Ensuring every child has equal access to the ladder of opportunity, from pre-school through higher education, is the most important work of our state government. And if our elected leaders aren't up to that task, then it falls to us, the voters, to make sure it happens.
Do small classes only make sense for elementary kids? Perhaps we can take a lesson from the private school where the elite send their kids — Lakeside School in Seattle. The average class size for this middle school and high school: 16. Average class size in our public high schools: 30. Here is a lesson: If you want to neglect students, increase drop-outs and have high school be the final stop in education, then increase class size.
The legislature says it supports K-12 education. But as citizens, and for the sake of our kids and our future, we should say: “Show me the money.”
Legislative leaders think they can just muddle through and do a minimal amount to meet the paramount duty for the education of all children. They want to manage the fiscal crisis. We need to vanquish it.
Winning the right to vote was a landmark achievement, but it was never the only goal of women activists and their male allies. And we aren’t going to get the rest of the way to equality by politely waiting around for a convenient time when it won’t interfere with corporate profits or the priorities of male leaders.
It didn’t take long before the Legislature stopped its crowing about how it funded K-12 education and admitted that it was far from the mandates of the State Supreme Court for basic education. How is that? It starts with Stephanie and Matthew McCleary, parents of two public school kids on the Olympic Peninsula.
An election with one candidate is not an election. But with Washington's "top-two primary" that's exactly what we're getting.
Is the Supreme Court an impartial judge of what's good for our kids? If that is the case, then they need to look themselves in the eye as well. Because it was the actions of previous Supreme Courts that took away the best funding tool for education.
Last November, Washington voters passed Initiative 1351, which directed the Legislature to allocate funding for smaller K-12 class sizes, with extra class-size reductions in high-poverty schools. That was the law. But what did our Legislature do? After refusing to fund the law, they changed it.
In our state, black citizens are six times more likely to be incarcerated and lose their right to vote than whites. The net worth of white households is thirteen times the net worth of black households. Among fourth graders, only 50 percent of low-income African Americans are reading at grade level. One-third of African Americans don't graduate from high school. So the question before us is not merely that symbol of oppression, the Confederate flag.
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