I just posted a bunch of entries on my blog (www.rosshunter.info) that are part of what needs to happen this year on the K-12 front. I broke it up so that the items would be readable, unlike my multi-page newsletters…
2010 will be a pivotal one for education in Washington at all levels. There are a handful of key issues:
- Funding. The overall budget is a disaster, with precipitous revenue declines threatening our ability to provide children with an adequate, let alone an ample education. Last year we made substantial cuts in K12 funding, though much lower as a percentage of the budget than any other area. I expect we will have to make additional cuts again this year.
- Local levies. There is a structural problem with local levies that is exacerbated when the state cuts its contribution. We need to take corrective action, preferably at a one-day special session in December.
- Race to the Top. President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have created a very large ($5.4 billion) fund to incent states to implement school improvement strategies. Washington is not currently in the running for this given the policies we have in place. There is an effort I’m helping with this year to improve our chances of winning some of this money.
- Math/Science standards. I’ve worked successfully over the past few years to make improvements in our math and science standards. Unfortunately the Superintendent of Public Instruction has proposed a set of changes to graduation requirements that would result in serious reductions in the level of preparedness of our students. I will oppose these changes.