Sen. Marko Liias, D-Everett

Sen. Marko Liias, D-Everett

State bill to implement inclusive learning curriculum passes Senate

Standards to include the histories, contributions, and perspectives of LGBTQ people

Legislation to implement inclusive learning standards in Washington schools passed the Senate Tuesday, Feb. 28 on a vote of 29-19.

All Democrats were for the measure while all Republicans were against it.

Senate Bill 5462, sponsored by Sen. Marko Liias, D-Everett, would update learning standards to include the histories, contributions, and perspectives of LGBTQ people, as well as diversity, equity and inclusion standards, according to a Washington State Senate Democrats news release.

“Every student deserves to feel represented by the material they’re learning, and when they hear their stories in the school curriculum, students are more likely to be successful and engaged in the classroom,” said Liias.

Inclusive curricula have been found to improve the mental health, academic performance, attendance rates, and graduation rates of marginalized communities, according to the news release. LGBTQ students in schools that have inclusive curriculum report having better attendance records and higher grade point averages than their counterparts in schools without inclusive curricula.

“Representative and inclusive education helps scholars of all backgrounds, all cultures and all identities connect with instructional materials,” said Sen. Claire Wilson, D-Auburn. “More importantly, it helps all students feel a sense of belonging when they are at school.”

The bill direct state agencies to create a model policy for school districts to adopt inclusive and age-appropriate instructional materials. It also creates an inclusive curricula coordinator position within each district to ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion are included in curricula.

Finally, the bill requires the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to collaborate with students in the Legislative Youth Advisory Council to create a database of inclusive curricula that are available free of charge to districts.

SB 5462 will now head to the House for consideration.

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