Editor’s note: These are remarks Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen made to the Rotary Club of Seattle, which is also known as Rotary Club No. 4, on Wednesday.
As a former member and program chair of Rotary No. 4, speaking to you is a privilege. A privilege that brings with it an obligation to use this forum constructively, which is precisely what I intend to do.
I will address the most important public policy issue in my 34 years as a newspaper publisher in Washington state: the sad condition of our state’s public education system, a system that fails a shocking number of our children, and imperils our state’s economic future and quality of life. It is a system that fails us at every level: K-12, early learning, post-secondary.
Consider these unacceptable outcomes:
We graduate only 18 percent of our high-school students work-ready or college-ready. Let’s break that number down: One-quarter of our high school students fail to graduate. Of those who do graduate, barely half enter post-secondary education, such as college or workforce training. Of those, half of them require remedial help. The result? Only 18 percent areMore