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


Frontlines of Early Learning in Washington State

WFIS is on the complex and often redrawn front lines of early learning.   This front line includes but is not limited to:  the Early Learning Advisory Committee (ELAC)  which is the official 'catch all' advisory committee established through legislation to advise the...

New Lawsuits Seek to Build Off of Trinity Lutheran Ruling

The Institute for Justice, a libertarian advocacy group that defends school choice programs in court, brought two new federal lawsuits aimed at unlocking public funding for religious schools — and building off momentum from the Supreme Court's 2017 ruling in Trinity...

The WIAA’s Re-classification Proposal

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association classification proposal to be voted on in January was developed to help promote equity for public schools that work with families from diverse socio-economic communities. The financial imbalance that...

DeVos sets her sights on Blaine Amendments

Last month Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was in New York City to experience private education first hand. She visited two Jewish schools and attended a breakfast hosted by Catholic non-profits educating children in need to hear a speech.  The point of her visit...

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.

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.