Is education itself being funded in WA State?
The head of OSPI, Chris Reydahl, spoke to the State Board of Education last week and outlined his seven priorities for the coming budgetary Legislative Session. In his presentation, Reykdahl discussed transportation issues, food programs, pay, the "Prototypical School Funding model", dual credit (applies to those gaining college credits in high school), dual language programs, and the Capital Budget. He didn't discuss educating outside of his dual language goals.
Let's look at education as a whole in Washington State. OSPI uses standardized tests for it's annual report cards. While there are disagreements over the true representation of standardized tests scores, that is all we have to show metrics in English and Language Arts, Math, and Science standards for students K-12. Statewide less than half of all students meet the standards in Math and Science. Locally, the Richland School District is close to the State Average and is the best locally but still under 50 percent. Kennewick is in the middle of the pack in our area, followed by Pasco. What should be concerning is all three districts are under 40 percent in Math with Pasco under 20 percent district wide.
Instead of focusing on making sure all students can speak two languages when they graduate, OSPI should focus on make sure all students are proficient in math. I understand there are multiple challenges and there are multiple pieces that go in the puzzle, but where are the priorities? Are they on making sure each child is proficient in the basic skills they will need to get through life or are they on social awareness issues? Does a six year old need to know about gender fluidity or need to learn addition? Enrollment statewide is down for a number of reasons resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars not going to districts around the State. A loss of trust in the system is one I hear from people in the community. Maybe a refocus on educating will not only help those scores, but help rebuild some trust.