Perspectives on Policy

WashACE on the road #priorities4prosperity

We're on the road in the second half of July, visiting 11 cities throughout Washington state along with our partners at the Association of Washington Business and the Washington Research Council.  We're speaking with local leaders about what's working in Washington state and what we need to develop a shared set of priorities for prosperity.  Watch the WashACE blog and Twitter feed for ongoing missives from the road and let us know what you think are the most important issues facing Washington state and how we can work together to tackle them.  Already, we're hearing ideas about school investment and reform, transportation investment, and much more.  Stay tuned

On Twitter: @washace or #priorities4prosperity

On Facebook: www.facebook.com/washace

On the blog: www.washace.com 

- July 22, 2014

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Strong majority of Washingtonians support Common Core

Nearly 70 percent of Washington residents said they support Common Core State Standards in a new statewide poll from Partnership for Learning, the education foundation of the Washington Roundtable.Support for the new learning standards was nearly identical in three regions surveyed: King County (71%), western Washington (71%) and eastern Washington (67%). Complete results are available at the Partnership's Website.

"These results mirror many national polls that show support builds for Common Core and testing the more the public and parents learn about them," said Jana Carlisle, executive director of Partnership for Learning. "The new standards are important because raising expectations for all students helps address our state's growing equity issues and helps students better compete for the quality jobs Washington has to offer."

The Common Core State Standards are being implemented in our state's 295 school districts this school year and will first be tested in spring 2015 with the new Smarter Balanced exams in grades 3-8 and 11. Visit www.ReadyWA.org and new the frequently asked questions section  to learn more.

- June 4, 2014

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Seattle Times Ed Lab tackles skills gap

The Seattle Times hits the nail on the head with coverage of our skills gap report in today's Ed Lab blog post.  From reporter Claudia Rowe...

Complaints about the dearth of students graduating from high school with adequate math and science skills have been voiced so loudly, and for so long, that they threaten to fade into background noise. But the need is real, urgent and has implications that anyone can appreciate.

Rowe outlines some key findings from our 2013 report, "Great Jobs Within Our Reach." Most notably the fact that  25,000 jobs that went unfilled in Washington state here last year — most in computer science, engineering and health care — because companies couldn’t find qualified candidates. By 2017, that gap is projected to grow to 50,000.  As Rowe writes...

The Washington Roundtable report, “Great Jobs Within Our Reach,” published last spring, was intended as a clarion call to educators and policymakers. It noted that if just 5 percent more public school graduates pursued computer science or engineering degrees, the pool of qualified employees here would increase by 3,000 annually.

On this front there are bright spots, schools taking active — and often very creative — approaches toward getting more students interested in math- and science-related subjects (commonly referred to as STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and math). Education Lab found one in Eastern Washington where 100 percent of students are low-income, yet hundreds take engineering design, aerospace and biology courses.

At the same time, the school’s graduation rates have climbed above 90 percent. Curious? Stay tuned for our story in mid-June.

- June 3, 2014

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Celebrating 20 years of Partnership for Learning

Partnership for Learning, the Roundtable's education foundation, turns 20 this year!  The staff has spent two decades working to support key education reforms that will better prepare each and every student for college and work in the 21st century economy.  Check out the Partnership's 20th anniversary web site to get a retrospective of how far we've come as a state in the last 20 years, look back the milestones and get a better understanding of our goals for education in Washington state in the year 2020.  There's always more to do, always more to achieve on behalf of all kids.  Here's to the next 20 years!

- May 21, 2014

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WA ranks 33rd in Chief Exec Magazine rankings

The Washington Research Council has all the news you can use on Washington's recent #33 ranking by Chief Executive magazine.  This annual look at the "best and worst states for business" has Washington well entrenched in the bottom of half of all states, though the state has moved from 36th to 33rd in the last year.  As the Research Council points out on its blog:

The magazine’s rankings reflect CEO perceptions.  In the 10th annual survey of CEOs concerning their views of the best and worst states for business, over 500 CEOs across the U.S. responded. Business leaders were asked to grade states with which they were familiar on a variety of measures that CEOs themselves have said are critical. These include the tax and regulatory regime, the quality of the workforce and the quality of the living environment. For example, a state’s attitude toward business is viewed as a critical component of its tax and regulatory regime, while employees’ attitude toward management is considered a crucial factor in the perceived quality of a region’s workforce. Public education and health are also important factors in the living environment, as are such things as cost of living and affordable housing.

The magazine’s editor-in-chief, J.P. Donlon, offers his insights here.

- May 20, 2014

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