and families oppose cuts to services to fund McCleary

Today Children's Alliance joined with the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance and Columbia Legal Services to file an Amicus Curiae brief with the state Supreme Court in the McCleary v. Washington case.

The brief requests that, as the state moves to comply with the Court’s ruling, it refrain from funding education in a way that jeopardizes housing and other basic services to children and families. The brief may be found here.

“If we cut social programs to pay for education, everyone’s worse off
,” says Paola Maranan, executive director of the Children’s Alliance. “In addressing our failure to uphold kids’ right to a basic education, we don’t want the solution to exacerbate the problem.”

The Amicus participants support the Court’s finding in McCleary that the state must provide adequate funding to ensure the right of all children to an education that prepares them for lifelong success.

While education must be fully funded, the brief explains how students in low-income families face barriers outside the classroom that limit their equal opportunity to obtain a basic education. These barriers also expand the educational opportunity gap that exists between white students and students of color.