Education Advocacy

OneAmerica has a strong background in advocating for policy changes to promote equity, fair representation, and just systems for immigrants and refugees at the local, state, and federal level. In addition to advocacy work nationally around comprehensive immigration reform and immigrant integration, OneAmerica has developed a robust education policy agenda and won major victories for immigrant students and families state-wide.

2014 LEGISLATIVE WINSGov Signs Dream

The Dream Act
OneAmerica and students of immigrant and refugee families won a huge victory this year when the Dream Act passed during the 2014 Legislative Session. Over the last two years, OneAmerica has been at the forefront of legislative advocacy to pass the Dream Act, a crucial bill which expands state financial aid eligibility to thousands of young aspiring citizens across Washington State so that they can finally fulfill their dreams of attending college. 

This is a huge win for students and families in our state, not only because of the new opportunities it provides but also for thousands of immigrants from across the state fought long and hard for this legislation. This victory truly demonstrated the civic and political power of immigrant and refugee communities.

Seal of Biliteracy  
The Seal of Biliteracy honors an innate skill that many students in our school system already have: knowledge of another language. OneAmerica’s advocacy for the Seal of Biliteracy grew out of our work around promoting the World Language Credit Program, which grants students up to four competency-based credits for demonstrating written and oral proficiency in another language.

Similar to competency-based credits, the Seal of Biliteracy places a special stamp on a high school student’s transcript when they demonstrate written and oral proficiency in both English and another language. This legislation honors the unique and valuable skills our students bring with them, and it is a significant milestone in opening pathways to continue to promote bilingual education in Washington State.

Para-Educator Pipeline
Our state needs stronger pathways for para-educators, the instructional classroom assistants who sometimes provide over 50% of the instruction to students. Para-educators are a valuable and under-used resource to the teaching professions – they are often bilingual and live in the communities they serve. The Para-Educator Pipeline bill passed in the 2014 legislative session creates a task force charged with creating a unified set of standards for paraeducators, along with a clear pipeline towards earning their teaching credentials. Our kids need more teachers who are from their communities – more teachers who are reflective of the linguistically and culturally diverse communities our schools serve, and drawing on the rich pool of talented paraeducators is one way to achieve this goal.

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