ReadyWA “Real Learning for Real Life” campaign launches

Check out the “Real Learning for Real Life” campaign that launched today. It’s aim is to help parents and the public better understand the Common Core State Standards. These K-12 learning standards in math and English language arts will be fully implemented in Washington public schools at every grade level during the next school year.  They are key to ensuring every child has access to a college and career ready education.

Nearly a quarter of nation’s kids still not graduating

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 education 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!

Crosscut: What politicians can do to help business climate

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:

  • Washington ranks among the bottom half of all states for high school graduation rates (32nd) and bachelor’s degrees awarded per capita (39th).  We know 70 percent of jobs in Washington will require postsecondary education by 2020, yet nearly a quarter of high school students aren’t making it to graduation, let alone college.
  • Washington ranks 41st for bridge conditions, with 21.6 percent of bridges deemed functionally obsolete (including the Skagit River Bridge that recently collapsed), and 29th for road conditions.   We have more than $3 billion in identified maintenance, operations and preservation needs and we aren’t investing enough to take care of the system we have.

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.