We allegedly have lottery money. In Seattle, we go to the polls every 3 years and ask our voters to fund about 22% of our district's budget. The last time basic education was defined was the late '70s. What more does the Legislature need to know?
There seems to be hope:
"Rep. Skip Priest, R-Federal Way, has sat around many education reform tables, including Washington Learns and the Basic Education Finance Task Force.
"I think it's time we have a sense of urgency about this issue," Priest said after the Quality Education Council held its first meeting at the end of August.
Priest believes two pending state lawsuits will help light the fire under the seats of committee members: a Federal Way lawsuit before the state Supreme Court and a suit brought by a coalition of school districts and community groups that is being heard in King County.
Both lawsuits focus on whether the state is meeting its constitutional responsibility to amply cover the costs of educating all students in Washington.
"I strongly believe that we are not meeting our constitutional responsibility," Priest said."
On the upside, he's a Republican saying that and on the downside, he's a Republican from Western Washington saying that.
Here's what the latest group, the Quality Education Council is studying:
• Finding new sources of revenue for public schools.
• Building a framework for distributing dollars based on the idea of a "protypical school," and creating a timeline for transforming the current system toward one based on model schools.
• Establishing a new definition of basic education for the state, and deciding whether expenses like transportation, technology and preschool should be included.
• Demystifying the way the state allocates education dollars so any parent could understand their school district's budget and track the money the state sends to their community.
• Considering a new mentoring and support system for beginning teachers.
• Creating a new salary schedule for teachers based on how much people in similar fields make in different labor markets throughout the state.
We should all write or call our legislators and ask how we, as parents, can help support this effort. Maybe if they heard from parents en masse, they might feel moved to do something.