Legislative and Policy Advocacy

We work with legislators and policy makers to ensure that legislation in Olympia affecting schools and education is crafted with the particular needs of private and independent schools in mind.

Legislation and Policy Updates


Ashley Berner’s TEDx Talk About Educational Pluralism

Ashley Berner argues that educational pluralism embodies a far better structure for public education and suggests interim steps to get the United States there. Ashley Berner serves as Deputy Director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy and...

DeVos rewrites rules for school civil rights probes

Civil rights advocates have been highly critical of the new guidelines put in place under the direction of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. The Trump administration has overhauled the rules for investigating discrimination in the nation's schools in a way that the...

WFIS Advocacy Day in Olympia!

There are many bills of interest to private schools, so the WFIS board dedicated a two-day retreat in Olympia to study the array of current policy and discuss the potential affects for private schools.  On the first day as a whole group, board members heard from one...

Four policy areas to watch this legislative session

In September, members of the press sued the Legislature, challenging their claim that they are not legally required to comply with open-records requests. Public records requests could include documents like emails, calendars, financial records, or receipts, all of which would add an additional layer of accountability to legislators.

The new Paid Sick Leave law took effect Jan 1

Under Initiative 1433, all employers in Washington must provide paid sick leave to their employees beginning January 1, 2018.  Most employees must accrue paid sick leave at a minimum rate of one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked.  This change is...

CAPE Action on Title II-A

“private schools must bring their influence to bear on continuing the professional development funding for educators outlined in Title II-A of ESEA.”

School Safety Retreat at OSPI

On October 5th, WFIS attended the second OSPI meeting of the School Safety Advisory Committee of the year.  Andrew Rauch, Epiphany School Facilities Manager and WFIS Executive Director Suzie Hanson were pleased to engage with Rep. Melanie Stambaugh of Puyallup and...

State Board of Education Appoints Interim Executive Director

source Alissa Muller, Communications Coordinator for SBE The State Board of Education (SBE) appointed Deb Merle as interim Executive Director at their special meeting on Tuesday. Former Executive Director Ben Rarick submitted his resignation on September 18. Merle...

About Our Work


WFIS brings together uniquely varied educational institutions to strengthen educational quality in Washington, while serving as the advocate and voice of independent schools. The private, independently funded school community of Washington State is comprised of over 500 approved schools serving a richly diverse population of more than 85,000 students. This diversity is reflected in the full spectrum of economic, cultural, familial, educational and religious traits of our enrolled families; families whose collective dual sacrifice as responsible tax payers and tuition contributor’s saves WA state over $800,000,000 annually.

WFIS is the only statewide forum for Washington’s non-public school community. We participate in all levels of collective educational dialogs to assure our schools’ input and perspective are utilized in educational policy agenda, while advocating for private school student access to all programs designed to enhance the quality of education in our state. In addition, we seek resolution in cases where local policy application may result in double standards or inequities.

FEDERAL -WFIS will work for seamless application of the new ESSA policies and programs which include strengthened provisions for private school student inclusion in all districts within the state. Our organization also supports legislative efforts around the country to provide school choice to all children.
STATE – WFIS ensures that private schools are included in state educational programs that benefit students while guarding against the infringement of government mandated policy.
LOCAL – WFIS hosts and participates in events and community engagement opportunities at the local level which foster collaboration amongst schools, students and the greater community.