In 2006, the Washington State Legislature passed House Bill 3127 to establish the Office of the Education Ombuds (OEO) to reduce the opportunity gap by supporting families, students, educators, and communities in understanding the public K-12 education system and resolving concerns collaboratively. The legislature placed us within the Governor’s Office to ensure our independence from the public education system.
OEO believes in the values of ombuds work: impartiality, independence, confidentiality, and informality. We bring schools, families, and communities together for collaborative problem-solving. We do not have the power to investigate schools or districts. We do not make findings or decisions and we do not enforce any laws or regulations.
We have limited resources and prioritize our direct Ombuds support to issues that fall within our strategic plan and where we can have a positive impact as collaborative problem-solvers on the student's experience. OEO works statewide with a small staff of less than 7 full-time employees.
We help to advance educational equity in three ways:
- Providing information and informal, impartial, and collaborative conflict resolution for families, educators, and community professionals to support students in Washington state's K-12 public schools.
- Offering free trainings and outreach on a variety of topics to advance educational equity in public K-12 education.
- Partnering with policymakers to tackle opportunity gaps.