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Sunday, January 18, 2009

What Obama Told His Daughters

So there's this letter that Obama wrote to his daughters about what he wants for him. It was published in Parade magazine this week. Here's what he said about education:

"I want all our children to go to schools worthy of their potential-schools that challenge them, inspire them, and instill in them a sense of wonder about the world around them. I want them to have the chance to go to college-even if their parents aren't rich."

That first sentence is almost more of a lofty goal than the second one. I think some parents would settle for a good, clean building where kids feel safe and want to learn. But no one should ever forget a child's first school is home and parents are the teachers. If parents haven't tried to help their kids want to learn and feel wonder about the world around them, then bringing them to school and expecting teachers to do that may be asking a lot.

I still feel good that he continues to bring up education as being in the forefront of his goals.

Add to this the PI's editorial for Sunday - 'Paramount Duty Should Be Just That'. From the editorial:

"Washington constitutional history: Write a farsighted, inspiring document proclaiming that "ample provision" for the education of all children is the "paramount duty" of state government. Politicians ignore. Public gets mad. Politicians say they will do something as soon as a new study of education and reform is completed. Study wraps up with everything addressed, except how to pay for the brilliant ideas.

Repeat as needed. Preferably at intervals spaced well enough to keep the public from catching on. The philosophy, or excuse, seems to be: There will always be a next time to get it right.

The public deserves better, but Olympia has done it again. Last week, the Joint Task Force on Basic Education Finance issued its final report. It has many good proposals that offer true hope for improving education, but no recommendation for how the state would pay."

Which is true; how do we pay for education without hurting other programs? Or what could we being doing differently in education without spending a lot more money?

"The report as a whole also has strong points in new models at the elementary, middle and high school levels for driving state allocations, better student information tracking and dropping the statewide teacher salary system to recognize regional differences. It's also promising that the report as a whole calls out for phasing in changes over six years, a fair expectation.

Yet, the phase-in period simply underlines that, without financing options, it will be impossible to get a full start on bettering schools, kids' lives and the state's economic future."

The bottom line is that kids can't wait. Many of us are aging out of the K-12 system and it's painful to see that not much has changed. But as the last line above says our state (and our nation's) economic future depend on educated citizens.

1 comment:

Mr. Edelman said...

I think it's very unlikely that we'll see an increase in taxes to support basic education funding. As a result, the education-funding lawsuit brought by school districts and educational institutions will proceed in Superior Court. As long as there is a lack of leadership in Olympia, the courts will decide the funding issue.