Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Pressure on education chairs to lead state reform
Lack of funding is the obstacle
The Times editorial staff calls on legislative leadership to dump Education Committee Chairs Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell and Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos [“Education chairs must lead state forward,” Editorials, Opinion, Nov. 25]. These women’s successful re-election last month showed that voters strongly approve their Olympia performance.
Sen. McAuliffe was re-elected by a 55 percent majority despite more than $335,000 of negative advertising by her opponent’s supporters. Rep. Tomiko Santos is so respected that no one ran against her.
The Times editorial condemns them for failing to embrace charter schools. King County, where all of Rep. Tomiko Santos’ District 37 is located as well as part of Sen. McAuliffe’s District 1, also failed to embrace charters with a 51.6 percent “no” vote.
The Times rightly points out that Washington must expand its educational focus from K-12 to education for students ages 3 to 23. Neither legislator has opposed this. The obstacle is lack of funding, a situation well beyond their control.
Recent budget cuts have forced layoffs of 4,500 Washington state teachers. We are 48th out of the 50 states in class size. Is more professional training really an adequate solution to oversize classes? Better teacher evaluation is desirable, but can overloaded administrators find the time to do this well?
Both Sen. McAuliffe, who served on the Northshore School Board for 14 years and Rep. Tomiko Santos, whose mother was a teacher, understand the real challenges we face in educating our state’s young people. Let us hope that they will continue to provide knowledgeable and responsible leadership to their important committees.
— Edith Ruby, Seattle