What Governor Gregoire Said About the Budget

January 14, 2010 at 3:36 pm Leave a comment

We have made progress in recent years. Our historic efforts to improve early learning are guaranteeing more kids success in school.

Our K-12 student test scores continue to rank high nationally. Our innovative schools in cities around the state have been highly successful in raising vital math and science skills. Our community and technical college system is rated as one of the best in the nation.

In classrooms, our hard-working, committed teachers are focused on improving student and teacher performance. In 2009, almost 1,250 teachers received the prestigious National Board Certification, and we rank fifth in the nation in board-certified educators, in part because of the investments we put in place.

So we are making progress. But we can and must do more.

We must preserve and enhance the early learning initiative we started four years ago when we created the Department of Early Learning. Despite our tough times, now is the time to build the economic future for our children and our state. I ask you to adopt legislation creating “All Start,” a voluntary Washington preschool program to provide early learning opportunities to all 3- and 4-year-olds.

To ensure a good start for all our children, I ask you to continue our implementation of all-day kindergarten for all kids.

And to assure all our children get the education they deserve wherever they live in our state, I’m asking you to lift the levy lid and fund levy equalization.

Highly effective teachers in the classroom and principals who are leaders are key to student success.

I urge you this session to approve an overhaul of the way we evaluate teachers. The new evaluation system must focus on what really counts: high-quality instruction, student achievement and growth. And for the first time, I ask you to provide a system to evaluate the performance of principals based on student achievement as well.

If we have schools where dropout rates are high, student performance and achievement are low, and where no progress is being made, we need to be able to step in and turn them around.

Our higher education system is a major economic engine for our recovery.

We need to keep the doors to higher education open to students of all income levels by restoring funding for the State Need Grant Program.

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Entry filed under: Media.

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