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Issue Position: Education - The Smartest Investment We Can Make

Issue Position

Location: Unknown

The best investment we can make in our state is providing a good education for all of Washington's kids. But during recent tough budget years, education has taken deep cuts that impair our teachers' and schools' abilities to provide each and every child in Washington schools the attention they deserve.

Education is by far the best way to make sure our economy is stronger ten, twenty, and thirty years from now than it is today.

*We must fully fund basic education, in line with the basic education funding reforms set into statute last year (HB 2261) and this year (HB 2776). The courts have now made clear what parents, teachers, and school districts have known for years: the state is not performing its constitutional responsibility to provide for the ample funding of education in this state.

*Voters have overwhelmingly approved additional investments in education, above and beyond what is constitutionally required. I-728 class-size reduction funds and I-732 teacher cost-of-living adjustments should be fully funded.

*As we finally make the investments we need to make in education, we also need accountability measures to ensure that these investments are resulting in real improvements. These accountability measures must be constructed in a way that is fair to teachers, administrators, and students. Smart accountability measures will include fair mechanisms including use of expert evaluators and peer evaluators.

*The Legislature has made big steps towards funding early childhood education in recent years, but budget cuts threaten many of these hard-fought wins. All-day kindergarten must be fully funded, and the definition of basic education should be expanded to include early learning. Early learning is the most cost-effective way for us to ensure big educational gains for students later on in school. As the son of a former preschool teacher, I really appreciate the difference a good education early in life can make in later years. Thanks, teachers everywhere!

*Our community and technical colleges are a critical and under-appreciated link in our education system in this state. Thousands of 34th District residents are enrolled in our local community colleges, including South Seattle Community College and Highline Community College, acquiring valuable job skills, learning English, Spanish, Chinese, or another second or third language, or enriching their lives by becoming better cooks, gardeners, or parents. I strongly support strengthening our community college system.

*Our higher education institutions, including the University of Washington, have taken very deep cuts during the past two years. Because higher education is not constitutionally protected, it is easy to cut. However, our universities are where the ideas that generate our economic recovery begin. There are efficiencies to be found in the operation of our institutions of higher education, but I do not support reducing enrollment and I do not support balancing the universities' budgets on the backs of students with higher tuition.

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