WPC's Center for Education conducts objective research and makes practical policy recommendations to improve Washington State's ability to carry out its paramount duty to educate every child within its borders.
WPC's Education Reform Plan: Eight Practical Ways to Improve Schools
Liv Finne, Director, Center for Education, July, 2012
Public education is in decline. Nearly one-third of Washington public school students fail to graduate, and another third graduate without the knowledge and skills necessary for college or the workplace. Over half (52%) of public school students entering community or technical colleges must take remedial courses in math, English or reading to catch up. 84% of employers say public schools are not doing a good job of preparing students to succeed in the workplace.
Today Washington ranks 42nd in the nation in graduation rates. Student failure rates are so high the legislature and the governor canceled the math portion of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning test (WASL) until 2013.
37% of freshmen attending a four-year university or two-year community college must take high school-level remedial math or reading courses, substantially decreasing the numbers of students able to overcome this handicap and complete the requirement for earning a college degree. Fewer young adults are making it through college than in the past.
Eight Ways to Improve Public Schools:
- Put the principal in charge
- Give parents choice among public schools
- Let teachers teach
- Double teacher pay
- Replace current state tests with the Iowa Test of Basic Skills
- Create no-excuses schools
- Transparency: Put school budgets and teacher qualifications online, and rate schools based on their ability to educate children
- Make the Superintendent of Public Instruction an appointed office