Counseling, Mental Health Top Priority, Public Says
OLYMPIA — August 28, 2018 — In late April, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) opened a survey asking the public to determine how important they found additional public K–12 education investments. In the six weeks the survey was open, more than 30,000 Washingtonians shared their priorities.
“We were blown away by the number of people who took time to share their feedback with us,” said Chris Reykdal, Superintendent of Public Instruction. “It is a testament to how much the people of our state value their public K–12 schools.”
Participants included educators, parents and families, and community members. Identifying 15 different priorities, the survey asked participants to determine how important they found each one. Student support services, such as counseling, advising, and mental health, was selected as the number one priority.
Other highly ranked priorities include access to career and technical education and work-based learning opportunities, school safety enhancements, and effective buildings and facilities for learning.
“These results have made it even more clear how important it is for our schools to be able to address the mental health needs of our students,” Reykdal continued. “We lose about two K–12 students in our state to suicide every week, and the rate continues to rise. We must do everything we can to equip our schools with the tools they need to fight this mental health crisis.”
OSPI will use the survey results to shape its budget requests before submitting them to Gov. Jay Inslee in mid-September.
Today, OSPI opened a follow-up survey asking participants to determine how much funding they would allocate to the top seven priorities identified in the first survey, given a set amount. The survey is available in
Spanish and will remain open through September 12, 2018. Translations to other languages are available upon request.
“In the state of Washington, we have made incredible progress on funding basic education,” Reykdal said. “It will take more than ‘basic’ to close opportunity and achievement gaps between student groups, increase graduation rates, and ensure every student has access to a post-secondary pathway that meets their needs and interests.”
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*The “Other Educators” grouping includes survey participants who indicated they are a superintendent, school board director, principal, school or district administrator, classified employee, paraeducator, educational staff associate, non-profit employee working with schools, or other.
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Chris Reykdal, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and improve student achievement on behalf of more than one million public school students.
OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Director of the Office of Equity and Civil Rights at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.
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The OSPI Communications Office serves as the central point of contact for local, regional and national media covering K-12 education issues.