Washington's rating for quality of education falls among the bottommost 10 states. We must resist blaming the failures of public education on teachers, inadequate resources, or a child's inability to learn. Instead we need to realize that the root of the problem lies with the education system's bureaucracies. Washington needs to heed the call of President Obama and others and lift backward-looking limits on charter schools. We need to raise standards for new teachers and pay them for their effectiveness. We must also create an educational environment that fosters teachers and leaders who are truly enthusiastic about teaching. Such an environment can only improve the results we see in our children.
*Cut the drop-out rate from its current one-third to less than 10 percent within 10 years. The Renton and Everett school districts have shown this is possible.
*Prepare graduates to succeed in college, vocational training, or the workforce by reducing the number of college freshman who require remedial math or English courses to less than 10 percent.
*Permit and encourage highly innovative charter schools, drawing from successful models that actually teach kids and close the achievement gap.