New tech education law in Washington State

Ok, I haven’t been able to frequent these forums very much recently and I’m the first to say that I’m behind the times in the FIRST world. But after a quick search I wasn’t able to find any topics about this already posted, and it seems like kind of a big deal to me. My mother sent an email to our representative in the Washington State congress about FIRST (she got a few of the facts off a bit - “[FIRST] was started by Segway” - whoops :o) but after a few weeks, a reply just came in. I’ll quote the whole message and bold the parts that look the most important (I wish I could just include the important bits and link to another page for the full law, but I can’t find it anywhere online):

This is to follow up on your question regarding FIRST. I have never heard of it, nor have the staff I’ve queried. I do know we did pass HB 1906 looking at math standards and curricula, and included in the bill was the creation of an office of math, science and technology to identify, facilitate, encourage and coordinate these types of programs. Here is the specific language.

-[FONT=Courier]NEW SECTION. [FONT=Courier][FONT=Courier]Sec. 15.[/FONT]A new section is added to chapter 28A.300 RCW to read as follows:[/FONT][/FONT]
[FONT=Courier] The superintendent of public instruction shall provide support for statewide coordination for math, science, and technology, including employing a statewide director for math, science, and technology. The duties of the director shall include, but not be limited to:

[/FONT] [FONT=Courier] (1) Within funds specifically appropriated therefor, obtain a statewide license, or otherwise obtain and disseminate, an interactive, project-based high school and middle school technology curriculum that includes a comprehensive professional development component for teachers and, if possible, counselors, and also includes a systematic program evaluation. The curriculum must be distributed to all school districts, or as many as feasible, by the 2007-08 school year;

[/FONT] [FONT=Courier] (2) Within funds specifically appropriated therefor, supporting a public-private partnership to assist school districts with implementing an ongoing, inquiry-based science program that is based on a research-based model of systemic reform and aligned with the Washington state science grade level expectations;

[/FONT] [FONT=Courier] (3) Within funds specifically appropriated therefor, supporting a public-private partnership to provide enriching opportunities in mathematics, engineering, and science for underrepresented students in grades kindergarten through twelve using exemplary materials and instructional approaches;

[/FONT] [FONT=Courier] (4) In an effort to increase precollege and prework interest in math, science, and technology fields, in collaboration with the community and technical colleges, the four-year institutions of higher education, and the workforce training and education coordinating board, conducting outreach efforts to attract middle and high school students to careers in math, science, and technology and to educate students about the coursework that is necessary to be adequately prepared to succeed in these fields;

[/FONT] [FONT=Courier] (5) Coordinating youth opportunities in math, science, and technology, including facilitating student participation in school clubs, state-level fairs, national competitions, and encouraging partnerships between students and university faculty or industry to facilitate such student participation;

[/FONT] [FONT=Courier] (6) Developing and maintaining public-private partnerships to generate business and industry assistance to accomplish the following:[/FONT]
[FONT=Courier] (a) Increasing student engagement and career awareness, including increasing student participation in the youth opportunities in subsection (5) of this section;[/FONT]
[FONT=Courier] (b) Creation and promotion of student scholarships, internships, and apprenticeships;[/FONT]
[FONT=Courier] © Provision of relevant teacher experience and training, including on-the-job professional development opportunities;[/FONT]
[FONT=Courier] (d) Upgrading kindergarten through twelfth grade school equipment and facilities to support high quality math, science, and technology programs;

[/FONT] [FONT=Courier] (7) Assembling a cadre of inspiring speakers employed or experienced in the relevant fields to speak to kindergarten through twelfth grade students to demonstrate the breadth of the opportunities in the relevant fields as well as share the types of coursework that is necessary for someone to be successful in the relevant field;

[/FONT] [FONT=Courier] (8) Providing technical assistance to schools and school districts, including working with counselors in support of the math, science, and technology programs; and

[/FONT] [FONT=Courier] (9) Reporting annually to the legislature about the actions taken to provide statewide coordination for math, science, and technology.[/FONT]
Take care,

Fred Jarrett

As you can see, there’s a whole lot of bolding! Parts of this new law seem almost as if they were copied straight out of FIRST’s mission statement. Is it just me, or is this a Really Cool Thing ™? Of course, us Washingtonians need to get on top of this and make sure this “superintendent of public instruction” knows about FIRST…


I have to say, this is way cool for us washingtoians, this will make it eaiser to get district funding, alot eaiser. And just in time too…we have a meeting with the school board coming up and this will be a great topic to bring up thanks Kyle.

I definitely agree Brian and Kyle! I think that, as far as us Washingtonians go, we did not (at least our team anyways) do very well with our homework this year. In my opinion, especially for our team, with the Seattle regional (WOO HOO!!!) that we should get goth the Washington politicians as well as the school board people more aware of what we do in FIRST. I think that the Seattle regional is the perfect opportunity to invite all of the “mucky-mucks” (professional school people- as described by a wise teacher at my school :rolleyes: ) and help them understand a little more of what we really are all about. It’s definitely the perfect way to get them more involved, and a little more excited about FIRST and about implementing science, math and technology into Washington schools in general. I am lucky because I attend a brand new school focused and founded on bringing these aspects of learning to students, but I know that most are not as fortunate as I have been. It is partly for this reason that I plan on being involved in FIRST for the rest of my life, and trying to bring FIRST into the lives of as many people possible throughout my own life which (probably more literally that I would like) FIRST truly has saved.


Wow! Thanks for posting this Kyle! This is great news for other states, too. We’re all working to get more interest in technology and engineering ed for K-12 students. State leaders often want to know if there are other states trying something out. Now we can point to Washington for their new law, to Rhode Island for funding FIRST teams in every high school, to Massachusettes for their curriculum framework, and HOPEFULLY SOON- DE and PA will join you. Keep us posted, if you learn more, ok?

Thanks for the post! It’s nice to see and hear about other teams working on their school boards, administrations and state representatives to show them how much FIRST does for students. Sometimes we get a little tired, but it helps to realize we aren’t alone. I hope we in Missouri can make some progress! Good luck everyone…you can doooo it!:rolleyes: