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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

February 12, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Education

Don’t tip the unemployment glass

Thank you for the good coverage of the emergency-stimulus package [“A day of trillions to fix economy,” Times, Feb. 11]. I was pleased to see the $648 million to the state for education and other services. While some would say this is not enough, it is still very welcome.

There will be competing interests for this money, even within education. There are some who want a great deal for construction of new facilities, others who want money for research at our universities and others who want the money to go to students to help pay their tuition.

Perhaps most critical of all, our community colleges and other education institutions, in the face of proposed cuts, are currently considering laying off all part-time instructors and even some tenured faculty.

We cannot allow this to happen.

It would break the fabric of our system and deny quality classes to the very students we are trying to provide an education. And, it would directly swell the ranks of the unemployed.

We trust our state government to prevent cutting faculty while balancing other legitimate interests.

— Leonard Goodisman, Bothell

Translating the dollar signs, or lack thereof

Our state legislators are once again looking to trim money from the education budget. Of course, this means cutting money from an already inadequate budget.

I think of my 6-year-old great nephew going to school in a small rural town in Wisconsin. Part way through first grade and he’s already a phenomenal reader. It probably helped that he’s already had a year of 4-year-old kindergarten and a year of full-day, regular kindergarten. Plus, he is guaranteed a class size of no more the 15 students through the third grade.

Then I think of my two cousins who teach in small towns in Mississippi, where they also provide publicly funded 4-year-old kindergarten and all-day regular kindergarten.

Next, I look around this region and see people living in their mansions and mini-mansions.

Yet, we have allowed Washington state to become 45th in the nation in per-pupil funding

and have accepted ridiculously large class sizes.

What does this all mean? Could it be that the people of Wisconsin and Mississippi just love their kids more than we love our children?

— Mary Ann Timeus, Kirkland

Comments | More in Education reform

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