Since I was elected two years ago, Washington has been subjected to the deepest budget cuts -- going to the heart of what I care about most: education. After brutal cuts in 2011, we still ended up with more to cut to balance the existing budget. This year, we faced cuts that put more of our education budget on the table. Yes, it required special sessions, but we prevented further education cuts.
I remain committed to better schools and finding a secure source of funds for future school needs. I am actively engaged and interested in identifying reforms to education that go beyond simple clichés. My goals are the same as the day you elected me -- only now I have some solutions which have been voted into law.
Every student deserves a quality teacher in the classroom. State-wide implementation of new teacher/principal evaluation system to ensure there is a great teacher in front of every student and a great principal in every building. This pilot implementation to all schools in our state focuses on student growth and teacher growth to ensure every student has a quality teacher in the classroom.
Education for jobs of the future. STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics grants that will help students train for the future manufacturing skills programs for skill centers, and specialized STEM courses for high schools.
Increased technology to save money spent on textbooks. Open source textbooks aligned with the new Common Core education standards. Cutting costs and providing the most current text books for K-12 students by using on-line technology.
Building collaborative relationships between colleges of education and struggling schools. Collaborative Schools for Innovation and Success (CSIS) will help turn around struggling public schools by creating pilot programs that encourages colleges to partner with underachieving elementary schools.
Long-term student success begins with quality early learning. We continue to make investments that increase the number of educational opportunities for children. This session we passed legislation that requires the Department of Early Learning to adopt core competency standards to serve as a foundation for what early care and education professionals and child and youth development professionals need to know and do to provide quality care for children.