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Resolution honoring student voice

During the first day of the July meeting, the State Board of Education honored past, present, and future student Board members by passing a resolution honoring student voice. The resolution comes after last session when the legislature passed SSB 5497, giving student members voting rights on the Board. Just before the resolution passed with full Board support, past members Autymn Wilde (now at Gonzaga), Joe Hofman (now at Georgetown), and Baxter Hershman (now living in Spain working with linguistics, soon to start technology career), joined the meeting and gave advice to current students. The panel was streamed by TVW.

The resolution reads: 

WHEREAS, the State Board of Education has a long tradition dating back to 1974 of inviting two high school students to serve a non-voting term on the State Board; and

WHEREAS, the 2005 Legislature codified the practice of students serving as non-voting members on the Board beginning on January 1, 2006; and

WHEREAS, nineteen students have served on the Board since the codification; and

WHEREAS, the student members on the State Board of Education represent over one million students across the state who are directly impacted by the policy decisions the board makes; and

WHEREAS, the State Board of Education believes the involvement and insights of student Board members have been invaluable to the Board’s deliberations and a critical contribution toward the development and adoption of education policies that are student-centered and responsive to student needs; and

WHEREAS, the State Board of Education changed its bylaws in 2019 to allow student members to make an advisory vote; and

WHEREAS, student members have demonstrated a track record of casting thoughtful votes, reflecting the input of their peers, and providing an essential window for the rest of the board members to consider the student perspective before voting on policy decisions; and

WHEREAS, student members have been influential in advocating for issues concerning students, including financial education, personalized learning, ethnic studies, mental health, and student voice; and

WHEREAS, in the 2022 legislative session, the Board advocated for agency request legislation to extend voting authority to the student members on the Board, ensuring that their input is not merely symbolic, but is truly valued and impactful; and

WHEREAS, the request legislation – Substitute Senate Bill 5497 – sponsored by Senator Claire Wilson, passed the Legislature and was signed into law by Governor Inslee on March 11, 2022, taking effect on June 9, 2022; and

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the State Board of Education celebrates the passage of this legislation granting student members voting authority on the Board and thanks our partner advocates and legislative champions who helped make this possible; and

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the State Board of Education honors the contributions of its student board members, past, present, and future; and

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the State Board of Education commits to continue growing as an organization to better center student voice in its work.

Bill Kallappa, Chair

Adopted: July 13, 2022