Opinion

‘Failing’ schools can be fixed, but are we up to the task? | Editorial

If you have kids in school, you should have received a letter from the state telling you that your particular school district is failing.

That’s not really true, but thanks to the state Legislature and the stubborn state teachers union, most school districts in our state don’t meet the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind act. The act requires that all students pass state reading and math tests. The state sought a waiver, but teachers balked at the requirement that test scores be part of their evaluation process.

Having all students pass reading and math tests might be achievable, but given the funds our state allocates to education and the reluctance of voters to OK more money for schools, it isn’t going to happen.

It’s not that all kids can’t learn. It’s just that all kids don’t learn at the same pace.

If you remember your school days, you’ll recall that some students zipped through the daily lessons and got top grades at the end of the school year. Others — most of us — did OK in the classroom, passed the tests and got our diploma. The rest of the students essentially crashed and burned.

In all likelihood, those kids just needed more time. But time costs money.

Not all parents can afford private tutoring for their kids. So, if it’s important that students pass reading and math tests — and the feds say it is — then we need to give schools more money to provide that extra time and instruction.

The Legislature already faces a state court order to adequately fund education. Lawmakers could reallocate state money from other state programs and agencies. But that only hobbles the state’s efforts to provide other needed services.

Doing things right takes money. The Legislature — and taxpayers — need to consider what that really means. And then step up to the task and do it.

 

– Craig Groshart, Bellevue Reporter

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