Education in Olympia, Washington will get top priority in this winter’s legislative session. Besides funding, legislators will also focus on student success, closing the accomplishment gap between rich and poor children, and among children from different ethnic groups. This decision follows the Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling that the state had failed to meet its constitutional duty to fully fund basic education.

At The Associated Press legislative preview session, lawmakers said that the education will be the main issue over every other issue before the Legislature. There were some revenue-based suggestions that were presented during the hours-long preview session such as concentrating future Internet sales tax revenue to education, utilizing sales tax income from marijuana for educational institutions such as schools, adding school buses into the transportation budget and gas tax used to pay for school transportation.

The Supreme Court had given lawmakers a 2018 deadline to come up with laws for providing funds for basic education. At the legislative preview session, higher education also got a thrust, with lawmakers stressing the need for a recommitment to the state’s public universities and more focus on higher education for Washington children to facilitate employment in science, technology and engineering jobs.

The Obama administration is focused on new investments in core educational areas to help build a workforce that can rebuild the country’s economy. The focus of general policy is to empower states, districts and schools to pursue bold reforms.

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