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Approve HB 1153 to advance language access in schools

OLYMPIA (Feb. 1, 2022) — Many school districts in Washington state rely on students, family members, and unqualified staff to interpret for parents with limited English proficiency (LEP). It’s unfair for LEP parents who are struggling to support their children academically because they can’t communicate effectively with school staff. And it’s entirely avoidable when there is no shortage of professionally credentialed interpreters in Washington.

That’s why the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is joining Washington Federation of State Employees/AFSCME Council 28 in supporting HB 1153, sponsored by Rep. Tina Orwall (D-Des Moines). This bill would create a credential — at no cost to interpreters — that allows spoken language interpreters who are already credentialed with the Washington State Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) or the state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) to be credentialed to render interpreter services in schools.

TAKE A STAND — Please take a moment to send a message to your Washington state legislators urging them to support HB 1153 so that all Washington parents can play an active role in their children’s academic lives.

“This bill is not about putting interpreters in the classroom, it is about serving parents,” said Interpreters United (WFSE) member Aida Sanchez-Vela, who testified in support of HB 1153. “This bill is about training and credentialing of interpreters in the specific language of education, including the complex terminology of special education.”


If approved by the Legislature, HB 1153 will:

  • Create more and better-paying jobs for already DSHS-certified interpreters right here in Washington state.
  • Ensure our schools are serving every family equitably.
  • Fill a critical gap in language access.

If HB 1153 doesn’t pass, the equity gap for LEP parents will continue to grow and interpreters could be forced to pay hundreds of dollars to private organizations that are creating “national educational interpreter credentials.”

HB 1153 has advanced from both the House Education and Appropriations committees, and the WSLC and WFSE are urging that it get a vote from the full House and that State Representatives vote “yes.”

Tell your Washington state legislators to support HB 1153 today!

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FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!