WPC's Education Reform Plan
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. Eighty-four percent of employers say public schools are not doing a good job of preparing students to succeed in the workplace.
Today, Washington ranks 37th in the nation in graduation rates. Student failure rates are so high the legislature and the governor have canceled the math portion of the Washington assessment of Student Learning test (WASL) for the next five years.
Thirty-seven percent 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.
Washington Policy Center's key recommendations for improving public education:
- Put the Principal in charge of the actual dollars in his budget, of the hiring and firing of his staff and of his educational program
- Give parents choices among public schools
- Let teachers teach
- Double the pay of the best teachers
- Replace the WASL
- Create no-excuses schools with clear lines of accountability for performance
- Transparency—put school budgets and teacher qualifications online
- Make the Superintendent of Public Instruction an appointed office