Legislature must reform and invest in Washington's education system
Innovation and investment in Washington's education system is about more than money. The system needs the flexibility to make changes in business operations and structure. Foster creativity in how schools are managed and how instruction is offered.
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Just Fix It | Reform for state budget sustainability
A TOP-QUALITY education system is the engine that will power the state through the Great Recession and sustain prosperity in the future.
The core message and focus for state lawmakers gathering soon in Olympia is that a robust investment in the system — from preschool, K-12 instruction, community and technical colleges through higher education — will pay dividends.
Erosion of public education in Washington has expensive consequences that compound over time.
Maintenance of the education pipeline is fundamental, especially in these times. Slashing more dollars from public universities or pinching pennies on early-learning programs are false economies.
Failure to prepare students to enter school and keep up along the way, only leads to an unacceptable dropout rate and creates an expensive need for remedial classes. It is redundant instruction that consumes time, money and enthusiasm.
Investment, reform and innovation are necessary at every level. Clinging to special interests, sacred cows and outdated ways of doing things slows down an economic recovery.
Accountability and education reform are not compromised by examining and rethinking the administrative and academic boundaries between education levels, and the political geography of education.
How public universities are allowed to contract for ancillary and support services have a direct impact on classroom instruction and access to higher ed. Everything is reflected in the bottom line.
Spending in the K-12 system accounts for the largest chunk of educational overhead. The state is overdue for frank discussions about consolidation of school districts. Stark budget problems trump nostalgia and turf.
As the state pays more attention to science, technology, engineering and math in higher education, another valued-added curriculum is ripe for retooling and enhancement: teacher training and enhanced professionalism.
All of the expectations laid on public education are grounded in the capacity of educators to meet the challenges in modern classrooms. Prepare the next generation of teachers for the next generation of students.
Bold leadership is needed to rethink how scarce resources are allocated and spent for public education. There is, indeed, no greater good for the future of the state.
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