Ripped from the headlines of Education Week: Nation's Graduation Rate Nears a Milestone
"At the beginning of the last decade, before concerns about the nation's graduation rate ascended to prominence on the policy agenda, only about two-thirds of U.S. public school students were finishing high school with a regular diploma. A new analysis from the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center finds that the graduation rate for America's public schools stands just shy of 75 percent for the class of 2010, the most recent year for which data are available.
The graduation rate, which has risen nearly 2 full percentage points from the previous year and 8 points in the past decade, has reached its highest point since 1973. At the current pace of improvement, the portion of students earning a diploma could surpass the historical high of 77.1 percent within the next few years."
So, good news: the nation is approaching a milestone. Education reforms implemented over the last two decades are working, albeit slowly. But, a quarter of our students still aren't graduating from high school (the numbers specific to Washington state are very similar, check out our Benchmarks) at a time when we know that the vast majority of jobs will require at least some postsecondary education. There is still significant work to do. The Washington State Legislature can take action during the special session to implement additional educaiton reforms that will keep us moving in the right direction. We outlined our support for such reforms in this recent Crosscut piece on Monday. Let's keep pushing!
- June 6, 2013
Less than two weeks remain in the special legislative session and it’s time for lawmakers to finish the state’s business. A recent update of the Washington Roundtable’s Benchmarks for a Better Washington – an annual report measuring our state’s economic vitality – underscores the need for action on education and transportation policy. Two key takeaways:
We want to make Washington a top 10 state in all of those categories. The 2013 Legislature has an opportunity to make progress to that end.
Read the full story on Crosscut.
- June 3, 2013
From the WashACE blog this week... "Getting into one of Washington’s public universities takes a good deal of scholastic elbow grease, and, these days, a small fortune. However, an ambitious public-private scholarship program funded by Microsoft and Boeing, with matching taxpayer dollars, is giving students who focus on science, technology, engineering and math a better shot at a four-year degree. The Washington State Opportunity Scholarship provides up to $17,000 over a recipient’s four-year school experience. Boeing and Microsoft are each pitching in $25 million to kick-start the program which launched in 2011. Ultimately, the goal is to raise $1 billion for the scholarship fund by 2020, with half coming from private-sector benefactors like Microsoft, Boeing and other employers in Washington state...In our current state budget environment, a higher-ed scholarship program of this magnitude would be nearly unachievable without the generous support of private-sector employers. Our graduation caps are off to each of them!"
Get more at washace.com.
- May 28, 2012
The Washington Research Council has an insightful rundown on its blog, detailing the rationale for using workers' compensation benefits paid to compare costs between states. We use benefits paid for our Benchmarks for a Better Washington because it's the most reliable, stable state-by-state metric for measuring a key business cost that impacts employer decisions about where to keep and create jobs. The conclusion of that data is concerning - Washington is the most expensive state in the nation for workers' compensation benefits paid. Clearly, reform is needed. The best option is SB 5127, a bill that passed the state Senate early in the year. It lowers the eligibility age for voluntary settlements from 55 to 40, making such settlements an option for more workers. This modest change could help the state's system significantly, learn why in this opinion piece from the Everett Herald. Lawmakers should take action during the special session this month.
- May 20, 2013
The Seattle Times today offers a strong endorsement for a key piece of education reform legislation up for consideration by the Washington State Legislature. SB 5242 would require a mutual agreement between a principal and teacher before the teacher is assigned to a school. It gives principals a greater say in hiring a teaching staff that will meet the vision/mission of each school. As the Times says, "The quality of teachers is a critical ingredient of a quality education. To that end, it is imperative that the Legislature pass Senate Bill 5242." This bill is a high priority for the special session, check it out, read what the Times has to say and contact your lawmakers to support great teachers in every classroom.
- May 16, 2013