Not My Best, but it's been a long week. Oh it's only Monday
From Governor Gregoire's State of the State address back in January.
This year, we need to build on that success. We need to continue improvements in our education system.
We made education our number one investment in 2005.
Voters recognized how critical smaller class sizes are by passing Initiative 728. But it wasn't until last year that we fully implemented the will of the voters, and we went one step further, we set up the Education Legacy Trust Account to permanently fund smaller class sizes. So when will this happen? My 9th grade English classes that must be ready for the WASL next year are at 33 and 33.
To attract and retain quality teachers we fully funded another citizens' initiative — teacher salaries. The classic g0-to. The proof is in the paycheck
One area where we need work is early learning. Let me be candid with you. How would you grade a system where less than 50 percent of the kids are prepared to learn when they reach kindergarten? Or a system where half a dozen early learning programs in state government are spread across numerous agencies and have no clear vision?
We know children with early learning success are more likely to finish school, more likely to go to college, less likely to be unemployed and less likely to commit crimes. Our children are born to learn, and the first and best teacher in a child's life is the parent. But when parents and their families want help with care outside the home, we must be there for our kids. We need less bureaucracy. We need to stop falling behind the rest of the country. We need to make sure our children are ready to learn when they hit kindergarten. Business leaders understand the value of early learning. They know it is an investment in the future. So we're creating public-private partnerships because this is about communities, and no one wants government to tell them how to parent.
For the last month or so we have seen the battle lines forming over requiring certain requirements and standards for our students.
I traveled to Europe and Asia and witnessed firsthand our competition and, believe me, we don't let our children down with high standards. We let them down if we retreat. And we fail them again if we don't prepare them to succeed.
Before we talk about lowering standards, shouldn't we first:
—Show all our students- boys and girls, black and white, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, rich and poor, we believe in them?
—Demonstrate we support their teachers by paying them a decent wage?
—Provide individualized help to students so they can achieve the standards? Yes. But first, we must tax the living crap out of you.
—And we need to develop alternative assessments for those who need them?
I have talked to hundreds of students in the last year, and I will tell you, I believe in them. I believe in every one of them. I will not give up on them, any of them. Please come and substitute, without telling them who you are, and without your gubernatorial posse, for my sixth period class.
And I will not accept one-third of our students dropping out of high school. Umm, have you told that to the parents? Would you mind holding them responsible as well.
I have learned that if we entrust students with responsibility for their own future, they will do amazing things.
Many students do not feel their high school classes relate to their future. That's because WASL Prep Class doesn't relate to their future. Programs like Navigation 101 challenge students to choose alternative careers and enroll in courses needed to achieve that dream. As a result, students engage in more rigorous coursework because they are in charge of their future.
We have "Running Start" for college. But what about kids who don't want to go to college? We need Running Start for the trades. Now we're talking. But because all of our funding is going towards developing the WASL, keeping the WASL in a secret, only Jack Bauer could find it location, and then sending it off to the same people that screw up the SAT scores, we'll have to put that on the scrap pile.