Member published in Seattle P-I

February 21, 2009 at 5:19 pm Leave a comment

Fix the broken system

This year, the Legislature has a decision to make when it comes to education: Is Washington going to make progress for kids or maintain the status quo?

If we’re ready to make some real progress for kids, the answer lies in the recommendations of the Basic Education Taskforce, which are crucial to updating our antiquated education system in Washington.

As a parent with two kids, I’ve seen how our underfunded system is shortchanging our kids. Last year, when school enrollment was larger than teacher capacity, our third graders were facing a 35 percent increase in class size for the following year.

One of the suggested solutions? Have the PTA essentially “buy” an additional teacher — for $75,000.

This suggestion outraged me. Bellevue is considered by many to be a wealthy school district. There are certainly wealthy PTAs in Bellevue. However, not all schools are as lucky as the school that my children attend, and your zip code should not be the determining factor in a kid’s education.

Schools around the state are being forced to privately fund public education, yet our constitution states it is the paramount duty of the state to fund basic education.

We all know that Washington is facing the worst budget crisis in our history. However, over the last 30 years, education reform has been piece-meal at best. Our kids are the future of our state. They deserve a comprehensive, 21st century education system that will truly prepare them for college and careers.

This session the Legislature has the opportunity to pass real education reform such as smaller class sizes, updated graduation requirements in line with college standards, teacher mentor programs and Pre-K for high-risk students. While our education system is in dire need of more money, we cannot continue to throw money at the same broken system and expect better results. Our Legislature has the opportunity now to fix that broken system. I urge them to take leadership and embrace this opportunity.

Krista Capodanno

Bellevue

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Entry filed under: Media, News Updates.

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