Tag Archive for: equitable education

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Reflections on My 1st Year at TeamChild

As we head into 2023 — a year of strategic planning for TeamChild — each one of us on our staff and Board is deeply reflecting on how we can meet the challenges of today while doing the work to prevent harm from happening in the first place.

TeamChild Partners with Local Legal Aid and Community Organizations for Know Your Rights Webinars

TeamChild has long addressed education access and equity for young people experiencing school discipline, enrollment and reengagement barriers, inadequate special education and related services, and discrimination. COVID-19 has intensified these issues for youth of color, youth with disabilities and youth with financial challenges.

In September, attorneys from our Know Your Rights workgroup collaborated with partner organizations to share information from our Education in the wake of COVID-19 Know Your Rights Manual. If you missed the webinars you can view them, and related resources, using the following links:

South King County Discipline Coalition – Back To School in COVID-19

Special Education in Washington – co-hosted with the Northwest Justice Project and Disability Rights Washington

The next webinar will be presented by The Every Student Counts Alliance, a coalition of parents in the Spokane region seeking to create equitable and inclusive school practices involving education, discipline and safety while amplifying the voices of diverse populations. Attorneys from TeamChild and Northwest Justice Project will present information regarding attendance, grading, special education, discipline, technology, and McKinney-Vento issues during distance learning. Following a short presentation, there will be time for questions and discussions of students’ issues that have arisen with the beginning of the school year. Save the date!

October 2nd, 2:30-4 PMBack to School in 2020 Know Your Rights. Pre-registration is requested. Register HERE.


See our calendar for additional upcoming training dates.

Institutional Education Task Force

We know from our work with young people across the state, juvenile court involvement does not produce good educational outcomes. The 2017 Washington State Center for Court Research report Students Before and After Juvenile Court Dispositions makes clear that juvenile justice involvement does not improve and in fact worsens the educational outcomes of students.

As one partial response to this long standing problem, in March 2020, the WA state legislature passed a bill (ESHB 2116) establishing a task force on Institutional Education, which means the education provided to youth who are housed in our state prisons, county detention facilities, and other public institutions.  Spearheaded by Representative Callan, whose District houses 70-100 youth at the Echo Glen Children’s Center, a state prison run by DCYF/Juvenile Rehabilitation, this task force aims to understand the inequities and gaps in educational services provided to youth who are incarcerated and propose solutions to improve the system of education and the outcomes for youth who are served by it. TeamChild Managing Attorney Karen Pillar is a member of the Task Force, which meets monthly between June and December.

The questions being considered by the Task Force are more than urgent.  Alarm bells sounded over a year ago when the Issaquah School District, the District responsible for the education of youth at Echo Glen, indicated that the funding model in place would cut the number of teachers available to teach at Echo Glen by more than 50%.  As revealed in an OSPI complaint filed by TeamChild, the 2019/2020 school year proved to be as bad as expected for the students at Echo Glen, even before the stay home orders left all school districts scrambling to address equitable education.

The work of the Task Force and others addressing the educational needs of youth in county and state institutions must entertain and envision a new model for providing education to a wide range of youth, from age 12 to 25, with a variety of learning styles and academic needs who also spend a varying amount of time inside and transitioning out of county detention and state institutions. The work is also urgent for every state and county agency to meet its commitment to equity.  Black and brown youth are disproportionately sent to detention and state institutions, exacerbating preexisting education inequities. While TeamChild is at the table to voice our perspective about the educational rights of youth we have represented, we continue to work alongside those in the community to end the use of detention and state prisons for youth.

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