LEAP Educational Policy Priorities
Since 1998, LEAP has advocated for educational policy issues that could help improve academic achievement of Latino students, immigrant students, and other students who traditionally do not fare well in the public school system.
Below are top policy priorities that guide our efforts today:
- In-state tuition for undocumented students (approved 2003)
- Financial aid for undocumented students
- DACA/DREAM Act—legal residency and citizenship
- High School Graduation Requirements/Basic Education
POLICY ISSUE: In-state tuition for undocumented (1079) students
In 2002 and 2003, LEAP asked the state Legislature to help make college more affordable for all students who are educated in Washington schools, including undocumented students. As a result, in 2003 the Legislature approved HB 1079, enabling undocumented (1079) students to pay in-state tuition for college.
Throughout this website, undocumented students who meet the requirements of HB 1079 are referred to as “1079 students.”
To learn more, click HB1079info
POLICY ISSUE: — DACA, DREAM Act
Obtaining a college degree does not mean 1079 students are considered legal residents or citizens. However, there are efforts underway to help pave the way for 1079 students to live and work legally in the U.S.
1079 students should pay careful attention to the action taken by President Barack Obama in 2012 known as DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and the DREAM Act, a bill in the U.S. Congress that would grant 1079 students a pathway to legal residency.
Click DACA/Dream Act for more information.
POLICY ISSUE: High School Graduation Requirements and Basic Education
In 1997, the Washington State Supreme Court ordered the State Legislature to define and fund K-12 basic education.
In response to the Supreme Court order, in 2009 the State Legislature approved House Bill 2261, an act intended to “constitute the Legislature’s definition of basic education.” HB 2261, if fully enacted in 2018 as intended, would establish a state-mandated 24-credit high school graduation requirement.
In doing so, the legislature makes the mistake of emphasizing quantity over quality.
Higher education, however, puts the emphasis on quality of credits, not quantity. To be considered for regular admission to a public university, incoming freshman students must earn 15 credits known as College Academic Distribution Requirements (CADR).
The CADR are carefully prescribed courses that university admissions officers are required to use in determining who is admitted to their institutions. It is not quantity that matters most; quality—meaning students’ grade point averages (GPA) in the CADR especially—matters most.
As evidence, the average GPA for entering freshmen students at the University of Washington, Washington State University, and Western Washington University, is well over 3.5 on a scale of 4.0. Quality, not quantity, can’t be overemphasized.
The question for the Legislature is: Why is it so important for students to earn 24 credits to graduate from high school when to be considered for regular admission to the state’s top universities only 15 credits are required?
See graduation/basic ed policy brief for more information.