State of the City: New Investments in Eliminating Educational Disparities

Mayor Ed Murray announced a series of new investments in education, based on recommendations that came from over a year of community engagement, aimed at addressing disparities between white students and African American/Black students and other historically underserved students of color. The City will raise revenue to provide on-going investments in enhancements to birth-to-five programs, before-and after-school opportunities, family engagement, addressing disproportionality in discipline, summer learning, school-based mentoring, and added college and career readiness programs.  It also includes a significant one-time expansion of the 13th Year Promise Scholarship.

The on-going investments (two-year totals) include:

  • Promoting Family Engagement and Collaboration – $2.7M
    Expand opportunities that increase parents’ ability to support their child’s learning and increase educators’ ability to authentically engage parents. Add funds to schools for parent engagement activities and parent advocates.
  • Enhancing Before and After School Opportunities – $35K (2018-19 School Year)
    Increase wraparound programs that occur outside of regular school hours including STEM learning opportunities, partnerships with Seattle Parks and increasing funding to community based organizations.
  • Expanding School-Based Mentoring – $581K
    Match a caring adult with every child who is struggling to keep up with school requirements. Increasing funding for successful programs like My Brother’s Keeper to additional middle schools and ensure all students have the support they need to succeed.
  • Reducing Disproportionality in Discipline – $1.5M
    Build a positive school culture and support student social-emotional development. This will include coordinated parent, student and teacher outreach so that students having issues at schools can receive personalized case management. Funding will also be made available to train teachers and staff on how to reduce discipline disparities.
  • Increasing Innovation School Investments – $3.8M
    Develop a tiered approach to intervention with students who are performing below grade-level to equalize the playing field. This funding will expand the number of middle and high schools getting flexible funds—a model that asks the school to creatively meet the needs of their students. Programs can include: social/emotional support, college and career planning, experiential learning, more rigorous curricula and culturally relevant curricula.
  • Growing Summer Learning Programs – $2M
    Provide struggling students with additional academic time to catch up with their peers, free and nutritious meals, and high quality enrichment experiences. Programs funded could include cultural or gender specific programming for summer enrichment activities.
  • Adding Workplace-Based Learning Programs – $2M
    Foster post-secondary success and workplace preparedness by providing stipends for students to experience career opportunities.
  • Supporting Educator Workforce Diversity – $841K
    Create opportunities for instructional assistants to earn their teaching certificates. Funding will provide more support for diverse assistants to gain credentials needed to join the teaching corps, facilitating an easier pipeline process.
  • Expanding Birth to 5 year Investments – $4M
    Expanding programs to care for and prepare children with social and academic skills, setting them up for academic success in school.
  • 13th Year Investment – $5M (one time investment)
    The 13th Year Promise Scholarship provides scholarship and payment assistance – along with college readiness classes – to graduates from select Seattle Public High Schools for the first year attending any of the Seattle Colleges.  The new funding will help create an endowment to help expand the program, managed by the Seattle Colleges.

Ongoing Collaboration:
Mayor Murray has also challenged the City to create strong relationships across all sectors – business philanthropy, higher education community based organization, parents, students and educators – so the vision of an equitable Seattle can be achieved. The City and Seattle Public Schools will be convening an education roundtable with community and business partners to knit together a shared public and private vision for ending the opportunity gap together.

To implement this action plan, Mayor Murray announced the partnership and financial contributions of key members of the philanthropic community, in addition to a measure to raise revenue. Contributors include:

  • Seattle Foundation
  • Casey Family Programs
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Raikes Foundation
  • Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce

In November, the City received recommendations from the Education Summit Advisory Group and began working to implement programs which will effectively address the achievement gap. The City is already working to address systemic inequity in 2017 by increasing summer learning programs to serve an additional 200 students including investing in culturally relevant programs, expanding My Brother’s Keeper to five additional middle schools and implementing the innovation school model in a high school.  The Department of Education and Early Learning will work to dovetail the additional program investments announced today with ongoing work to end disparities in education.

These recommendations resulted from a community engagement process that heard from more than 2,000 community voices and culminated in the first citywide Education Summit in more than 25 years.

The City remains committed to working with our partners in Olympia to pass a statewide funding plan for basic education that ensures that all students, no matter their zip code or background, have equal opportunities for success.


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