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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

February 18, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Washington education reform

Clutching at straws

As a parent and former teacher, I would like to applaud Bellevue, Issaquah, Northshore, Renton, Spokane and Seattle school boards for endorsing Senate Bill 5444 and House Bill 1410. These bills are products of study from the Basic Education Task Force and, if passed, will dramatically update the education system in Washington state.

Despite Washington’s Constitution, which states it is the paramount duty of the state to amply fund basic education, no child within the borders is receiving the education they deserve. Districts are left clutching at straws, trying to cover all the needs unfunded by the state. There is no way to make the money stretch far enough.

These bills lay groundwork for a system in which all children can succeed, no matter the school they attend. With early learning, full-day kindergarten and increased graduation requirements, the bills will allow children to succeed and compete in the 21st century.

We need to stop educating children as we did 30 years ago when we last discussed the definition of “basic education.” The current system is clearly failing students when they graduate — if they graduate.

While it’s natural to fear something new, to continue to throw money into a broken system doesn’t make sense. Without a broad change to the nature of public education and the definition of what we demand for our children, we cannot expect real change to take place. We need to recognize that what worked 30 years ago doesn’t work now.

— Carol Porkka, Bellevue

Giving away the funds we have

Again we reward people who don’t respect our laws [“Controversial student-aid bill,” Local News, Feb. 12].

With so many Americans loosing their jobs daily, the state is giving our funds to illegal citizens. We should be supporting citizens who need education to get jobs, not people who came here illegally.

When our country and economy are in such bad shape, you’d think our representatives would get it. Instead, they want to give away our country and the people who elected them. I, for one, am totally disgusted!

— Kathleen Bukoskey, Everett

Comments | More in Education reform, Immigration, Washington Legislature

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