SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 1130
State of Washington
2019 Regular Session
ByHouse Education (originally sponsored by Representatives Orwall, McCaslin, Pollet, Ryu, Lovick, Stanford, and Valdez)
READ FIRST TIME 02/22/19.
AN ACT Relating to language access in public schools; adding a new section to chapter 28A.630
RCW; creating a new section; and providing an expiration date.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. The legislature finds that:
(1) It is the policy of the state to welcome and encourage the presence of diverse cultures and the use of diverse languages and modalities of communication in business, government, and private affairs in this state;
(2) Washington public schools' ability to effectively communicate with students and families with limited language access impacts the schools' ability to engage students and families effectively in the education process and contributes to inequalities and increased gaps in student achievement;
(3) Effective communication is not taking place for a variety of reasons, including: (a) Some school districts do not consistently assess the language needs of their communities or consistently evaluate the effectiveness of their language access services; (b) resources, including time and money, are often not prioritized to engage families with limited language access; and even when language access is a priority, some districts do not know the best practices for engaging families with limited language access; (c) school staff are often not trained on how to engage families with limited language access, how to engage and use interpreters, or when to provide translated documents; and (d) there are not enough interpreters qualified to work in educational settings; and
(4) Providing meaningful, equitable access to students and families with limited language access will not only help schools meet their civil rights obligations, but will help students meet the state's basic education goals under RCW 28A.150.210
resulting in a decrease in the educational opportunity gap between learners with language access barriers and other students, because student outcomes improve when families are engaged in the student's education.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 2.
A new section is added to chapter 28A.630
RCW to read as follows:
(1) The office of the superintendent of public instruction and the office of the education ombuds must jointly convene a work group to improve meaningful, equitable access for public school students and their family members who have language access barriers.
(2) The work group must advise the office of the superintendent of public instruction and the Washington state school directors' association on the following topics:
(a) The elements of an effective language access program for systemic family engagement and a plan for the implementation of this program;
(b) The components of a technical assistance program for language access and a plan for the implementation of this program;
(c) The development and sharing of a tool kit to help public schools:
(i) Assess the language needs of their communities; and
(ii) Develop, implement, and evaluate their language access plans and language services;
(d) The development and sharing of educational terminology glossaries that improve all families' access to the public school system; and
(e) The development and sharing of best practices or strategies for improving meaningful, equitable access for public school students and their family members who have language access barriers, including effective use of interpreters and when to provide translated documents in other formats.
(3) The work group must develop recommendations for practices and policies that should be adopted at the state or local level to improve meaningful, equitable access for public school students and their family members who have language access barriers, including recommendations on the following topics:
(a) Standards for interpreters working in education settings, including familiarity with legal concepts related to, and service requirements of, Part B of the federal individuals with disabilities education improvement act and section 504 of the federal rehabilitation act of 1973;
(b) Development and assessment of interpreters' knowledge of education terminology;
(c) The feasibility and cost-effectiveness of adapting another state agency's interpreter program to test, train, or both, interpreters for educational purposes;
(d) Use of remote interpreter services;
(e) Updates to the Washington state school directors' association's model language access policy;
(f) The conditions under which remote interpreter services may be used to provide high quality interpreter services; and
(g) Data collection and use necessary to create and improve state and local language access programs.
(4) The office of the superintendent of public instruction and the office of the education ombuds must select up to twenty-five work group members who:
(a) Are geographically diverse and represent people with a variety of language access barriers; and
(b) Represent the following groups: The educational opportunity gap oversight and accountability committee; the state school for the blind; the childhood center for deafness and hearing loss; the special education advisory council at the office of the superintendent of public instruction; the Washington state school directors' association; a state association of teachers; a state association of principals; a state association of parents; the Washington state commissions on African-American affairs, Asian Pacific American affairs, and Hispanic affairs; the governor's office of Indian affairs; interpreters working in education settings; interpreter unions; families with limited language access; and community-based organizations supporting families with limited language access.
(5) The office of the superintendent of public instruction and the office of the education ombuds must provide staff support to the work group.
(6) The work group may form subcommittees and consult with necessary experts.
(7) By October 1, 2020, and in compliance with RCW 43.01.036
, the work group must report its findings and recommendations to the appropriate committees of the legislature.
(8) This section expires June 30, 2022.
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