Stand member published in Seattle Times

February 19, 2009 at 7:26 pm Leave a comment

Clutching at straws

As a parent and former teacher, I would like to applaud Bellevue, Issaquah, Northshore, Renton, Spokane and Seattle school boards for endorsing Senate Bill 5444 and House Bill 1410. These bills are products of study from the Basic Education Task Force and, if passed, will dramatically update the education system in Washington state.

Despite Washington’s Constitution, which states it is the paramount duty of the state to amply fund basic education, no child within the borders is receiving the education they deserve. Districts are left clutching at straws, trying to cover all the needs unfunded by the state. There is no way to make the money stretch far enough.

These bills lay groundwork for a system in which all children can succeed, no matter the school they attend. With early learning, full-day kindergarten and increased graduation requirements, the bills will allow children to succeed and compete in the 21st century.

We need to stop educating children as we did 30 years ago when we last discussed the definition of “basic education.” The current system is clearly failing students when they graduate — if they graduate.

While it’s natural to fear something new, to continue to throw money into a broken system doesn’t make sense. Without a broad change to the nature of public education and the definition of what we demand for our children, we cannot expect real change to take place. We need to recognize that what worked 30 years ago doesn’t work now.

— Carol Porkka, Bellevue

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Entry filed under: Media.

Ross Hunter’s open letter to teachers Make Your Voice Heard Now!

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